Peabody is the building, Jack is the dog, and I'm Dean J (she/her, btw).

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Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Notes for the #UVA23 Waiting List

If you were offered a spot on the waiting list at UVA, you had a link to the Waiting List FAQs in your decision letter. Many of the questions we're getting are covered there, so please be sure to share that link with your parents so they understand the process. I'm going to go over the parts that come up the most and add some more information. Feel free to ask questions in the comments.

How many people are on the waiting list? 

The waiting list forms as people fill out the waiting list reply on the portal. We offer spots to many, but about half of those students will actually put themselves on the waiting list. The Common Data Set, something every school fills out, has a section about waiting list numbers. Some schools omit this section, but here are our numbers from last year:
From the 2018 Common Data Set:
Do you have a policy of placing students on a waiting list? Yes
Number of qualified applicants offered a place on the waiting list: 5,972
Number accepting a place on the waiting list: 3,588
Number of wait-listed students admitted: 13
Is your waiting list ranked? No
The waiting list will be big on May 1st because we need to ensure there are students to fit all ten sections of the first year class. The class is made up of Virginia residents and out-of-state students for each of the five schools/programs that take first years.

What's this thing about UVA Wise?

Virginia residents on the waiting list are given the option of enrolling at UVA Wise for one year before guaranteed transfer to UVA. There are some academic requirements for the time at Wise, of course. If you are a Virginia resident, you will see a question about the UVA Wise option on your waiting list reply form. Answering yes will get you some more information from our colleagues at Wise. You won't be removed from our waiting list process and you aren't bound to Wise if you select the "yes" option.

I accepted. Why is the form still there? 

You can always come back and pull yourself off the list. That is why the form remains after you opt in. There is no going back once you decline, though.

How many people will come off the waiting list?

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, which should be about 3,750 students. If we don't have that number of admitted students accepting a spot, we move to the waiting list.

It's hard to cite trends with certainty. 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's over a decade of data, which should show you how unpredictable this part can be. I don't have a breakdown of where the offers were for these years.

2018 - 13
2017- 117
2016 - 360
2015- 402
2014- 42
2013 - 185
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. Uploaded a letter in the portal is appropriate. Bombarding every admission officer with an email each day is not. Please don't email one or more admission officers directly with your updates. That will delay your email being filed. Following directions is important.

By the way, showing up in Peabody Hall will have no affect. I can't tell you how many students drive here ask the questions covered in the FAQs. This is not the best 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 move quickly because no one wants to drag this out. We aim to have everything wrapped up by the end of June. Last year, we completed the class on May 14th. In 2017, we were done by June 13th. Every year is a little different. When the time comes, we always email the entire waiting list to let them know the class is full.

If you are going to get an offer, we'll call you at the number you put on your application. The call is a heads up that your status is about to change in the portal. 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 portal to remove their name from the list, but some people forget. When the portal updates, a new letter shows up along with the ability to pay a deposit.

Because we want to give students a few days to think about the offer (and because the Financial Aid folks need time to post a package if the newly-admitted student applied for aid), this process takes a while. I can't give constant updates on the blog. I can usually check in once or twice in May. I will always tell you when the Dean says the class is full.

What about aid?

If you applied for aid by March 1st 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 offer and pay your deposit.

Will my housing and class options be limited if I come off the waiting list?

In a word: no. Housing doesn't even open their system until June and students coming off the waiting list aren't treated differently in their process. During the Orientation season, seats in certain popular classes are held for each orientation session. That means people who sign up for the first orientation can't scoop up all the seats in classes. What's more, the registration system opens up for course changes in August. Lots of students don't finalize their courses until that period.

What now?

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 and 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!