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College Waitlists Cruel Consolation Prize for Students

Shana Neto, Staff Writer

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With the end of the year approaching and college acceptance letters arriving, being waitlisted is a torture for soon-to-be high school graduates. Waitlisting definitely isn’t the end of the world, but it sure is annoying.

  When a student is put on a waitlist, colleges are saying that they will admit a student if room happens to open up. According to a website regarding statistics dealing with colleges, within a sample of 127 schools, public and private institutions, the average admitting rate was 18 percent ( (However it is important to note that many of these colleges admitted around 0 percent to ten percent while others admitted 50 percent or higher.) How could a student not be stressed about this? Colleges know they have waiting lists, they know these students are dying to know what their fate will be, and they know exactly when they’ll clear their waitlists (not to mention that at some colleges they can keep students waitlisted up until two days before orientation, leaving some students unaware of whether or not they’ll even being attending college at all). Why pretend any one of these students are going to be squeezed in? Yes, there are exceptions, but it’s a torture that may not be worth the wait.

  Schools are often unfair to their students who, depending on how many schools they’ve applied to, are at their beck and call. Colleges are ridiculous when it comes to the student information and “rights.” Applicants should be entitled to specific and just rights. The National Association for College Admission Counseling states that colleges should make clear the number of students waitlisted, the past “waitlistees” fate, clear their lists by August 1, and not require extra cash in order to remain waitlisted ( That doesn’t stop everything mentioned above from happening anyway. Seeing how applications themselves aren’t cheap, and anticipation can kill, why not show some mercy?

I was shocked I was even considered. It was better than getting rejected but it just hurt, since I was almost there but just not good enough to fully get in.”

— Emma Snell

  Senior Emma Snell said, “I was shocked I was even considered. It was better than getting rejected but it just hurt, since I was almost there but just not good enough to fully get in.” Snell, waitlisted at Point Loma Nazarene, went on to say that she contacted the school to see how she could get an edge up on competition. According to US News, colleges are more likely to consider a student who go the extra mile to look more dedicated to the school (

  If you do happen to get waitlisted, remind the college with some sort of email or notice that you would like to stay on the waitlist. This could affect your chances of getting in greatly, for you can’t get in if you’re not even on a waitlist, so make sure you accept a spot on one if you are still trying to be admitted to a school. In 2015, UC Davis admitted 2030 waitlisted students, while 6300 other waitlisted students hadn’t told the college that they wanted to remain on the list ( Imagine being one of those 6300 students, who wanted to continue being waitlisted and just didn’t make note of it.

 Getting waitlisted seems like a consolation prize, or a participation award. Students feel that it’s an acceptance that doesn’t mean anything, and a rejection that’s not nice enough to just simply let a student go. No one should have to suffer through a waitlist, but if you are, remember that you should contact the college, and do your best to stand out.

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The news site of University City High School
College Waitlists Cruel Consolation Prize for Students