The New York Times provides a handy summary of admissions data for elite schools. The main new information for Williams is that 1,125 applicants were offered a space on the wait list, 475 accepted and 32 of those were admitted. Previous discussion here. Why do so many students decline a spot of the wait list? (Presumably, they were not all admitted to Harvard.) Larry George commented:

I know lots of students who did not stay on lists where they thought they had little chance. They (or they and their parents) wanted closure and to move on emotionally, even though they regarded the wait-listing schools as better schools or better fits for them. At that point, too, they knew where their friends were going and, once they knew who would be going to school with them, some of the choices that had been lower on their lists looked much more acceptable than they had — I suppose there is a way of calling that a “more desirable choice” but it isn’t what I would have meant by it.

I know quite a few parents who (against their better judgment) let their (anxious) children apply to a dozen or more schools but only on the condition that they would not stretch it out and pursue any waiting lists, but had to commit, really commit, to a school by May 1st and get on with their lives. There can be an enormous emotional cost to staying a wait list.

Yes, there are a lot of students who got into Williams’s peer schools and were waitlisted at Williams, or vice versa; they often accept another school’s acceptances and decline the wait list, but I don’t think they generally view that as a “more desirable choice” as much as a bird-in-hand choice between equals. There are, undoubtedly, plenty of students who don’t accept the wait list because they decide a larger or more urban or West Coast school is a better fit, “more desirable,” for them and some who accept Ivies or specialty programs.

My point is that students (and their families) make these choices for a variety of reasons. Many who decline the wait list continue to find Williams extremely desirable.

Seems sensible. Were any of our readers accepted off the wait list? Or stayed on the wait list of a different school? Tell us your stories.

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