Admission Decisions Category #1: The Waitlist

The hot topic on email, the phone, and information sessions is, “When will decisions start to be released?”  The Admissions Committee is still feverishly reviewing applications and as stated in previous blog posts, hopes to start releasing decisions in early March.  I understand that “early” is not an exact term, and it matches the fact that I do not know the exact date yet.  I can tell you that this blog will be the first place where you can find out when decisions start to be released.

As a reminder, we do not release all decisions at once. The majority of our decisions will be made soon but a decent percentage of applications take additional time to review.  Once we start to release decisions we do move to what you could call “rolling release.”  In other words, after the first large batch of decisions goes out we will start to release the decisions as they are made.

The one question I cannot answer from an individual applicant is, “When will MY decision be released?”  The Committee has a system set up and that system does not accommodate individual requests for a decision.  I understand it is difficult to wait, but you will have to be patient and understand that we work as quickly and accurately as we are able.

I thought I would take a few entries to describe the basic categories of decisions.  The categories are not complex and you could probably guess them, however providing an overview might help with digesting your letter when you view it.  Let me start with the waitlist category.  Do note that we do not release decisions in a specific order, the categories can be mixed.

Admission to SIPA is competitive.  Sometimes the Committee must make tough decisions between applicants that might have similar backgrounds, qualifications, and potential.  While the Committee might agree that a candidate is certainly qualified for the program, the strong number of candidates and limited number of seats means that we cannot make an offer to everyone we feel is admissible.   Therefore, we will place a limited number of qualified candidates on the waitlist.

Just like waiting for a decision requires patience, waiting for waitlist updates requires patience.  We will give admitted candidates until May 2nd to pay their deposit, and we likely will not have a strong feel for the number of accepted offers until after May 2nd passes.  The Admissions Committee does meet frequently to gauge the response to our offers and I will send out email updates to those on the waitlist after each meeting.

There is no specific waitlist window so to speak, we have made offers to candidates on the waitlist as early as late April and as late as early August.  Circumstances in life can change and if candidates that have accepted an offer and pay a deposit inform us that they will not be able to come, it might open up a seat to someone on the waitlist.  We cannot predict if or when this might happen.

If you are placed on the waitlist you will be given the opportunity to tell us whether you wish to remain on the waitlist.  Instructions will be provided in the waitlist letter.  I can say that candidates admitted from the waitlist will not be offered any scholarship funding from SIPA in the first year.  More information on funding will be provided in a future entry on the admit category.

One final note about that waitlist is that we do not have a strict rank order.  The size of the waitlist changes over time as candidates notify us that they no longer wish to be considered.  When it comes time to consider candidates from the waitlist, files are read once again.  Although a “full read” might not be necessary, Committee members will review reader comment sheets and reference particular parts of the file that were highlighted in the comments.  As the reading is done we get a feel for the overall landscape of those on the waitlist and make decisions as appropriate.

I am working on two more entries on admission categories that will be posted soon so stay tuned.