Admissions

W&L Waitlist Chances?

Question: What would you think is the chance of getting off the waitlist and into Washington and Lee University for a girl as of today?

Waitlist admission can vary dramatically from year to year. A college that takes 100 students off of a waitlist one spring may take none in the following. Colleges use the waitlist to balance the entering class. So sometimes more males enroll than expected and other times it’s more females. So, of course, the odds go up for a girl being accepted from the waitlist in those years when the entering class seems top-heavy with boys.

If you want to know if W&L is currently using the waitlist and, if so, how many more spaces are left to fill, don’t hesitate to call the college (or, better yet, have your daughter do it). You may get something of a “party line” answer (i.e., vague and not entirely satisfying, such as “We expect to have a better idea of our needs in the next two weeks”) but if the college is not using the waitlist at all or if there’s very little waitlist activity remaining, you’ll probably be told this. Whether or not your daughter gives her name when she calls, it won’t help—or hurt—her admission chances. But it should give her a little peace of mind to make this call, if she can get a bit of information on where she stands.


Meanwhile, I assume that she has already written a letter to her regional rep (the W&L staff member who oversees applicants from her high school). If not, she should do that pronto. The letter should express her ongoing interest in the school along with a list of any good news in her life since she sent her application (e.g., improved grades, recent awards, budding interests). If there are any very specific reasons why W&L is a good fit for her (reasons that she hasn’t already shared with the admission committee) then her letter should include these, too.

Most colleges close out their waitlist by the end of June, meaning that they notify those still waiting not to hold out hope. However, many colleges will keep a few waitlisted students hanging on, just in case the “summer melt” (enrolled students who change their minds in July or August) is greater than usual. So if your daughter is very keen on W&L and wants to stick around until the bitter end, she should say that in her letter, too. And this “letter” should be email … time is of the essence!