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How to interpret being waitlisted?


electrifice

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I was recently waitlisted at a school I consider to be a "reach" school. This school is also a top school in the field, so it is very competitive. Now I am aware that the chances of getting in off of the waitlist are infinitesimally small, so I'm wondering how much "better" is it to be waitlisted than outright rejected? Being waitlisted must mean that the... waitlistee?... is a stronger candidate than those that got rejected, right?

Of course, the waitlist is realistically only marginally better than being rejected because the chances of getting in are so slim. But I'm wondering what this means in terms of other schools that have not yet responded. I mean, if one is good enough to be waitlisted at a top school, is it too much to hope that one has a reasonably good chance at other top (but not tippy-top) schools? I'm not too concerned about this as I have some other good options, but I just want to see what you guys think (plus it can never hurt to dream, right?)... so have at it!

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I was recently waitlisted at a school I consider to be a "reach" school. This school is also a top school in the field, so it is very competitive. Now I am aware that the chances of getting in off of the waitlist are infinitesimally small, so I'm wondering how much "better" is it to be waitlisted than outright rejected? Being waitlisted must mean that the... waitlistee?... is a stronger candidate than those that got rejected, right?

Of course, the waitlist is realistically only marginally better than being rejected because the chances of getting in are so slim. But I'm wondering what this means in terms of other schools that have not yet responded. I mean, if one is good enough to be waitlisted at a top school, is it too much to hope that one has a reasonably good chance at other top (but not tippy-top) schools? I'm not too concerned about this as I have some other good options, but I just want to see what you guys think (plus it can never hurt to dream, right?)... so have at it!

I wouldn't say a 'stronger' candidate. :) I am sure that most people who apply are actually strong candidates. Perhaps, rather the candidate especially fit for that programme, that faculty and that year (sometimes, adcoms look for different things in different years).

It is also very difficult to speculate about other schools based on results from this one. There must be an academic 'fit' to get into every school. No matter how great GRE, GPA and wring sample are, nothing is guaranteed without that 'fit' (plus the politics at the department). You've probably seen people here on GradCafe who reported acceptances at Ivies and rejections at what were considered their 'safety' schools.

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Getting waitlisted last year felt like... almost felt like getting accepted! It was just a psychological validation that I was damn good enough for the program. But there just weren't enough money to go around. I was largely concerned whether or not I was good enough to get into a PhD program and those waitlist notifications were just enough for me. Seriously, I bounced all across the campus from my class to my apartment when I got my first waitlisted e-mail.

If you're really interested in the school, make sure you show it! Unless of course they say it's already ranked.

Interpret it as positive news.

Edited by ticklemepink
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To me it says that your application package is great, such that, you hope other schools will see it the same way too. As other said, you also need to factor in the "fit" variable into the equation. But other than that, let's not interpret too much on this wait-listing. It'll create unnecessary worrying on your part. You have a great application package! I am optimistic for you! :)

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I was recently waitlisted at a school I consider to be a "reach" school. This school is also a top school in the field, so it is very competitive. Now I am aware that the chances of getting in off of the waitlist are infinitesimally small, so I'm wondering how much "better" is it to be waitlisted than outright rejected? Being waitlisted must mean that the... waitlistee?... is a stronger candidate than those that got rejected, right?

Of course, the waitlist is realistically only marginally better than being rejected because the chances of getting in are so slim. But I'm wondering what this means in terms of other schools that have not yet responded. I mean, if one is good enough to be waitlisted at a top school, is it too much to hope that one has a reasonably good chance at other top (but not tippy-top) schools? I'm not too concerned about this as I have some other good options, but I just want to see what you guys think (plus it can never hurt to dream, right?)... so have at it!

You can get in off a waitlist - whether or not there will be funding when you do, can sometimes be another story (unless it's a school that universally funds anyone it accepts).

Last year I had 2 early accepts and one waitlist. I immediately sent out a note telling them that I was accepted with funding elsewhere and had a very limited time frame in which I could wait for a response but I was interested in their school. At first they ran around the bush, but they did admit me very soon after - unfortunately it was unfunded.

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