There have been a recent flurry of articles about the increasingly complicated and competitive college admissions process that I will address in a future article. But you all know firsthand, and I want you to know the hearts of college counselors everywhere are with you. On the other hand, Roeper students are wise and realistic, and already you have great choices!
By now you have heard from most of the colleges that have regular decision notifications and those that have deferred you—within about a week you all should have heard. Hopefully, your financial aid applications have been completed by now, and you will begin hearing about possible need based aid soon. You will have about one month to make a decision! Please keep me posted–I love hearing from you as you hear—and I’m pulling for all of you to get the decision that is best for you!
The May 1st deadline notification deadline gives closure to the process for most of you—and remember, if you have paid a deposit to a college that you decide against attending, you can get a refund if you notify them in writing by that date, with a few exceptions, U of Michigan being one.
However, there is always the matter of the dreaded “wait list.”
College admissions officers are tasked with creating a class that is a target size—often dictated by their on-campus housing. Generally, about twice the number of students they hope to see on campus the next fall are given offers of admission. There is a complicated formula they have used over the years and it generally works pretty well. About half of the students accepted will decide to attend and the process works.
However, this is an art, not a science. There are years when more students plan to attend than the college was expecting (read: high yield) Once the college has tendered an acceptance they do not rescind it because they end up enrolling more students than they have housing for. I have been to campuses where local hotels had to be rented for the overflow of first year students. There are other years when they aren’t sure they will actually fill their target quota, hence the wait list.
Since nearly all colleges have more applicants than they can take, some colleges may offer qualified students who are not quite “as” admissible as some others a spot on the “wait list” and if space becomes available they may end up being accepted. This may not happen before July, however. And it is possible that out of 500 people on the wait list they could take 5 or 10.
There are many college counselors that suspect that some colleges wait list students they think will go elsewhere. I have experienced students who notify their #1 choice college that they will definitely attend if admitted and who happen to get moved up from the waitlist. If this is the college of your dreams you definitely should let them know and submit any additional information they will allow! For some colleges, scheduling a (another) campus visit could serve to move you to admitted status.
If you are ok with possibly going through graduation without actually committing to a college with your whole heart, the wait list could offer some hope. But for the most part, the wait list is set up to make sure the college reaches its target yield and is not particularly student-friendly—unless you can “feel better” about not actually being “rejected” by that college!. If you really want closure, however, you all will have concrete choices to make—and if you followed our advice of having EVERY college to which you applied be a “first choice,” May 1st will provide relief and will energize you for the future!
Meanwhile, use the time during this break time to reflect, to plan and to spend quality time with your families. No matter what happens, next fall life will change for all of you. Look around and revel in the friendships you have forged over the years. You will never regret this!