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The Transfer Waitlist Process:

Frequently Asked Questions

 Should I call the admissions office with my questions?

Before you call, read through this information sheet. In April, we receive hundreds of calls a day. You may find the answer to your question below. If not, you may want to contact your regional counselor or call our office.

 What is a waitlist offer? Am I on the waitlist or not?

The admissions office has extended you a waitlist offer. We are giving you the option to choose to be on the waitlist, or to decline our offer and have your application canceled. Please respond to your waitlist offer through the Applicant Center in MyMadison. If you indicate your interest to our office by the deadline in MyMadison, and submit an official transcript with spring grades, you will be included on the waitlist. If you do not indicate an interest, your application will be canceled. 

 How does the waitlist work?

This fall we can enroll a transfer class of 700. Because students apply to multiple colleges, we must offer admission to more than 700 students if we want to meet our enrollment goal. We hope to enroll at least 90% to 95% of our transfer class with our initial offers of admission. Because the students, and not JMU, have the final word in whether they enroll, we cannot know exactly how many deposits we will receive until their early May deadline passes. In late May, we begin to contact students who have indicated their interest and have sent their final spring transcript. The majority of our waitlist offers are made at this time. However, cancellations can take place throughout the summer and we continue to go to our waitlist to fill these cancellations. We know that we will not extend any admissions offers to waitlisted applicants after July 1.

 Why am I on the waitlist?

This year approximately 2,600 students applied for transfer admission to James Madison University. Over half of our applicants were either denied admission or offered waitlist status. We consider a variety of factors when making admissions decisions. Most transfer students admitted to JMU have:

  • Completed at least one college level course in the four major areas (major areas include: English, Math, Science, and History/Social Science)
  • Solid grades, B's and A's with very few C's and probably no D's
  • Associate degree completers and those with 48 + credits are given priority in the transfer admission process
  • A wide range of personal qualities (extracurricular activities, work experience, life experience, special talents, and/or community service).

Many of our students on the waitlist also have these credentials. The JMU Admissions Committee takes a holistic approach when it reviews applications. This year the committee determined that 85% of the applicant pool would do well in college; unfortunately, the committee could only extend offers to about half of the applicants. Applicants offered a position on the waitlist have strong credentials that placed them among the best who were not offered admission.

 What can I do to get off the waitlist?

The most important thing to do is indicate your interest in being on the waitlist. You will only need to do so by accepting your offer to be on the waitlist (through the Applicant Center in MyMadison) and sending in your final transcript showing your final Spring semester grades. After that, we will make our decisions based on your academic record and choose students who best fill the remaining spaces. 

You do not need to submit:

  • Additional recommendations
  • Additional essays
  • Personal interviews (we do not offer interviews)
  • Change your preference for major (we do not make admission decisions based on requested major)

 Why did I get placed on the waitlist when students with a lower GPA than me were admitted?

Sometimes we hear this comment from students, but we cannot share applicant information with other applicants. We can simply assure you that the Admissions Committee looks at several factors and carefully weighs each applicant. You cannot simply compare your GPA and assume that one student is stronger than another.

 I have a friend who was admitted and I know she/he is not going to attend JMU. She/he has offered me her/his place in the class. Can you take me off the waitlist?

Unfortunately, the process does not work in that manner. When we make our offers of admission, we anticipate people like your friend. We must wait until the May deadline to see how many other people, like your friend, decide to decline our offer. We then go to the waitlist and consider everyone on the list at that time.

 I have to deposit at another school by May 15; can you give me a decision before that time?

We cannot make decisions before your deadline. We will not have the information we need to make any waitlist offers until the end of May. We recommend that you carefully consider other offers you may have received. If you do not make any deposits by the deadline, you may end up with no college options for the fall. You may want to contact each individual college and ask about their refund policy for deposits. Most universities do not offer a refund on deposits. Do not send a deposit to JMU if you are on the waitlist. We cannot accept a deposit until you have been offered an official acceptance to the university.

 How will I be disadvantaged if I am selected off the waitlist? What will I have missed out on?

You will be treated like the rest of our transfer class once you are admitted to JMU. Orientation dates for new transfers take place in early June (including registration). You will have access to the same classes as all other transfers although you may end up registering after other transfers should you be admitted from the waitlist after these Orientation dates. On Campus Housing is limited for transfer students. The Off Campus Life Office can help you arrange Off Campus housing accommodations. Your eligibility for financial aid will not change. However, you may want to contact that office as soon as you are admitted to see how the timing of an award may be affected. Payment of fall bills will be due around mid-August.

 I have a question you did not cover.

Please call us at (540) 568-5681, or e-mail us at

We do realize that this is a difficult process and being on the waitlist prolongs the anxiety.

We will do all we can to finalize our waitlist decisions in a timely manner.

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