Colleges load up their admissions waitlists with near-misses and donors’ children, but the odds of getting off the list and into the school are increasingly low.
Most college-bound high school seniors will know by May 1 if they got accepted to the school of their choice, or at least made the waitlist. But here’s a hard reality check: For most students, being waitlisted is “not much better than a rejection,” admissions consultant Elizabeth Heaton tellsThe Wall Street Journal. Other experts call the waitlist just plain“mean.” Here’s a look at the pitiful odds game, and what to do if you’re placed in admissions limbo.
Just how bad are your chances of advancing past the waitlist?
The numbers at elite universities are pretty grim: Yale took in 103 (out of 996), Carnegie Mellon accepted six (out of 5,003), Stanford took 13 (out of 1,078), and Cornell, zero (out of 2,998). Harvard, which won’t specify the size of its waitlist, admitted just 31. And it’s getting worse, says Caralee Adams at Education Week. More colleges are relying on waitlists — 48 percent in 2010, versus 34 percent in 2009 — and admitting a lower percentage of waitlisted students: 28 percent nationally in 2010, down from 34 percent in 2009. At more selective colleges, your odds are at about 11 percent.
Are colleges doing anything to improve those odds?
Some are shrinking their waitlists. This year, Stanford offered only 789 spots, but even then, “It’s a million to one instead of a billion to one that you’re going to get it,” Stanford’s Richard Shaw tells The Wall Street Journal.
So why do colleges waitlist so many students?
Many reasons, few of which are helpful for students. In the most hopeful scenario, say Rachel Louise Ensign and Melissa Korn in The Wall Street Journal, a candidate’s “grades weren’t quite good enough, or they didn’t take enough advanced placement classes, [but] they still piqued the interest of admissions officers.” But colleges also hand out “courtesy” spots for the children of alumni or donors, or take fewer students on the first pass to lower their admittance rate and bump up their exclusivity factor.
For more on How do admissions officials pick who makes it off the list? and What should you do if you’re waitlisted? click on the original article blow.the original article from The Week, written by staff