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Waitlist odds


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I was wondering if anyone had any insight into the inner-workings of waitlists. I know it's different for each year and each school/program but any feedback is appreciated! 

For reference I've been waitlisted for Columbia's SIPA Environmental Science and Policy MPA. I've been on the waitlist since the beginning of January so I've had a lot of time to sit and think! A couple of things I have questions about are:

If a program has a target cohort size of say 70, will they send acceptances to more (like 100) people and then additionally place more on the waitlist in anticipation of people declining offers? Meaning that even if some people decline they will still not move to the waitlist unless more than a certain number turn down their offers?

Also, does the fact that I applied/was waitlisted earlier mean I might be higher up on the waitlist than someone who did so later? The message I received on my application portal said that the waitlist was unranked, but after corresponding with someone, I have reason to believe that one can be "bumped up" on the list. Thanks, I know I'm probably overthinking it, but any comments or insights would be great!

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Sure  you can be bumped up a waitlist...because you convince the school that you really want to go there and would be a great fit. I don't think it has anything to do with how early or late you were waitlisted. The single most important thing you can do is to enthusiastically express interest in the program. Reach out the head of admissions. Let them know much you want to attend and why you would be a great fit. If possible, arrange for an in-person tour. Also, be very careful about pursuing a waitlisted position at an expensive school, as you will surely forego major funding opportunities. I totally understand wanting to get into a dream program, but please think long and hard before taking on on huge amounts of debt.

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