What are your chances of acceptance?

Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
Duke University
Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

Disadvantages of Being Accepted from the Waitlist

This article was written based on the information and opinions presented by Yesh Datar in a CollegeVine livestream. You can watch the full livestream for more info. 


What’s Covered



Plan Ahead


When you are put on a waitlist, you should plan as if you’re going to a second-choice school. That way, no matter what happens with the waitlist school, you have a plan for the next year. You don’t want to be in a position where you solely rely on getting off the waitlist because there is no guarantee. 


Disadvantages of Being Admitted Off the Waitlist


Students who get accepted off the waitlist are not inherently at a disadvantage. When a student gets accepted, they often hear back by early summer, so there are still two or three months before college starts to get everything in order. While there might be less time to fill out paperwork, there are no huge disadvantages to being admitted later than everyone else. Make sure to be on top of your paperwork once you’ve officially accepted the offer. 


There is one disadvantage to being admitted off the waitlist that most people don’t realize. When you are admitted during the regular decision cycle, you can negotiate your tuition by using your competitive offers at different schools. Some colleges will look at your competing offers and offer you a discount on tuition. CollegeVine has livestreams and resources for how to negotiate your tuition. Students admitted off the waitlist don’t have the leverage to negotiate tuition because the college knows that you want to attend their school if you accept the offer. Colleges don’t have any incentive to give you more financial aid or merit, so you’ve lost your negotiating power coming off the waitlist. 


Do Colleges Give Merit Aid to Waitlisted Students?


The Factors Behind Merit Scholarships


Financial merit aid depends on two factors. The first round of merit aid is typically given out in the admission cycle when they get early decision applicants. The second round comes from early action or regular decision applicants. In the second round, merit aid is used as an incentive to get those students to accept the school’s offer. 


Imagine if a school decided to give a student $10,000 a year in merit scholarships. That student will be more likely to attend that school compared to a university that did not offer them anything in scholarships. Merit-based aid is used as a tactic by schools to increase enrollment yields and the number of students coming to their institutions. 


The Dean’s Scholarship


When it comes to waitlisted students, universities don’t need to incentivize them because they already know the students want to attend. For that reason, colleges do not typically offer waitlist students merit scholarships, but it can be done. Once you’ve been admitted off the waitlist, look out for any emails the college sends out that mention scholarships. Often colleges will announce a dean’s scholarship the summer before students begin college. A dean’s scholarship is often given to students with high test scores and GPAs, so this is a merit-based scholarship that all incoming students can apply for. 


Paying for College 


There is no doubt that paying for college can be a major stressor for many students, so it’s important to weigh your options carefully. College is one of the biggest investments you will make throughout your life. Most colleges have return on investment statistics, so you can calculate how much a college will help your career based on your field of interest. This will give you a better idea of your financial situation and how much you can expect to get in return from your education.