Waitlisted trend or coincidence?

My daughter got accepted EA to UM-Ann Arbor, UICU, and UM-Minn. This week, she was waitlisted at JHU, UChicago, and WashU, and denied at NW (rumor was the freshman positions were almost met by EA). Now, she has 7 more notifications to go. Wondering if this is common for the selective schools to waitlist? Of course I don’t know which she’s going to be accepted or denied on the rest of her applied schools. Just wondering.

I got waitlisted by 3 schools today; Uchicago, Bates and St. Olaf l. I don’t know what’s going on, but I hope your daughter gets good news from her other colleges :).

Seems like (just from my school and on here) a lot of kids are getting waitlisted at LAC-type schools and more selective colleges. Maybe they filled too much of the class with ED?

These days, sadly, yes.

There is no rule that requires only putting enough kids on the waitlist to provide a reasonable buffer for a shortcoming in enrollment. So some smart college adcoms realized they could have it both ways. They could use the waitlist to have a stock of kids to cover any shortfalls, kids that really are “almost” in and that they’d take if a spot opens up. And they could use the waitlist to pass out quasi “acceptances” that didn’t require actually enrolling the kid!!

The upshot is many colleges send out “waitlist” letters by the carload. They know, of course, that the school had taken 1-2 dozen kids at most in the past years, but they’d send out hundreds or even thousands of “waitlist” letters anyway. This helps the college in the future; kids with similar stats will say “If Julie got in last year, I got a shot too” and apply. Thing was, Julie didn’t get in; she was waitlisted and somehow never made it off the list. Colleges love this because the more apps they have the more selective they look.

You can sometimes find numbers in the Common Data Set reports. In one recent year for Northwestern, 2,852 offered waitlist, 14 eventually taken from it. WUSTL, well known for passing out waitlist slots, won’t even say how many are waitlisted!! But in 2013-14 they took 80 from it. JHU, 2,069 offered waitlist, 57 eventually accepted from the waitlist. JHU enrolls about 1,300 frosh each year. They are under no illusion that every initial admittee will decline, and the same thing happening with the 1st set of kids taken off the waitlist to replace them. In other words they know most of the waitlist kids won’t get in, but it is a great move on their part to have 2,069 kids out their spreading the word they were offered a slot on the waitlist.