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EDIII? Waitlist Data and Insights

by Brad Pochard (enrollment expert) and Leigh Moore (college advisor and data nerd)

As we edge closer to the May 1st National Candidate Reply Date--or, in light of the FAFSA debacle, perhaps the May 15th / June 1st National Candidate Reply Date, we take the opportunity to address waitlists. Our shorthand jargon for the waitlist is "ED3"--but more about that in a minute.

Applicant concerns: How much hope for admission?

Naturally, students who have accepted a spot on one or more waitlists want to know "what their chances are" of being admitted. And, to be sure, we include all the waitlist data provided by schools within our downloadable Excel workbook. (Source: 2022-2023 Common Data Sets.)

Waitlist data is included with our subscription product.

Leigh is so deep into the newest data, the 2023-2024 Common Data Sets, that we can show you a sampling of how they shape up, too. Click here to see the latest WL stats.

Yep--we love our metrics. That said, we caution advisors and families against reliance on this particular area of historical data, because waitlist dynamics are inconsistent from year to year, and from institution to institution. Instead, we encourage you to help families understand the waitlist. Colleges fill vacancies according to their need--high yield and revenue. That's why Brad calls the waitlist ED3; it's a group from which the school can cherry-pick the students who

will enable them to meet their stated enrollment goals. If the family is in agreement that the student will attend if admitted, it's a great idea to communicate the same to the admissions office.

The chart below also comes from 2023-2024 Common Data Sets. The CDS is invaluable for the granularity of insights it offers. It takes a lot of calculations and visualization work, but the resulting chart conveys the extent to which some colleges enjoy the ability to control enrollment.

Waitlist data, along with other metrics, helps us visualize the admissions components of a first-year college class.

Enrollment concerns:

Many of the elite and most-selective colleges, those with the greatest strength in the market, continue to enroll larger percentages of their class through ED and the waitlist.

What will this mean for institutions in the mid-market and for those who find themselves in positions of lesser strength in the market?

How will these percentages look for the fall class of 2024 considering the major changes and challenges seen in this cycle – the Supreme Court ruling and all things ISIRS?

It's a lot to consider. An interesting summer awaits us.


Brad and Leigh

Have you visited our Tableau Public page? Click the image below to check it out.

Visit our Tableau Public profile for waitlist data and many other visualizations.

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