Skip to content

Elite Colleges Take More Students from Waiting Lists


This was a brutal year for admissions to top colleges. The applicant pool was larger than ever before. Harvard and Princeton did away with their early decision programs. Many elite colleges, including the Ivies, Lafayette, Bowdoin, and Stanford, announced generous new financial aid policies.
And many colleges increased the size of their waiting lists, in part because of the uncertainty these changes wrought in admissions offices at these schools.
The result is that many colleges are taking many more students from their waiting lists than in the past.
Here’s a snippet from a recent article about waiting lists from the Wall Street Journal:

The wait-list bonanza isn’t because colleges have more slots available for students — in fact, overall enrollment levels at many schools remained the same as last year.

Instead, colleges this year faced more uncertainty in the applications process. For one thing, there’s a growing population of high-school seniors — many of whom submit applications to multiple schools. But for highly selective schools, what really affected the process was the move by two Ivy League schools to end their early-admissions programs. Also at play were policy changes that made more financial aid available to middle- and upper-class students.

So while this is good news for some students on waiting lists, keep in mind that the numbers are still quite small. Here are the numbers that will pulled off the waiting list at some schools:

University of Wisconsin-Madison: This year: 800; Last year 6
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill: This year 300; Last year 226
Boston College: This year 250; Last year 117
Harvard University: This year 200: Last year 50
Princeton University: This year 90; Last yaer 47
Georgetown University: This year 80; Last year 29
Yale University: This year 46; Last year 50
Hamilton College: This year: 36; Last year: 24
Massachusetts Institute of Technology: This year 35; Last year: 20
Johns Hopkins University: This year: 30; Last year: 86
Swarthmore College: This year: 22; Last year: 42
Pomona College: This year: 16; Last year: 17
University of Chicago: This year: 10 to 15; Last year: 0
Stanford University: This year: 0; Last year: 0
University of Virginia: This year: 0; Last year: 150


Mark Montgomery
College Counselor



Archive by Date

Join our Facebook Group ››
Stay informed about college admissions trends and ask questions of experts who can give you Great College Advice.