The Boston Globe is reporting that the number of students on the wait list at some well known colleges is up this year. The wait list is used by colleges to ensure they have enough students in the fall if the students they have admitted decide not to attend. It can be a very difficult time for the student placed on the wait list particularly if the college in question is one of the student’s first choices. The reality that needs to be faced by students placed on the wait list is that most of the highly selective colleges don’t actually take many students off the wait list. Some college take almost none. For many students the best option is to look at the colleges that have accepted you and use that as the basis for deciding where to attend.
Receiving any letter other than an acceptance letter is difficult for any student. If you receive a wait list letter from one of your top choice colleges, take several days to review all of your options. If you are seriously considering staying on a wait list, contact the college that wait listed you and ask them how many students have been placed on the wait list this year as well as for each of the past two years and how many students were accepted from those lists. Often the answer to that question will help you make the decision of whether to stay on the wait list or not.
During this time also look more closely at the colleges that have accepted you. You may find that one of these colleges that wants you is preferable to the college that wait listed you. For more discussion of the wait list and how to handle it go to the wait list page on my site.