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Clinical Psychology Waitlist for Fall 2021


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Hi everyone,

I got waitlisted at my first-choice program at LSU and I am struggling with coping. To give more context, I believe I am #2 on the waitlist, so I would get an offer if the other applicant declined, or if the POI receives additional funding for a second student. They applied for a grant in the fall and are waiting to hear back from them. I feel as if I have a better chance of waiting until April 15th for the POI to get funding because I highly doubt anyone would decline an offer from this program and POI - it's unimaginable for me. What might be some reasons for applicants to reject an acceptance offer? 

I've read a lot of posts about people's experiences with waitlists but I am still feeling a bit defeated. When I read other people's success stories, I am happy for them but I also know that each program and application year is different, especially this year with COVID and how that may severely impact this POI's chances of getting funding for a second student. 

I hate that being waitlisted places you in a state of purgatory because I want to do anything in my power to increase my chances of getting an offer. I've thought of a few ideas like reaching out to fellow applicants and asking them kindly what their intentions are with their offer, but I realize this is a terrible idea. Another idea I had was emailing the DCT and asking them what their experience has been like with waitlisted applicants or how long it typically takes for a professor to receive funding after they applied for a grant in the fall. 

I guess my question is: Is there absolutely nothing I can do to ease my nerves about this? With 2 months left until April 15th, that is a long wait and this program is truly my dream. It's actually been affecting me so badly that I haven't been able to be excited about other programs that I've gotten interviews and an acceptance offer from. 

I hope I do not sound like I am whining, complaining, or ungrateful. I am more than appreciative to be in the position I am in, but the amount of weight I placed on this program is coming to bite me. This past week I have ruminated a lot and have lost sleep on this, and that should tell you how badly I wanted to be offered an acceptance letter. 

What are your experiences like if you have had a similar experience with mine?

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1. Look up distress tolerance online, it should be in a lot of DBT literature and try to apply some of those skills for yourself. While you really want this program, the world will not end if you do not get an acceptance. It sounds like you have an offer from another program as well. I'm guessing that you applied to programs that you would be interested in attending at the onset. When I applied, I was waitlisted for an interview at my top choice (and who rejects an interview?), and did not get offered one, despite a great research match and a lot of back and forth emails with the faculty. I ended up getting an offer that cycle for another program, and I am in my 3rd year and love it. The chances of getting in anywhere are slim, and the chances of getting into any 1 school are even slimmer. 

2. In that same vein, I would really try to look more at the offer you do have. What made you apply in the first place? What did you like about it? What did you like about the interview? Try to examine the pros of that other program, as I am sure there's at least one. Otherwise, why did you spend the money and time applying to it?

3. If you look at LSU's admissions stats, last year they extended 13 offers and matriculated 10 students, meaning 3 may have been off the waitlist. It is possible, but not a guarantee. 

4. I know you are stressed and upset. However, for perspective, you have 1 offer and 1 waitlist. That is an excellent way to be in. Someone else may be on the waitlist for the program you have an acceptance for. This may be their dream program and dream POI, and they are anxiously awaiting you to decline that offer. There are others on here that are upset they have not gotten any offers or even any interviews. It is OK to be upset by being placed on a waitlist, but sometimes getting a bit of perspective of others' situations may help to lessen the blow. 

5. Lastly, no, there isn't anything active you can do. Do not email students. Do not email the DCT or the POI. Refer back to #1 and practice some self care and maybe some mindfulness. Once you begin a program, these skills will come in handy. You apply  for, and wait for, a lot of things in grad school: grants, IRB approval, practicum maybe, internship, etc. Building these skills for yourself now will go a long way in your future. 

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I agree with this advice. Do not e-mail the other applicants, the DCT, or the POI. As hard as it is, waitlists are just that, waiting. It is still early in the process, and waitlists won't start moving a lot until almost all interviews are complete. Then people know where they stand everywhere they have interviewed, and start to make decisions. As soon as people start accepting (and then declining other offers if they have them), then the logjam opens up and waitlists start moving quickly. It is possible that the person who got an offer from LSU may turn it down. You never know what their dream program is, and maybe they haven't even interviewed there yet, or they are on that waitlist and are waiting for an offer so they can release this one. The hardest part about this process is that there is so much happening that is beyond applicant's control. Be patient, use those distress tolerance skills!

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