What To Do If You've Been Waitlisted
This year, Vanderbilt’s pool of applicants was so strong that many students who may have been admitted even a year ago were offered a spot on our waitlist. Keep in mind that it was equally difficult to be offered a spot on our waitlist as it was to be admitted. Still, I know that many students and families are unclear about what being on a waitlist means, and as such, I hope this post provides some insight into Vanderbilt’s waitlist process.
The good news is that we model our class with the goal of enrolling students from the waitlist. Before The Commons, Vanderbilt’s incoming class size could fluctuate with any additional students being housed across campus. With the advent of The Commons we are committed to housing all first-year students together. We use the waitlist to round out the class, in whatever way it needs rounding out.
First off, we do not rank order our waitlist. We approach it by school (A&S, Engineering, Peabody, and Blair). It is almost like having 4 different waitlists. Due to the segmented nature of the list, we do not comment on how many students are active on our waitlist — it is our belief that the overall number is misleading as a gauge of a student’s chances of coming off the waitlist. It is important to note that while we plan to make offers from our waitlist, we cannot predict our yield (% of students offered admission who accept), and therefore we do not know if we will be making offers from the list, and in what quantities.
We know that students’ reactions to being offered a spot on the waitlist will differ – some will say no thanks to the entire thing, some will accept a spot on the waitlist just to see what happens, and some will accept a spot on our list because we remain their top choice. It is identifying that third group of students that is of primary interest to us.
So how do you demonstrate your interest to us? You do not have to visit, or write another essay, or tattoo Mr. C’s mug on your forearm. You just need to do the following: 1) return the yellow waitlist reply form indicating you wish to be active on our waitlist, 2) contact your admissions officer and let him/her know you remain interested, 3) respond to our waitlist check-in emails when they come (see below for more on this), and 4) consider submitting any substantially relevant new information (e.g., new grades that might be available).
If you accept a spot on our waitlist, you will be asked to provide an email address because we will be communicating periodically with you via email. It is vital that your email address is one that you check often and is one that will not block our emails in a spam filter. The emails we send will try to keep you informed about what’s going on at Vanderbilt and (most importantly) ask you if you remain interested in Vanderbilt. We will ask you to respond to these emails by submitting an online Wait List Update form indicating that you remain interested in VU.
This information, along with all of the other information you already provided with your application, will be used by our staff to make offers from our waitlist, if we are able to do so. Students admitted and enrolling from the waitlist are still able to receive financial aid (if they qualify), get housing, and register for their classes, just like students admitted under ED or RD.
For now, you need to begin sorting your offers of admission and decide if you want to accept a spot on our waitlist. If we are able to make offers from the waitlist, we will not do so until May, so you will need to accept another school’s offer of admission by their reply deadline. Starting the first week in May (after all of the deposits have been received) we analyze our class and begin making offers of admission from our waitlist. We will try and provide regular updates on this blog about the waitlist, including more information about whether we’ll be making offers, and how that process will work.