EDITORIAL: Why waitlist so many?

Editorial Board

The numbers and figures are in for the class of 2011, and they are record-breaking yet again. An application increase of 6.4 percent and a record-low acceptance rate of 39 percent are at the forefront of the admissions statistics. However, among all these numbers is one that is most staggering: 4,000.The Office of Undergraduate Admissions reported that around 4,000 applicants were offered a spot on the waitlist in addition to approximately 5,400 acceptances this year. Based on historical matriculation rates, UA estimates that the current number of acceptances should form an estimated class of 1,595 in the fall. Based on these numbers, offering an additional 4,000 high school seniors a spot on the waitlist is not only unnecessary, but it is also unfair to the applicants and detrimental to the University’s reputation. Also, with a projected number of 2,000 waitlists electing to stay on, it begs the question of why so many are kept on the waitlist.It may be more pleasant for a high school senior to walk to his or her mailbox and pick up a waitlist letter instead of a letter of rejection, and admissions officials have clearly stated that they do not want to completely nullify the achievements of high school seniors by outright denying admission. But, officials have also said their goal is to use the waitlist modestly. The placement of such a large number of applicants on the waitlist gives those waitlisted a false sense of hope. Though a letter indicates that their chances of admission are not high, it still instills in the applicant a sense of optimism for something that probably will not happen.However, the repercussions are even more hurtful to the Villanova’s future reputation and its aim to be a school of higher academic prestige. Compared to commensurable universities, the University’s sizable waitlist does not reflect positively. University of Notre Dame indicated that out of its 14,496 applicants, the school only offered approximately 980 applicants a spot on the waitlist. Georgetown University boasts similar numbers, offering approximately 1,000 spots on the waitlist to an applicant pool of about 15,000. If seemingly anyone can apply to Villanova and get waitlisted, it reduces the power of saying, “I got waitlisted,” to a school that is gaining more academic acclaim. As the quality of applicants improves and the number of applications continues to soar, admissions officials must do the math and realize that with these increases, the percentage of acceptances and waitlists must decrease. Officials must realize that doing so will only help high school seniors get through the college admissions process more efficiently and effectively, but more importantly, it will help Villanova’s rise to prominence among the nation’s colleges.