When you receive a waitlist notification, you are not quite sure how to feel. It is not an acceptance…and yet there is still hope. You are in agony – the waiting continues.
The first thing to do when you are waitlisted is congratulate yourself. While it probably is not the answer that you were hoping for, you should know that far more people are denied admission than placed on the waitlist. If you are waitlisted, you are still in the running, and your application has passed an important hurdle.
The waitlist has a lot of unknowns associated with it, even for the admissions committees. Until they know how many applicants will accept their invitations and until they start to understand the makeup of the class, they really do not know how many people will be admitted from the waitlist and who those people will be. In most cases, the waitlist is not technically ranked. Again, the admissions committee is looking at the class composition and trying to make sure that it is a well rounded group. As their class begins to take shape, they can make more waitlist decisions.
While hoping may mean continued agony, a good number of individuals are admitted from the waitlist, so do not give up hope, and try to consider this a positive outcome, at least for the time being.