The Dreaded Waitlist! What to do.

by Todd Weaver on March 29, 2016

Where will money for college come from?You’ve been offered space on the waitlist!

Ummm, congratulations?

Statistics for being selected off a waitlist, are often miniscule. So much so, that many people think the Waitlist is the “other way” a college is telling you that you’re better off elsewhere.

For example, last year’s numbers at Trinity College in Connecticut:

Wait list Statistics (from the College Board)

Offered place on wait list


Number accepting place 


Accepted from list



And here’s what happened at a highly selective university (less than 10% admission rate) in 2015:

We still model to bring in 7-10% of our class from the wait list so while it may (depending on yield) end up being closer to 7% this year, we still have plans to use it.  That being said, I fully expect far more activity in Arts and Science than Engineering.  We really are not modeling to do a significant amount of wait list activity from Engineering – but that depends on how the yield from Regular Decision plays out.  We don’t know more than that right now in terms of what we’ll be looking for because we always see a big chunk of deposits come during this last week.  Until those arrive it’s a bit of a guessing game in terms of where our specific needs will be.

So in terms of advising your student please make sure they have great plans for next year. 

Well, if you can read between those lines, it seems pretty clear to me that the waitlist is a cold, harsh place to sit.

Take a look at the wonderful opportunities you have in your hand. Realize that the colleges that accepted you, really want you to attend. Isn’t it nice to be wanted?

If you have read this and still feel you want to take a chance on the Waitlist, then there may be some “extra credit” work you can try to do.

  • If you’ve received any honors or awards (for example, named Captain of the hockey team, or named to your All-State Music Festival) since you submitted your application months ago, the college may be very interested in knowing that.
  • Send a quick email to your admissions representative, letting them know you are thankful for an opportunity to be considered for admission – and want to confirm your place on the waitlist.
  • Lastly, make a deposit by May 1 at the top choice school that you did gain admission to. Do NOT “double deposit” as it is highly unethical and could lead to the loss of an admission decision.

Here’s a recent blog post on the subject of the “waitlist” from Georgia Tech.

Remember, get in touch with your counselors at SFC, or your high school, to keep us up to date on your acceptances, waitlists, denials, scholarships, need for appeals, etc., etc.


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sundialHey Class of 2016,

It’s nearly Decision time!

We wanted to share a few points of advice from the National Association of College Admissions Counselors in combination with some of our ideas with regards to making your final college decision.  This is a biggie, so don’t be in a hurry to get it over and behind you.

You’ve done a great job getting to this point! Now comes the hard part.  It is important to take your time, and carefully evaluate all of the information in order to make the choice that is best for you. Things to keep in mind:

  1. No college can require you to commit to attending prior to May 1, the National Candidates Reply Date, with the exception of Early Decision or NCAA athletic scholarship programs.
  2. If you have received financial aid offers, compare them carefully. Determine exactly what your out-of-pocket cost will be to attend each school. Ask questions about scholarships (are they locked in for all 4 years? Do they increase with the college’s cost of attendance, each year?). Use our free online Award Letter Evaluator to help you see all the data for up to four of your colleges on a single page.
  3. Attend prospective student events at the colleges to which you were admitted.
  4. Talk to your family, your school counselor, your SFC Advisor and others you trust.
  5. Never submit an enrollment deposit to more than one school. It is an unethical practice that may result in your acceptances being withdrawn by the colleges involved.
  6. Once you have decided, notify the other colleges that you will not be attending and request to have your application closed.
  7. If you have been offered a spot on a college’s Wait List, learn what you need to do to be an active member of the Wait List. However, be sure that you have a place to attend if you are not eventually offered admission off the Wait List.  Important:  If you need financial aid, ask if student’s admitted from the Wait List are eligible for aid.  You can do the math from there.

We strongly recommend that you use the Award Letter Evaluator to help you understand your awards and determine whether or not each is fair. Feel free to contact us, should you want guidance on appealing any seemingly “unfair” awards.

There is a very big push this year to make sure colleges are making “full disclosure” in their award letters.  You should easily be able to identify the Total Cost of Attendance, grants, scholarships and self-help.  If you cannot do this with any award letter, please send it to us for evaluation.

Finally, if you would be interested in attending our webinar on “Award Letter Evaluation & Making The Final Decision” get on the Early Bird list here or scan the image below with your mobile device.   As soon as we have the day and time we’ll send that right out to you.

early bird



Don’t Start Your College Major in High School!

March 4, 2016

Tweet Tweet Too often, students think they should take electives in high school, at the expense of their core curriculum. And they think it will get them a “leg up” when they eventually enroll in college to study their major right away. What’s the rush? Here’s a great blog post on “overspecializing” in high school… […]

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