Waiting lists are a part of life. Restaurants. Bars. Library books. Tickets to a show. College. And in all these cases but the last one, if you have a little patience, it usually works out. Thousands of students are sitting in the waiting room. Will they get out?
Waiting list season has begun. Thousands of students have been invited to join the waiting list at schools, hoping that some spots will open up for them. A look at the numbers in this table suggests that they are likely wasting their time, because at most selective schools very few students get off the waiting list.
We used the Common Data Set for students who began freshman year in the fall of 2017. There are a lot of schools that do not share data on waiting lists. We include not just how many students were waitlisted and how many got in, but also how many were offered spots on the waiting list, as well as acceptance rates for those on the waiting list.
We have some more thoughts on the waiting list after the table, including why schools have waiting lists at all and what students can do, if anything to improve their odds if they are on a waiting list. As with all information from the Common Data Set, we advise caution with the data. We suspect that some schools reporting 0 students were admitted from the waiting list made an error in their reporting and are working to confirm the accuracy of that number.