After sorting through brochures, helping tailor perfect essay, and juggling schedules to attend college nights, and campus visits, you await answer to all-important question. Did your senior make grade for their top choice school? Unfortunately, when letter of truth arrives it doesn?t offer ?congratulations? or ?regretfully inform.? Your child has been cordially invited to ?wait list.?
While most parents prepare their child for acceptance or outright rejection, today?s competitive environment includes a wild card. Even honor students with 4.0 GPA?s,1460 SAT scores, numerous activities, and full scholarships from competing universities land on waiting lists. Since students now apply to a laundry list of schools, and many factors influence an applicants? decision it has become difficult for institutions to accurately project who will accept their offer. Admissions Officers rely on wait lists as insurance policies.
Helping your child decide what college to attend isn?t easy. Add a wait list to mix and difficult process can become downright confusing. ?Typically, these wait list decisions are made on a March to April time frame.? explains Al Newell, Dean of enrollment at Washington & Jefferson College in Washington, PA. He advises students to preserve another option for themselves if they are wait listed, ?By May 1, traditionally national deposit date, wait-listed students should have a deposit at some other place. They should most definitely make sure they have another choice,? Newell advises. ?I would be first to encourage them to make a deposit elsewhere if they were on my wait-list, because if I put them on that list, I?m telling them there is no guarantee
So, what steps should be taken if faced with a wait list dilemma?
First, assess situation. According to Jim Bekkering, Vice President for Admissions at Hope College in Holland, MI, student and their parents should seriously decide how badly they want to be at that particular college. If this is school of choice, make certain your student finds facts.
Encourage them to politely call and ask admissions office how many students are on wait list, how many wait-listed students were admitted in previous two years, and whether wait list has been put into an order of preference. Also, find out what factors will be taken into account in deciding whom to accept from list. This should give you a general sense of chances of being chosen. Once you both clearly understand process, decide on a timeframe, explains Bekkering, ?The stronger desire is, longer they should be willing to wait. It should be decided by each individual family.?