SMU's Waitlist | FAQs

I am on the Waitlist – what do I do now?
Please complete and submit the Waitlist Response Form at as soon as possible. Indicate your intent to either remain on the Waitlist or withdraw your application. If we have any openings in the entering first-year class, only those students who submit the Waitlist Response Form and indicate their continued interest in SMU will be reviewed by the Admission Committee.

Why am I on the Waitlist?
The SMU Admission Committee takes a holistic approach when it reviews applications. We consider a variety of factors when making admission decisions – including rigor of course selection, grades earned in academic classes, trend in grades, results of standardized testing (SAT/ACT), letters of recommendation, essay, and a wide range of personal qualities (extracurricular activities, work experience, life experience, special talents, community service, and so on). The applicant pool was especially strong this year. With over 15,000 applications, the Admission Committee could not extend offers of admission to all qualified students. Therefore, some students were placed on the Waitlist.

Why did I get placed on the Waitlist when students with lower grades and/or test scores than me were admitted?
Sometimes we hear this comment from students. We can only assure you that the Admission Committee looks at many factors and carefully evaluates each applicant. You cannot compare one or two factors like GPA and/or test scores and assume that one student is better qualified than another.

How does the Waitlist work?
This year our goal is to enroll a first-year class of 1,500 students. Students, and not SMU, have the final decision of where they enroll. We cannot know exactly how many enrollment deposits we will receive by the May 1 deadline. Once we decide if we will go to the Waitlist, the Admission Committee will only re-evaluate those students who have indicated their continued interest in SMU – i.e. students that who have submitted their Waitlist Response Form. 

What are my chances of being admitted from the Waitlist?
The number of students admitted from the Waitlist varies from year to year depending on a variety of factors. Unfortunately we cannot know until early May if the Waitlist will be used. At this time, we have no indication or prediction of the number of students who will submit their Waitlist Response Form or how many students will be offered a place in the entering class by the Admission Committee.

Is the Waitlist ranked?
No, the Waitlist is not ranked.

What can I do to enhance my application – i.e. improve my chances of getting admitted?
Be sure to notify SMU of your continued interest by following the steps outlined in your decision letter. Also, you are welcome to notify us of significant updates that have occurred since you submitted your application – such as new test scores, fall grades, awards, and other achievements. To do so, please email your SMU Admission Counselor, or in the case of test scores and grades, please have your counselor email these official reports to your SMU Admission Counselor directly. Please note that any information you submit must be new information not already included in your application and should be significant.

I have a friend who was admitted and I know they are not going to attend SMU. They have offered me their place in the class. Can I have their spot? Can you take me off the Waitlist?
Unfortunately, the process does not work this way. When we make our offers of admission, we must anticipate students like your friend who may not be coming to SMU in the Fall. We must wait until the May 1 deadline to see how many other students, like your friend, decide to decline our offer. If we decide to go to the Waitlist, we will re-evaluate the applications of those students who have submitted the Waitlist Response Form and move forward accordingly.

Should I accept admission at another school? What if I have to submit an enrollment deposit?
Yes, you should accept admission to another institution by May 1, as there is no guarantee as to the number of students on the Waitlist that will be offered admission. If an enrollment deposit is required of you at the other institution, you will need to send it. If we offer you admission and you choose to attend SMU, you may lose the enrollment deposit at the other institution. Please check with them regarding their refund policy.

How will I be disadvantaged if I am selected off the Waitlist? What will I have missed?
You will not be disadvantaged at all. Once you are admitted, you will be treated like all other students in our first-year class. Orientation sessions for first-year students occur virtually. Housing is available for all first-year students and housing assignments are not finalized until late summer. Your eligibility for financial aid will not change. However, you may want to contact your financial aid counselor in the Financial Aid Office as soon as you are admitted to see how the timing of an award, if any, may be affected.

Should I consider going elsewhere and transferring to SMU?
You must carefully weigh that choice for yourself. If you decide transferring is the best option for you, we suggest you attend an accredited community college or four-year institution, and take a strong liberal arts program. Information about our transfer admission process can be found here.