Most people end up on a wait list at one point or another in their lives. But the ubiquitous use of waitlists among colleges these days can be cruel, according to an article in The Chronicle of Education (“‘Fair Practices’ in Admissions”).
The 2011 “State of College Admissions” report released by National Association for College Admissions Counseling explains that:
- 48% of institutions used wait lists for the fall 2010.
- 42% of colleges reported that they put more applicants on wait lists than in 2009.
- 28% of students on wait lists were admitted in the end, down from 34% in 2009. And, on average, only 11% were accepted from the more selective colleges.
It is not just being wait-listed that can be stressful, but college counselors explain that maintaining wait lists throughout the summer can place a deep “emotional strain” on applicants.
The problem with trying to cut down the use of wait lists is that students are increasingly applying to more and more schools, making it harder for schools to predict “who’s actually attending.” This issue of predictability has led to an increase in early-action admissions applicants and early-decision admissions offers.
The association’s Admissions Practices Committee is responding to the issues related to wait lists by studying how to make “timing, transparency, and financial considerations” a more central part of the admissions process.