The process of choosing the college where you will spend your next four years can be a very confusing time. You must navigate through a sea of decisions and options, sometimes only to be met with more uncertainty: the wait list.
A recent study by the National Association for College Admission Counseling shows that more students are finding themselves on wait lists this year compared to last year.
About 48 percent of colleges reported using a wait list for the incoming freshman class of 2010. That's up from 39 percent in 2009 and 35 percent in 2008. The report suggests that colleges might be wait-listing more students because of economic uncertainty.
“Colleges and universities, like most organizations and institutions in the US, are operating under stressful and uncertain conditions,” said David Hawkins, NACAC Director of Public Policy and Research. “While that uncertainty may create some short term changes to the admission process, counselors, students and families can rely on the knowledge that the fundamental requirements for college admission remain constant.”
The report also found that fewer students are getting admitted off of wait lists. It was 34 percent in 2009, but only 28 percent in 2010.
This comes at a time when colleges find themselves with more applicants than in recent years (73 percent of four-year colleges reported receiving more applications, and only 19 percent reported declines). However, the overall acceptance rate declined, but by just one percentage point to 65.5 percent, according to the report.
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