bigjinjapan wrote:From what I've read and heard, it varies dramatically by school and by year and doesn't follow any sort of predictable pattern. I think, though, that it's a mistake to think of it as a 'soft ding.' If they were sure they didn't want you they'd put you in the reject pile.
This is true. I spoke face-to-face with a woman in charge of admissions at Temple University. She told me that Temple has a set number of seats that they wish to fill. Obviously, Temple anticipates some of their admits will decline, so they admit more students than this number represents. Thus, for people like me on the waiting list, it really depends how many people opt out of their admission. I believe Temple University's magic number was 300; the WL at Temple will only be considered once there is <300 admitted applicants. Subsequently, admits off of the waitlist often do not occur until after deposit deadlines.
Last YR, Temple ended their admissions cycle with about 20 more students than they wished to have in their entering class (they had somewhere around 320 students), so Temple didn't take anyone off of the waitlist. She indicated that in the year prior, they had <300 after accepted students opted out, thus accepting several students off of the waitlist.
Most people know this about the waitlist, but I thought I'd provide direct evidence that I received for those uncertain with how the waitlist works. It's a numbers game.