College Waiting Lists Bigger Than Ever Uncertain economy has schools, students hedging bets By Jane Yager, Newser Staff Posted Apr 14, 2010 8:56 AM CDT 8 comments Comments The campus of Duke University. (?Ivy Dawned) (Newser) – The odds aren't looking good for the 3,382 high school seniors currently wait-listed by Duke—the college thinks it will probably end up taking only about 60 of them. Duke is far from the only college to dump record numbers of applicants into admissions purgatory this year, as economic uncertainty has both colleges and applicants hedging their bets, the New York Times reports. Students are applying to more colleges than usual—15 in some cases—which pushes up applicant numbers (27,000 in Duke's case) and leaves colleges uncertain about how many of their accepted students will attend, hence the cushion of a big waiting list. And most waiting lists aren't actually ranked lists, but rather pools from which admissions officers will take whatever kinds of students their incoming class turns out to be short on, be it bassoon players or English majors—meaning there's nothing much wait-listed students can do to improve their chances.