I am fully aware that you need to show interest and update them with activities, but assuming everyone does that, how do they choose? Is it like a second round of admission, but now with an ever lower acceptance rate and only a few thousand applicants?
If a college has reached its enrolment goal on May first then no one will get off the waitlist. Colleges go to the waitlist only is they do not receive enough confirmations of attendance by that date.
I imagine that they’ve put all of their waitlist students into categories - “bassoonist”, “theater major”, “speaks Latin”. If all the accepted bassoonists turn them down, they will pick the top person in the bassoonist file. You don’t know which files you were put in, or how many. In the meantime, focus on other plans and don’t expect to come off of the list. If you do, it’s a happy change of heart.
@ninakatarina But many of the colleges I was wait-listed at do not rank.
You will just have to show interest and wait.
@dvrichard90 That’s not ranking – the “bassoonist” isn’t ranked above or below “speaks Latin.” When they get their initial enrollment numbers May 1st, they will see what they have and if the numbers are short, what they need to “shop for” on the waitlist. Is the class gender lopsided? STEM-vs-humanities lopsided? How many kids with financial aid accepted and is there any money left or can we only take full-pay from the waitlist?
If they are gender-lopsided come May 1, the underrepresented gender will become a higher priority from the waitlist. But if you ask a college now, they would say the waitlist is not ranked because their needs, if any, are unknown.
There are lots of schools with wait lists and many applicants waitlisted. Further, schools are filling classes based on factors that support the desired makeup of the incoming class. You can complete any questionnaires or forms and update your information. Personally, you can hope you meet desired characteristics of the incoming class.
After that, look over the schools that accepted you and decide which one sings to you. You may find that one of those schools is closer to what you want than the elusive waitlisted schools.
start by looking at the Common Data Set for your schools to see how many they took off the waitlist. At many schools the “waitlist” is more about marketing to future applicants, your friends that are soph and juniors.
They put thousands on the waitlist with no expectation they will take another look at most of them, then take as few as 25 at some schools (or in really bad years, nobody) off the list. This is a smart move; they have thousands of kids telling everyone around them in HS they were waitlisted and the juniors are going to be thinking “my stats are pretty similar; with a touch of luck I’ll get in. I’m going to apply!” Every college likes to look selective, so encouraging applicants in this manner has no downside to the colleges.
edit: I saw from earlier posts you applied to Cornell. In the latest CDS 5,714 offered a waitlist spot, 75 taken from it. You also applied to NYU; they won’t even say how many they waitlist!
How do you show the colleges that you are interested?