Parent College Coach Tip #58: Ditch the Wait List

wait listIt’s college decision time and there will be disappointed teens receiving those words from the college, “You have been placed on the wait list.” You might think it somewhat softens the blow of the rejection, but does it? What are the odds that you will be taken off the wait list and offered admission?

Here’s are three examples of wait list statistics taken from the College Board’s website:

  • The University of Texas had 38,785 applicants in 2013. Of those applicants, 15,381 were admitted and 7,285 enrolled. They offered 769 students a place on the wait list; 213 accepted the place, and only 18 from that list were offered admission.
  • Stanford University had 42,167 applicants. Of those applicants 2,145 were admitted and 1,678 enrolled. They offered 958 students a place on the wait list; 695 accepted the place, and only 7 from that list were offered admission.
  • The University of Michigan had 49,776 applicants. Of those applicants, 16,047 were admitted and 6,505 enrolled. They offered 12,631 students a place on the wait list; 4,457 accepted the place, and only 91 were offered admission.

To see any college wait list statistics, click here, type the college name, and select “applying” for the specific college.

As you can see, the odds are NOT in your favor. And for highly selective colleges like Notre Dame and Dartmouth, the number being offered admission off the wait list is zero.

My advice: ditch the wait list and move on. Look at the colleges that DID offer admission. There’s a reason why your student applied to them. Revisit them, reevaluate them, look at the financial aid awards, and fall in love with one of those colleges.

Author: Suzanne Shaffer

Suzanne Shaffer advises parents and students in the college admissions process and the importance of early college preparation at She is excited to share her knowledge with the readers of Smart College Visit.

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