Waitlist Timeline & Chances

Question: If your child gets waitlisted at Rice, Vanderbilt, Wash U (St. Louis), & Northwestern, what are the chances she/he can get admission from each school? How long until the college informs you?

Some colleges and universities start admitting students from the waitlist as early as a week or so after the initial decisions go out. But the biggest burst of waitlist activity is usually during the first week to ten days of May, once the May 1 Candidates' Reply Date has passed and admission officials know how many of their admitted freshmen plan to enroll. Most waitlist acceptances happen before the end of May although some are later.

Usually by the end of June, colleges “close out" their waitlists. This means that they notify those who are still waiting that they should not expect to matriculate. However, colleges may also allow a small number of waitlisted students to keep waiting throughout the summer, just in case the “summer melt" is heavier than expected. (“Summer melt" is a term that admission folks use to describe committed applicants who change their minds and withdraw in July or August.)

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