Most college-bound high school seniors will know by May 1 if they got accepted to the school of their choice, or at least made the waitlist. But here’s a hard reality check: For most students, being waitlisted is “not much better than a rejection,” admissions consultant Elizabeth Heaton tells The Wall Street Journal. Other experts call the waitlist just plain ”mean.”
Just how bad are your chances of advancing past the waitlist? The numbers at elite universities are pretty grim: Yale took in 103 (out of 996), Carnegie Mellon accepted six (out of 5,003), Stanford took 13 (out of 1,078), and Cornell, zero (out of 2,998). Harvard, which won’t specify the size of its waitlist, admitted just 31. And it’s getting worse, says Caralee Adams at Education Week. More colleges are relying on waitlists — 48 percent in 2010, versus 34 percent in 2009 — and admitting a lower percentage of waitlisted students: 28 percent nationally in 2010, down from 34 percent in 2009. At more selective colleges, your odds are at about 11 percent.
So, what do you do if you’re placed in admissions limbo?