We know that waitlisted students will have many questions about what to do from here. I have written up the following on our blog as advice and will post the waitlist-specific information below as well. Blog post: https://blogs.uchicago.edu/collegeadmissions/2012/03/decisions_now_available_in_you.html
PLEASE read it carefully before asking specific questions about the waitlist. Feel free to ask if your question is not covered here-- but I tried to make sure that most questions students would have would be covered.
You should accept a place at a school to which you were admitted by May 1. It is possible we won't know whether or not we can make offers of admission to applicants on the waiting list until after May 1, and we don't want you to run the risk of not having a seat anywhere next fall. We encourage you to explore other colleges to which you have been admitted and to find a school that represents a good academic and social fit for you so that you have a solid (and likely equally great!) college option should we be unable to offer you a place in our class.
Our waiting list is unranked, so we cannot tell you "where you are" on the list. As to how many people we take off the waiting list... well, that varies from year to year. We hope to be able to accept students off of the waiting list this year, but at this point, we do not know how many students we may be able to accept. We know this may be frustrating, and we appreciate your patience and understanding.
You do not need to send us an updated resume, extra recommendation letters, or other materials. If you feel especially certain that UChicago remains your first choice for college, we encourage you to send a brief email (in this case, e-mail is preferred; you do not need to send a letter through the post) to your Admissions Counselor to that effect. We encourage you to wait until the beginning of April to send this note--you may find that you are able to make the most thoughtful statement about why UChicago remains your first choice once you have received decisions from all of the schools you applied to, and have carefully considered your other options. It is not necessary to send any additional material. We do not offer interviews to waitlisted students.
We do not encourage waitlisted students to visit campus. Whether or not a waitlisted student has visited campus is not a factor in deciding which students we will accept off of the waitlist. There is nothing we could tell you in person that we could not also tell you over e-mail, over the phone, or in this blog post. We strongly encourage you and your family to spend your time and resources visiting schools to which you were admitted. And, frankly, visiting campus as a waitlisted student can be awkward for you and your parents.
Finally, you didn't do anything wrong. What we did wrong was build a College that can only house an incoming class of about 1,400. Don't worry: we've been there. Many of the counselors in our office received decisions that were disappointing at the time, but in the end, led them to schools where they felt at home, and found a wonderful college experience. We know that, in some cases, our decision may not be what you had hoped to hear from us--but know that in the end, you'll look back and wind up appreciating the time you've spent in the college you chose, and not worrying about the times that could have been at schools where you were not offered a place.