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Waitlist or Wait Pool: What's the difference?

Updated: Oct 28, 2022

So you submitted an application which generated an assessment. Your child attended and you now have the result, and it's not what you were hoping for. Your child is in the waitpool or the waitlist.

The good news: Your child most likely met the minimum entry requirements. This means that your child passed the assessment. Others were declined, so you are in a better position than them.

The bad news: Your child may be waiting for a place for months, or even years. You will most likely need to reapply the following year if you are still interested to generate a place. Your child may never be offered a spot.

Years ago, most schools talked about waitlists whereas nowadays, waitpools are more common. The term 'waitpool' is preferred since the term “waitlist” suggests a numerical order with this process - meaning, if a child is first on the waitlist, they will be the first to be offered a spot when it opens. Or, if a child has been on the waitlist for a while, they are more likely to be offered a spot than a child who just applied and was added to the list.

This is rarely the case.

Almost all schools are selective. The selection criteria are, unfortunately, not transparent. Some schools are obviously more selective than others and some have clear priorities for certain applicants.

When considering a child in the waitpool, an Admissions Department needs to select based on their own criteria. They also need to balance the cohort - by gender, age within the year, ethnicity and nationality, etc

So, a wait pool is a more accurate term since it implies no predefined order when it comes to when and if a student in the pool will be offered a seat for the upcoming school year.

False hope?

The old phrase 'You may go up the waitlist as well as down' conceptually carries over to a waitpool in the sense that a child may be "swimming around" in the pool for a while. It is also possible that a child has "drowned" in the pool in the sense that they will not realistically ever be considered for a spot. The line between 'waitpooled' and 'declined' is definitely blurry.

If you would like expert guidance to evaluate your plan for your child's admission into a top school in Hong Kong, talk to us :

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