Congratulations to all seniors for making your final decision and depositing! Now that colleges have a better understanding of their enrollment for the fall, they will begin going to their waitlist. Below are some things to expect with the waitlist.
Be prepared to make a decision within 24 hours. Waitlist offers happen quickly and students typically receive a call. For example, Vanderbilt asks students if they would like to receive an offer and give them 24 hours to respond. Once they receive the offer, they have one week to decide whether or not to accept the offer, but chances are if they’ve asked to receive it, they typically decide to attend. This is a way for Vanderbilt to provide offers only to those that will actually come.
Financial aid may not be available. Some schools reserve financial aid for students on the waitlist, but most do not. This is where need aware schools fulfill their enrollment goals with full pay students. There are, however, a few schools that continue to offer financial aid to students who get in off of the waitlist.
Don’t feel bad about changing your mind. If you decide to accept the offer off of the waitlist, it’s perfectly acceptable to let the school to which you decided to attend know about your change of heart given the new information. In fact, most schools take into account “summer melt” when they create their classes. On the other side of the coin, some students are certain they want to go to the school to which they have been waitlisted in early April, but once they actually get the offer, realize how happy they are to go to the school where they deposited.
You will lose your deposit. Don’t expect to get a refund from the school to where you initially deposited. Look at it as a charitable contribution to the school in question.