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The Wait List

opsops 772 replies46 threads Member
edited July 2013 in Prep School Admissions
The following inpart from the EBS Secondary School Counselor site:

Are You on a Wait List?

Every secondary school and college, for that matter, has a different approach
to the wait list. Admission officers have to juggle quite a few numbers to
predict who will actually enroll. If too many accepted students enroll, there
will not be enough space in the dorms. If, on the other hand, not enough
accepted students enroll, the school will fall short of budget.
In its most simple terms, the wait list provides a cushion for the admissions
office if not enough of the accepted students actually enroll. The most
important point to remember about wait lists is this: The wait list exists to
help the school, not to help you.

Some Points to Consider:
- You must inform a school if you wish to remain on a wait list. Do not
assume a school is going to keep you on the wait list.
- Very few schools will go to a wait list to finalize enrollment.
- Most schools do not rank wait list students. There is not a first or last
wait list candidate.
- Admission offices may take a student off a wait list as late as August.
- If a school accepted 100 students, and you are on a wait list, chances are
you are number 101 in the eyes of the admission office.
- The earliest a wait list candidate will be moved off a waitlist is the week
of April 2, but chances are not until the week of April 9, if it happens at

In conclusion, do not count on being accepted off of a wait list. Look at
the schools that accepted you and appreciate the fact that those schools saw
something in you that the schools that wait listed you did not. You can choose
to hang around on a wait list or get excited about the schools that want you.
edited July 2013
2708 replies
Post edited by ops on
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Replies to: The Wait List

  • ValdogValdog 112 replies6 threads Junior Member
    Thanks for this, ops.
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  • f2000saf2000sa 1090 replies59 threads Senior Member
    Very good info. Thanks.
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  • fascinationfascination 1175 replies6 threads Senior Member
    Thanks for the info, it's just what I needed to know about waitlists.
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  • hockeynlaxboyshockeynlaxboys 6 replies1 threads New Member
    This is terrific advice and the EBS placement director is one of the best. It is consistent with what Pelican Dad has said for some time, "....love the school that loves you back!" I have to believe that if you feel like there is a fit and the school selects you, you are on your way to a terrific experience! Good luck to all!!!!
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  • BusterDadBusterDad 118 replies0 threads Junior Member
    And the AO's won't have any real clue whether it is likely for them to go to the WL at all before April 10.... Some years, they don't go to the WL at all. For example, one of the years my daughter was WL'ed at Andover, Andover ended up having to find spaces in dorms for 10 extra beds, because the yield was historically much higher than usual.

    So if you have an acceptance at a school you would like to go to, (independent of the WL at a school you'd like to go to more), you probably should dance with the one that loves you.
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  • PelicanDadPelicanDad 525 replies11 threads Member
    Can I just say..."That's HOT!" Yeah, I coined that one, too. ;) Wishing all good news, and the eyes to see it, in the days to come.
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  • GMTplus7GMTplus7 14268 replies297 threads Senior Member
    Best not to pin hopes on coming off the WL. AO at top tier school told us that, historically, the number of kids they pull off the WL per year is zero-- if they pull 2 kids off the WL, that's a lot more than usual.

    Choose the school that accepts you: LOVE THE SCHOOL THAT LOVES YOU

    Good luck to all!
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  • bostdad2bostdad2 61 replies0 threads Junior Member
    Yes Pelican Dad's motto made a big impression on me too! Thanks PD.
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  • classicalmamaclassicalmama 2244 replies17 threads Senior Member
    PD: I hear you were the one behind "bro" too...
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  • maggedmagged 46 replies6 threads Junior Member
    Thanks for the info. I got a letter in the mail today from a school and I started getting really excited only to figure out that they didn't have any space and I was put on the waiting list, I was so heart broken): Hopefully I'll have better luck with the other schools. How am I going to make it through the weekend?!?!
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  • Prepschooler2011Prepschooler2011 90 replies6 threads Junior Member
    I would just like to share some of my personal input that I have garner over time from going through the admissions process and occasionally reading this forum. Although this has not happened to me, I believe that although it might be uncommon, some schools take students off the wait lists a couple weeks or even days after March 10. I am not dissaproving the writer's remarks that suggested that one should not anticipate that they will in all likeliness not receive a spot after being placed on the wait list, but at least from the schools that placed me on the waiting list, they will probably go to the wait list at some point, and if they say they never will, they are not being honest with you, because they certainly do, most likely every year. Something is wrong is one would trust an admissions officer that would suggest that they on average take zero students off their wait list, meaning zero students off the wait list for day students, the wait list for both sexes, the wait list for both genders, and the wait list for all grades, then something is wrong, and the admissions officer is not being honest at all. They might be good at predicting their yields, and they can study them for years, but it is nearly impossible to get the numbers rights on for all grades, both genders, and for borders and day students. Certain schools do not like to talk to applicants about the wait list because they might not want to offer information on how they select their wait list applicants.
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  • shinelikemystarshinelikemystar 72 replies2 threads Junior Member
    How do admissions determine who gets on wl? Are the first x applicants they go through sent acceptances and then the last pile of applications but on wl?
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  • BusterDadBusterDad 118 replies0 threads Junior Member
    And if they don't have space, they don't have space, some years. A couple years ago, Andover ended up with 10 or more admits more than they had plans for and went scrambling to find places to put beds.

    So you have to look at the wait list as a crap shoot; you are unlikely to get much information until the school sees how many say they are coming April 10, and (IIRC) a month later, put money where their mouths are with the deposits. Of course, people sometimes drop out up to the first day of school, so the wait list may be active to the bitter end. But some years, it just ain't going to happen.

    Note that a waiting list can be a useful crap shoot: I ended up attending MIT off their wait list....

    The question here is do you have an admit from a school you'd like to go to, as an alternative to your first choice... If you do, then dance with the one that loves you. If your alternative is ok, and it costs you nothing to wait (e.g. my daughter is attending a very good public school, one of the very best in my state), then staying on the waiting list makes lots of sense; no down side, and a big no-cost upside (other than the painful, possibly/probably unproductive wait).

    But boarding schools want a good sized non-refundable deposit: it's not fair to your parents or to the school you might go to to drag it along: if you do, I feel you really owe them that deposit for the grief you put the school to.
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  • GMTplus7GMTplus7 14268 replies297 threads Senior Member
    Some numbers from the 2011 admissions round:

    PA 3186 applicants, 14% admitted, 79% yield rate
    PEA 2600 applicants, 19% admitted, 69% yield rate
    DA 2355 applicants, 13% admitted, 65% yield rate
    SPS 1402 applicants, 16% admitted, 68% yield rate
    Ch 1987 applicants, 21% admitted, 64% yield rate

    Yield rate refers to the percentage of admitted kids who actually end up enrolling, e.g., PEA had a yield rate of 79% last year, which means 21% of the accepted kids decided to go elsewhere.

    To get off the WL, the school will have to have over-estimated their yield rate.
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  • perrier2468perrier2468 66 replies3 threads Junior Member
    Thanks for the stats, GMTplus7! I didn't know PA had so many more applicants than PE! Why is that? I would think the schools are so similar that more kids would apply to both.
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  • ExieMITAlumExieMITAlum . 2341 replies26 threads Senior Member
    Perhaps similar on the surface, but not really. They're rivals for a reason. Some students may fit both, but for the most part you'll find that they have their own personality, culture, and student body mixtures. It is not uncommon for a student to be rejected at one school and accepted at the other because of "fit."
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  • ExieMITAlumExieMITAlum . 2341 replies26 threads Senior Member
    @BusterDad said something that has resonated on the boards the last few years:
    The question here is do you have an admit from a school you'd like to go to, as an alternative to your first choice... If you do, then dance with the one that loves you.
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  • BusterDadBusterDad 118 replies0 threads Junior Member
    I can tell you that the WL wait is not fun, for both the parents and the child. It's not a place you want to be.

    So taking up an acceptance from a school you'd have been happy to go to whole-heartedly if the wait list had been a reject is probably the best idea. (all things being equal, or course...)
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  • wcmom1958wcmom1958 343 replies8 threads Member
    Not sure where the "love the school that loves you" sentiment originated, but I first heard it from Exie and have quoted it many times since. Pining for a school that didn't love you from the very first has romantic parallels that rarely lead to a successful union :)
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  • BusterDadBusterDad 118 replies0 threads Junior Member
    @wcmom1958: I don't think the wait list experience is quite parallel with romance; a wait listed school can work out fine (as it did for me at MIT; my complaints about MIT are much more complex, and mostly not MIT's fault. Overall MIT was a life changing experience (for the better) for me.).

    But if there is a choice of an admit to a school you'd have been happy to go to anyway, I think it will usually work out better than waiting for months to find out if the first choice wait list works out, which it usually won't. I don't remember what my "safety" was for college, but it was much less desirable than MIT.

    But waiting for months, for something that probably won't happen anyway, isn't a fun experience, as I can attest first hand. I can't imagine what we'll do if history repeats itself for a third time tomorrow (though my son is much more interested in BS in general, and applied more widely than my daughter was interested in doing, so the odds are quite different). But again, our "best available alternative" is an excellent public high school, so the downside isn't what it may be for some/many people here.

    Tomorrow's experience will be different for us/my son than it was for my daughter anyway, as he'll be much more disappointed if things don't work out. But at least he'd be very happy to be accepted by any of his top three choices.
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