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ERIC Number: ED555919
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 128
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3035-2955-9
The Wait-List Game: A Snapshot of Those Left in Limbo
Chamberland, Meredith Scotti
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Boston University
Undergraduate admissions in the United States is a multibillion dollar industry involving families, higher education institutions, journalists, testing companies, test preparation companies, private consultants, marketing firms, high school guidance counselors, high school teachers, coaches, financial advisors, and publicly funded programs. Pushing all of the citizens of the United States towards postsecondary education has been a goal of many presidents. In an effort to achieve this goal, colleges and universities utilize wait lists so that no seat goes unfilled. Five high school guidance counselors, ten students and one of their parents, and ten college and university admissions personnel participated in this study. The students and parents all come from one private high school in the northeast. Guidance counselors from one public and one private high school participated. The interviews with ten admissions personnel include four-year public and private colleges and universities in the United States. Qualitative methods consisted of audio-recorded interviews, which were later transcribed and coded. Data were analyzed for common themes and were found among each of the population groups. There are four noteworthy findings. Students want wait lists to exist because they provide an opportunity for acceptance that would otherwise not exist. Parents want wait lists to exist, but they want policy reform that requires colleges and universities to be consistent in their communication. High school counselors call for more transparency and information regarding how college and university admissions offices create wait lists and how students are chosen for enrollment from the wait lists. Lastly, college admissions representatives primarily use wait lists to meet enrollment targets, but may also use wait lists to keep acceptance percentages lower, increase yield percentages, and admit only viable financial candidates. These findings suggest that the NACAC "Statement of Principles of Good Practice" needs revision to include more guidelines about communication with wait-listed students and their families, a need for Masters Programs that lead to certification as a high school counselor to include a course on college admissions counseling, a need for the "US News and World Report" to eliminate acceptance percentages as an evaluative measure of quality in its college rankings. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A