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Mythbusters: The Wait List

By Tom Nicholas

March 31, 2014

Well, we had another highly competitive year for admission and, as is always the case, we had many more qualified applicants than we have space for in our class. Those of you who have been offered a spot on the wait list are students whom we believe are fully qualified and would contribute greatly to our campus but for whom we don’t, given our size limitations, have space at present. Selective admission is a difficult process for us, as we try to select a class from among many strong, similarly-qualified applicants.

There are quite a few myths and rumors out there about how wait lists work, so I want to spend a few moments busting up some of the myths and perhaps confirming some others. Here goes.

We have no idea whether or not we’re going to go to the wait list this year (or any year for that matter) – that’s why we have a wait list. If we knew we’d need to admit more students, we’d have done so already. Typically, we won’t have a strong sense of whether or not we’ll go to the wait list until the beginning of May. We have been able to go to the wait list four out of the last five years.

We won’t know how many students are on the wait list until after the April 15 response deadline. Typically about one third of the students offered a place on the wait list will accept that offer. We offer spots to hundreds of students, but we don’t release the final number.

The wait list is not an actual ranked list, so you don’t get a number after you accept a place on it. Should we go to the wait list, we will go back into the admission committee and reevaluate all applicants on the wait list using the same holistic process we use in regular admission, which (as you likely know) places greatest emphasis on academic achievement. The one additional, secondary factor that may be added into that holistic process in wait list review is your level of interest. If Richmond is your first choice, please be sure to let us know of that. Feel free to check in with us once May rolls around to see how things are shaping up and let us know if you’re still interested at that point. Again, your academic and personal merits will always be the primary basis of the decisions that the committee makes – interest is secondary to that.

Some things you should do:

  • Confirm your spot on the wait list
  • Read the Wait List 2014 brochure thoroughly
  • Make your deposit at another university to secure your place in their class by May 1
  • Send us additional academic information (e.g. third-quarter grades) that becomes available
  • Check in with us periodically to let us know you’re still interested (periodically=every few weeks or so)
  • Visit campus IF AND ONLY IF you need to learn more about Richmond or decide whether Richmond is right for you

Some things you shouldn’t do:

  • Call us every day
  • Call us every week
  • Try to bribe us
  • Send us more letters of recommendation
  • Send us crazy, ridiculous items to try to get our attention
  • Send us anything other than additional academic information
  • Visit campus to try to convince us of your interest or make a case in person (a phone call or e-mail is just as effective and will be looked upon equally)

We do our very best to keep you posted on what’s going on. We will contact you by the end of June at the latest to let you know about the status of the wait list. Watch your e-mail once late June rolls around for news and further instructions.

We understand how difficult this process can be, and we try to be as forthright as possible, but when it comes to the wait list there are simply a lot of unknown factors. I am confident that all of you have many wonderful options from which to choose, and that you will find yourselves excited and content next autumn, whether you are at Richmond or elsewhere.

Tags: Application Process Mythbusters

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Tom NicholasTom Nicholas
Senior Assistant Director of Admission 

A Richmond alumnus (Class of 2007), Tom has been working and blogging for the Office of Admission since he graduated. He loves his alma mater and the city that shares its name.

Learn more about Tom

Beth Anne SpachtBeth Anne Spacht
Assistant Director of Admission

Beth Anne was a double major at Richmond (English and Latin American & Iberian Studies) and now enjoys helping prospective students discover the best of her alma mater.

Learn more about Beth Anne

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