This is going to be a bit long. It's 3 AM and I've been losing sleep over getting this post done for you all. There's a lot to include here. If you were offered a spot on the waiting list, there was a link to the Wait-list FAQs embedded in your letter. I'm going to share some of the same information here and add my own notes.
How many people are on the waiting list?
I think the biggest thing that students skim over is the part where we say that you have to accept or decline the offer of a spot on the waiting list. The waiting list doesn't really exist until people hit the "accept" buttons under their letters in SIS.
If you hit the "accept" button, you can always come back and pull yourself off the list. That is why the buttons remain after you accept a spot. If you decline the spot, the buttons disappear.
On May 1, the waiting list will be big. There's no way around that. While we don't have a ranking, you can think of the list as having ten sections. The sections are for Virginia and non-Virginia residents for each for the five schools/programs that take first year students.
How many people will come off the waiting list?
No one will know this until May 1st. Even though I've been doing this for years, I can't predict this one. May 1st is when all of the admitted students need to have deposits submitted to reserve a place in the Class of 2017. The class is supposed to be 3,485 students. If we don't have that number of admitted students accepting a spot, we move to the waiting list.
There are no tends to cite here. One year, we might have room for in-state Nursing students and the next year, that group could be full on May 1. We're all waiting to see how this works out right now.
How many people got offers to come off the waiting list in the past?
Here are numbers from the last few years:
2012 - 284
2011 - 117
2010 - 240
2009 - 288
2008 - 60
2007 - 159
2006 - 145
2005 - 83
How do I improve my chances of getting an offer?
There is a lot of conflicting information out there about this. Emailing a letter of interest is appropriate. Mailing a package is not. Updating us with significant news is okay. Bombarding us with an email each day is not.
By the way, showing up in Peabody Hall will have no affect. I can't tell you how many students drive here and then sit on the sofa and ask the questions covered in the FAQs. This is not a good use of your time (or gas money).
When/How do you make wait-list offers?
We start making waiting list offers as soon as we know we have space in the class. We want to move quickly. No one wants to drag this out. Last year, I think we were able to start pretty early, around May 3rd. We aim to have everything wrapped up by the end of June.
If you are going to get an offer, we'll call you at the number you put on your Common Application. The call is a heads up that your status is about to change in SIS. Of course, it's fine if you tell us "no thanks" and that's the end of it. We hope that people who are no longer interested in UVa use the "decline" button to remove their name from the list, but some people forget.
Anyway, the usual response is screaming or "OH MY GOSH!" When SIS updates, a new letter is viewable along with the buttons needed to accept the offer and pay a deposit. We'll give you a couple days to think about things.
What about aid?
If you applied for aid by the March 1st deadline and got all of your documentation in, Student Financial Services will put a financial aid package together. Once that's posted, you'll have a couple days to accept the over and pay your deposit.
Look at your other options. Get excited about one of them and pay a deposit to guarantee yourself a spot in a freshman class somewhere.
By the way, calling a student and telling them that they are getting an offer of admission is probably the most exciting thing admission officers experience. We can't wait to make them. Everyone has a story or two about favorite calls. I promise you that when it's time, we'll be working very quickly so we can deliver some happy news!