• William Watson-Canning

What's Up with the Wait List?

It's too early for us to have hard data, but anecdotally our Client Managers are seeing universities make greater use of the wait list this year than ever before.


Universities need to manage their "yield rate" as part of the admissions process. Most years, the process is straightforward. If XYZ College knows they have space for approximately 1000 first year students next year, and that historically about 20% of students accept an offer of admission, then basic algebra tells them they need to admit 5000 students to hit their number.


This year is different. With so much uncertainty, XYZ College can't know yet what will happen to its yield. Family budgets are changing. Students may prove more reluctant to travel. Consider as well that the uncertainty can work in both directions. XYZ College may see higher-than-normal yield from students who live within 150 miles of campus.


What does this mean for students? In some ways, nothing has changed. If you are on the wait list at a top choice school, you should absolutely accept the spot, but move forward in the coming weeks as if you will be enrolling somewhere else. But it is something we are monitoring closely, and it wouldn't surprise any of us if colleges use their wait list more generously than normal this year as they try to manage their incoming class size.

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