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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Waitlist 2010

Now that you've been offered a spot on the waitlist, you are probably wondering what you should do next. First of all, you need to accept or decline the offer. Below the abbreviated waitlist letter in Student Self-Service are two buttons. Use them to accept or decline the offer of a spot on the waitlist. If you accept, you can always come back at another time and decline. However, if you decline, there is no going back. You are essentially withdrawing from consideration if you hit the decline button.

The rest of this post covers what is on the Waitlist FAQ sheet for first-year students.

1. How does this work? When will I hear?
The timing of this all depends on the students who were offered admission. If fewer than 3,240 students accept offers of admission, we will offer admission to some students who have placed themselves on the waitlist. While we'd love to move forward before May 1st to save you from paying a deposit at another school, it isn't fair to force admitted students to rush their decisions. Waitlist movement usually starts in late May.

The waitlist isn't ranked, but you could think of it as having eight parts - Virginians and out-of-state students for each of the four colleges. When we go to the waitlist, we might know we have room for in-state engineers or out-of-state Arts & Sciences students, for example. We work in teams to reread files of waitlisted students that fit the criteria needed. It takes a few weeks for us to review waitlist files. We usually make a round of offers, then give students a week to think about things, and then make another round of offers if some students in that group don't take us up on the offer. Because of this see sawing, the waitlist process can get drawn out. We like to have the entire process wrapped up by the end of June, but there have been times (last year being one of them) when it stretched into July. This is obviously not ideal. We want to fill the class as soon as possible.

2. How many will get in?
Right now, there are about 1600 students on the waitlist. We don't know how many students will come off the waitlist this year. We won't know until the beginning of May. There is no "typical" number, either. Consider the numbers from the last few years:
2009 - 288 waitlist offers
2008 - 60 waitlist offers
2007 - 159 waitlist offers
2006 - 145 waitlist offers
2005 - 83 waitlist offers

3. Why are so many offered a waitlist spot?
First of all, we know that only half of the students offered a waitlist spot actually take us up on the offer. Second, those eight groups come into play. Third, with more students applying to more colleges, it's hard to know how interested a student is in UVa. Yield may go up, as students perceive public schools to be attractive financially, but yield might go down because students have applied to many other schools and are inevitably getting attractive offers to go elsewhere.

With that said, the waitlist has been cut down a bit this year. If you look back to past years, we've been criticized for offering spots to a very large number of students. As I mentioned before, about half of them take us up on the offer, but that's still a large number.

4. What should I do to improve my chances?
Keep your application file current. When the marking period ends, send along your grades. You may write a letter, but understand that the letter should provide us with new information. If you receive any honors or awards, feel free to email us about that and we'll file your email with your application. We don't track visitations, so you will not improve your chances by coming to our office. If you have questions, feel free to call.

5. What now?
The wait list is unpredictable. Therefore, you need to commit to another university by paying a deposit and completing their enrollment process.

Rest assured that as soon as we have spots available, we will spring into action. We are eager to pull students off the waitlist and are not interested in prolonging this process.