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I’m on the Wait List – Now What?


Posted by Carolyn Pippen on Friday, April 12, 2013

Photo by Vanderbilt University (flickr)

As most of our first year applicants have received their admissions decisions by now (if not, please let us know!), we know many of you have questions about the decision that you received.  We have re-published the post below for all of our waitlisted students, with updated data for our entering class of 2013.  If you have further questions about the wait list process, please contact your admissions counselor, or post them in the Comments below.

First of all, congratulations!  I know that not receiving an offer of admission was a disappointment for many of you, but your spot on the wait list is a testament to our belief that you would, in fact, be a valuable and successful addition to the Vanderbilt Class of 2017.  Because we are held to a strict requirement of 1,600 first year students, we routinely under-admit our applicants with the full intention of taking more from our wait list after the May 1 matriculation fee deadline.  An offer of a spot on this list, then, is not a statement of “we will not admit you,” but rather, “we may be able to admit you, but not right now.”

Not everyone who is offered a spot on the wait list, however, will accept it.  Many of our wait-listed students have received offers from other fabulous universities that they will be accepting.  If that is the case for you, simply respond to the electronic form detailed in the letter you received declining your place on the list, and we wish you the best of luck in your educational endeavors.

If you are still interested in attending Vanderbilt and have not accepted your spot on the list (as many of your already have), it is extremely important that you submit the electronic response form by May 1.  We also ask that you continue to respond to each of the periodic emails you receive from our office asking if you would like to maintain this spot.  We will only admit students off of the wait list who have responded to every email inquiry we have sent up to that point.

Okay, so you’re on the wait list.  The natural question that follows: What are the chances of being admitted from this point forward?  Just like we cannot predict any one student’s admission chances in during the rest of the admissions cycle, we cannot predict your chances of being admitted off the wait list. However, we can tell you that we expect approximately 8-10% of our freshman class to be made up of students who were admitted from the wait list.

The next question everyone wants to know: where am I on the list?  Because Vanderbilt admits its incoming first year students by individual school, we do not have one giant wait list, but rather four separate lists for each of the four schools. However, we do not rank our wait lists. As places in the class open up, we will be pulling our wait-listed applicants using the same holistic review process we used in the initial evaluation, taking into account high school achievement, standardized test scores, extracurricular involvement, and those wonderful intangibles that come through in your essays and recommendations. In addition, your demonstrated continued interest in attending Vanderbilt may be a factor as well.

While we do not require you to submit new information during this process, we certainly allow it.  Feel free to send new test scores, new grades, new activities, new leadership positions, or new letters, but make sure to focus on that key word: new.  As previously stated, your spot on the wait list is a good sign that your application was pretty spectacular to start with, and sending additional materials for the sake of sending additional materials will not give you a leg up at this or any point.

We will likely begin making offers to our wait-listed students in the first week of May.  Because this is after most other schools’ matriculation fee deadlines, we strongly encourage you to put down that deposit at another school to ensure you will not be left without any options.  We will continue to make offers until the freshman class is completely filled, which may occur within the month or well into the summer, depending on how quickly those empty spots are snatched up.

If you are offered admission during this time period, you will receive a phone call from one of our officers.  Within 24 hours, a financial aid package will begin making its way towards your house.  Although we do reserve the right to be need-aware when admitting wait-listed students, those who are admitted will still receive 100% of their families’ demonstrated need, completely loan free.  Once you have reviewed your aid package and considered your options, you will return the candidate reply form and your matriculation fee to us within the time frame indicated when the offer is made.

We understand that after waiting patiently for three months to receive your admission decision, it may be frustrating to hear the words “please wait some more.”  I hope, however, that you receive this offer in the spirit of achievement and hope with which it was sent and that you continue to work with us as we continue to build this truly ground-breaking Class of 2017.


Posted in Application Process, Demonstrated Interest, Scholarships and Financial Aid, Uncategorized, VU Admissions Statistics and tagged: , , , , , , , ,


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