Like jittery investors scrambling to hedge their bets, selective colleges and universities are placing far more applicants than usual on their waiting lists this spring as a safeguard against an unusually murky admissions season. But while the policy gives colleges some peace of mind, it plunges students into an admissions purgatory that could string out the stressful selection process for weeks to come.Waiting lists aren't fun.
Colleges have typically been able to estimate the percentage of accepted students who will enroll in the fall with a fair degree of confidence. This year, several factors have conspired to thwart their projections: a shaky economy, record numbers of applications, and sweeping financial aid expansions that make it harder to predict what colleges middle-class families will choose.
Faced with so many variables, colleges are wait-listing more students to fine-tune the numbers and makeup of their incoming freshman class. Lengthening the waiting list creates a crucial buffer of students in a year of deep uncertainty about how many will eventually show up, college officials say. - Boston Globe