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Hi guys,

After saying over and over for the last week "I just don't want to be in limbo anymore" I got waitlisted at 5pm on Friday. At my dream school. The only school I applied to. There is some relief in hearing that it wasn't a pie-in-the-sky plan--that I'm qualified--but now the limbo continues. In fact they said the earliest waitlist candidates could expect to hear back is May 15th, but it could be as late as July 31st. I will wait. . .

Has anyone here ever moved off of a waitlist? Does anyone have advice? The waitlist letter was very formal and did not give much information (this is for a master's program), so I'm trying to get some details from admissions. In the meantime: Anyone else want to moan with me? Did anyone else apply to just one program?

Here's to hoping. . .

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Yes, a lot of people have gotten in off of the waitlist. You just have to be patient.

I didn't apply to only one school, but I've been rejected everywhere but this program where I'm waitlisted, and it also happens to be my top choice. Sigh...

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Yes, a lot of people have gotten in off of the waitlist. You just have to be patient.

I didn't apply to only one school, but I've been rejected everywhere but this program where I'm waitlisted, and it also happens to be my top choice. Sigh...

if it makes you feel better, i will most likely be 0 for 11. only 3 official rejections so far, but certainly a few more to come from schools that have already had interview weekends in which i wasnt invited, etc.

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Awww frankdux, maybe you'll at least get a crack at the waitlist experience with us!

I'm finding a lot of humor in this right now. . . a real classic that mirrors my perverse sense of hope in the waitlist!

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Also! A story of hope!

I found out today that a woman who was 11 spots down on the waitlist got in last year- in mid august! So that's 10 offers! Not my same track, but same program.

According to admissions the waitlist "is a very small population of qualified candidates." They are willing to take an update letter in a month, but that's it. I also have a legacy at the school, which I didn't mention in my application-- PhD and former professor there. In addition, a former dean might be willing to write on my behalf. What do you guys think? Is that ethical? Is it frowned upon? Does it even matter? I felt like it was irrelevant to mention when I first applied, but now I'm paranoid other people are pulling out all stops. . .

Thanks for any advice!

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I got a weird call this morning from one of the schools I am waitlisted at. When I heard my phone ring I ran across my apartment and, when I saw the area code was from a school I was waiting on, I was even more excited. I thought I was going to finally get some good news....Instead, it was the diversity committee trying to see how the application process was going for me??????....I'm waitlisted at your school. How do you think my application process is going? :shock:

I was definitely pissed on two ends. First, I was so excited I was getting a call only to have my excitment abruptly crushed. Secondly, it was too early on the west coast for me to answer question about where I'm from, where else I'm apply and so forth.

I hate being on a waitlist. This process is driving me crazy.

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What is an "unofficial wait-list"? I called to ask about my status at my top choice school and they told me I was on the "unofficial waitlist"... Is this just an unranked wait-list? The run-of-the-mill waitlist? The who-the-fuck-cares-because-you're-not-getting-in waitlist?...Yeah, I guess you can see how I feel about the matter ;)

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Some schools will make their decisions all at once, and everybody gets told accepted, rejected, or waitlisted. That's an official waitlist.

Other schools do rolling admissions, so your application is "under consideration" until you get accepted or the class fills up. So it's like you're on a waitlist, except you don't formally get told you're on one, and statistically speaking your odds probably aren't as good as in the other situation (since there's not a pool of rejectees you know you're above). That's what I'd consider an "unofficial waitlist".

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Are all waitlists ranked? I'm waitlisted at a school that I'd like to go to, and had planned on attending their open house (I was invited). I was going to put on the ole' razzle dazzle susquehanna shuffle jazz hands in the hopes they would be assured by my enthusiasm that I would attend if admitted. However if I am ranked 50/50...then there aint no goddamn point in getting out of bed. I should call and ask...I wonder if they'll tell me. The letter did say "small number of applicants" are on the list...but who the hell knows what a small number is.

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Are all waitlists ranked? I'm waitlisted at a school that I'd like to go to, and had planned on attending their open house (I was invited). I was going to put on the ole' razzle dazzle susquehanna shuffle jazz hands in the hopes they would be assured by my enthusiasm that I would attend if admitted. However if I am ranked 50/50...then there aint no goddamn point in getting out of bed. I should call and ask...I wonder if they'll tell me. The letter did say "small number of applicants" are on the list...but who the hell knows what a small number is.

I'm wondering that, too. I got wait-listed today at Columbia (and want to jump off a tall building as a result) and I'm curious if I should even bother getting my hopes up. Like you said...there ain't no goddamn point if we're at, like, the very bottom of a long list. Meh.

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Are all waitlists ranked? I'm waitlisted at a school that I'd like to go to, and had planned on attending their open house (I was invited). I was going to put on the ole' razzle dazzle susquehanna shuffle jazz hands in the hopes they would be assured by my enthusiasm that I would attend if admitted. However if I am ranked 50/50...then there aint no goddamn point in getting out of bed. I should call and ask...I wonder if they'll tell me. The letter did say "small number of applicants" are on the list...but who the hell knows what a small number is.

Judging by your signature and the "urban planning" program in your information to the right, I think we've received the same e-mail from Cornell...

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Ah, Cornell. It calls itself "The Big Red" and students call it "The Big Red Tape". (I say that with affection, I did my undergrad there, but there's some truth to it).

Re: ranking-

From talking to the admissions office of my program I gathered that the waitlist (referred to as a "small population of qualified applicants"- but who knows how an adcom defines "small") is not ranked yet. The adcom is going to reconvene (presumably after April 15), and that's when it sounds like the list gets ranked. In my program, the first waitlist offers won't go out til May 15. Or maybe they say that to keep us at bay. Who knows, the offers could come sooner. It seems like people would be likely to accept other offers by then. . . although not me. Since I have only one program to wait on!

Based on last year, it sounds like they do release waitlist placement after May 15th. At least that's one program's way of doing it. . .

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I am on a waitlist at one of my top choices, and I am wondering if it would be a good idea to call them and ask about their waitlist procedures. I don't want to hold out hope or reject another offer if I am extremely far down their list. What do you guys think? It couldn't hurt to ask them how they handle the waitlist? Should I call or e-mail?

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I am on a waitlist at one of my top choices, and I am wondering if it would be a good idea to call them and ask about their waitlist procedures. I don't want to hold out hope or reject another offer if I am extremely far down their list. What do you guys think? It couldn't hurt to ask them how they handle the waitlist? Should I call or e-mail?

Definitely call or write or both! Maybe call so that your questions are all specifically addressed and then send a short email thank you so that your name is on the record. I have repeatedly heard that the most important thing to do is express your continued interest in the program-- that this has more bearing on increasing your chances than almost anything else. If you can honestly tell them you would accept an offer if it were extended to you, say so. When they get to the waitlist they would rather have sure-bets and keep up the conversion. I was literally told, "We will consider the quality of each candidate as well as their expressed interest in attending the program. Beyond this factor, there are no additional steps you need to take at this time."

I had asked about what they would like to see and suggested several things-- the only thing they were interested in beyond my interest was an update, later in the spring if it was "pertinent to my application."

Good luck!

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Is it kosher to inquire about my chances of getting off the waitlist? You know, "I want to express my continued interest yada yada Your school is my top choice and I will attend if admitted yada yada Do you have any insights about whether I should still hold out hope yada yada"?

And, if so, with whom? I've been in contact with the grad program's administrative assistant, who told me today (following my inquiry) that I've been waitlisted and should get my letter this week - also, will have a final decision within the next month. Should I ask her about my chances, and/or should I email the program director to express my interest? This is a master's program... Thanks!

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Hi guys,

I've heard, repeatedly, that's it's entirely acceptable to email. For one thing, the school is interested in you, so it's a bit different now than when you were one of hundreds of applicants.

I got what felt like good news today. After being waitlisted on Friday at 5pm (on the dot)for a master's program I took the weekend to let myself run through emotions, etc. and emailed 2 people at my dream school (the only program I applied to). One person was the admissions officer that I had met with and communicated with throughout the fall. The other was the program coordinator. The admissions person wrote a lengthy note back to me that day, which was very kind, but he was very reserved and a bit vague.

However, I heard back from the program coordinator today who was very warm and had some new information to share. For one thing, he thanked me several times for getting in touch and said that they started offering spots to people on the waitlist as soon as NOW. He also said that if they feel they will fall short of their target number, even if it is BEFORE they hear back from all admits, they will start notifying people from the waitlist.

This is different in what it said in my waitlist letter and what I heard from the admissions person-- both said that the earliest one could expect to hear is May 15. So I'm holding out some (potentially false) hope that the program coordinator knows my name and has my application earmarked. Very wishful thinking, but in the end, I think the point is that there will most likely be a positive outcome to your inquiry!

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Await, that's awesome! Might I ask what your email said (in general)? I'm finding that any email I craft is very awkward and sounds very "what can you do for me," you know? I'd love to know how you approached the program coordinator. Thanks for all the info :)

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Oh apparently my program doesn't send rejection letters or update their website about rejections until the first round of recruits accept or deny their offers WTF!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks for telling me i'm wait listed or Rejected until a ton of accepted people freaking reject!!!!

oh and graduate school and department, thank you for FINALLY telling me something on March 18th, really freaking awesome and your customer service SUCKS!!!!!! :twisted:

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I need help understanding this whole waitlist madness. I'm currently one of 4 people waitlisted at my top choice school and their list is unranked (or at least they don't admit to ranking). I was told by the department coordinator that in previous years they typically admit 1 or 2 people from the waitlist, but this year is very atypical because of the high volume of applicants and the reduction of their cohort from 8 to 5 due to the economic crisis. The coordinator basically told me that if this were last year I definitely would have been one of the 8 admits. In speaking with her a few times she's been exceedingly positive and each time she recognized me immediately before I even had a chance to give her my last name or my program. The last time I called she even happened to have my documentation in front of her at that moment and quoted back my specifics like my address, etc. and she invited me to attend the upcoming new students reception, albeit with no guarantees. My inner seventh grade girl wants to read all of our conversations and interactions as cosmic signs that I am so totally going to move up from the waitlist ("Johnny's bag brushed my shoulder in the hallway and last week he ignored me in homeroom, so he must love me, right?!!") If I take the Pollyanna, rose-colored glasses view of the situation, including previous stats and my personal interactions, I have a 50-50 chance--sweet. However, we all know that Pollyanna don't know nothing about the evils of the application process and 'signs' are about as worthless as M. Night Shyalaman's movie. The world-weary cynic in me thinks they're just stringing me along and no one will decline admission to this awesome program anyway. 50% of nothing is still nothing.

Ok, now that I've vented like a junior high schooler to her BFF, I have the real questions. How the hell do I proceed with this waitlist deal? My dream school won't be able to officially notify me of my status until after April 15th, unless all 5 admits miraculously decline this week. But I have to notify my other school by the 15th. Is it ok to accept an offer by the 15th only to renege if I get admitted from the waitlist school on, say, the 18th? Is that even allowed, or would I be blackballed or something for accepting, then promptly, declining an offer? Or does the waitlist school honestly expect me to turn down my bird in the hand on the 15th while just awaiting their yay or nay patiently?

Arrrrrrghh! I feel like I'm about to turn into the Incredible Hulk at any moment over this whole thing! Somebody, anybody- please advise!

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I emailed the department and received this reply:

"Thanks for your e-mail. You are on the short list, but at this point, we can't make another offer. You will receive an official letter soon.

Thanks again for applying to our program."

Does this mean I've been waitlisted? Or is this a rejection?

Any thoughts?

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I emailed the department and received this reply:

"Thanks for your e-mail. You are on the short list, but at this point, we can't make another offer. You will receive an official letter soon.

Thanks again for applying to our program."

Does this mean I've been waitlisted? Or is this a rejection?

Any thoughts?

In my case, I received an email stating that I was on a shortlist for admission and would receive notification shortly if a position was available. Naturally, I was a little confused with the wording of the email, so I asked for clarification. The response, in essence, was "you're on a waiting list - things will work themselves out by mid-April".

Take that for what you will, but my guess is that you're stuck in limbo with the rest of us. Welcome to almost-Hell.

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Like an idiot, I decided I wouldn't apply to PhD programs this year. I applied the past two years, outside of my field, and decided I was sick of living in limbo so I would take the year off from the application process. I love my job, and feel rather disconnected from it most of the time because I'm either, writing my applications, turning them in, waiting for a response, etc. You all know, the process is maddening. But then, the most amazing program in my field opened up this year and I took it as a sign. It is the only place I applied.

I met with the faculty and had a wonderful visit. I even asked if there was anything the chair saw that might hinder my application strength, and the chair smiled and said "absolutely not." Sigh. Here's what my stuff looks like on paper:

I have a BA and an MA in the same field. I have been a full-time lecturer in my field for over two years and have glowing letters of recommendation. My writing sample is sound and I even have two publications under my belt (also in my field.) I've done the conference thing,etc. I feel like a good candidate dammit!

Two weeks ago I was notified by the chair in a very personal email that said I had been "wait listed." I too just wanted to be out of limbo and then was put into another limbo stage.

I'm panicked.... I'm sick.... I don't know what to do and feel so helpless.

I know the budgets everywhere (go economy!) are cutting program admits down left and right nationally... I know my chances of getting admitted from that wait list are pretty small.... but good god I wish there was a way of knowing where I am on the wait list, and what my actual chances are. When I emailed to ask the chair was very vague and didn't give me much information.

Someone please offer me some hope.... or set me straight.... 'cuz I'm going crazy.

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Definitely call or write or both!

Good luck!

Await, like you I applied to one school; it was the school I wanted to attend, and I had a great interview. I felt confident, but then as time wore on, I was a little skeptical of my chances. Yesterday, I received the wait list letter. What does everyone's inquiry look like in tone and subject?

I am going to email, call, and send a thank you card(because, here's to hoping visual people respond to visual things). I would love help though from other's experience. Await, what did your email sound like? I figure I will ask about rank only at the very end, and focus more on dates,focus on questioning the "composition of the list" and my enthusiasm for the program.

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