Wait List FAQs

Each year a small number of students are accepted from our Wait List, and we anticipate this year will be no different. We know that you and your parents have a lot of questions, so we’ve created this blog as a way to offer information and advice. If you have additional questions, the fastest way to get answers is to post a comment below and we’ll do all we can to provide answers in a timely manner. Unfortunately, due to heavy volume, we are unable to answer your questions concerning the wait list by phone.

We’ll continue to update this blog throughout the spring and early summer, as more information becomes available.

Why do you have a wait list (and why am I on it)?

Over the past several years, the number of applications received has steadily increased, while the number of spaces available has remained more or less constant. This year’s selection has been especially competitive, and we are unable to offer all applicants admission at this time.

While we do our best statistical analysis to predict the right number of students to admit in order to reach our enrollment target, we never really know how many students will enroll until the May 1st deadline passes. In addition, we know that some students who paid their deposits will, for various reasons, choose to forfeit their spot in our class during the summer.

What should I do if Stony Brook is my first choice college?

  1. You must reserve your spot on the wait list by May 1, 2020. If you do not take this action, we will withdraw your application after May 1. To do so, please log into your SBU Applicant Portal and fill out the brief Wait List Response form.
  1. Confirm your enrollment at a college/university that accepted you.

There’s nothing else that you need to do.

Do you rank the wait list?


Then how do you make decisions about admission from the wait list?

After the May 1 enrollment deadline, we begin to assess how much space, if any, is available. As positions in the class open up, we will re-review the entire wait list pool, and determine who is most qualified to admit. If we’re able to offer you admission, we’ll send you an e-mail and a letter offering you admission, and new student information will appear in your SBU Applicant Portal.

Because we will be communicating updates via e-mail, it’s important for you to (1) log into SOLAR and make sure your e-mail address is correct, and (2) make sure our e-mails are not automatically going to your junk mail folder.

How can I increase my chances of being admitted off the wait list?

There is nothing more you can add to your application or do to increase your chances of being admitted for the fall at this time. We encourage you to choose another college for the fall, and we will contact you if your application status changes.

Would it help if I changed my intended major?

No. We will only review requests for major changes after a student has been accepted off of the wait list.

Am I required to send any additional documents?

No. Decisions will be based on your credentials already received. You should not send anything else.

Should I schedule an interview?

No. Wait list applicants are not interviewed; interviews are not a factor in our wait list admissions process. Decisions will be based on your academic credentials already received.

How many students are on the wait list and what are the statistics from past years?

Each year is different.

Term Wait List Admitted Admit %
Fall 2019 1492 151 10.12%
Fall 2018 1796 80 4.45%
Fall 2017 1697 68 4.01%
Fall 2016 1680 110 6.55%
Fall 2015 1437 315 21.92%
Fall 2014 1421 623 43.84%
Fall 2013 920 187 20.33%

Because there are so many variables, we can’t say for sure how this year’s wait list will play out. We will update you with numbers for this year later in the spring (once we know how many students have accepted our offer).

How soon will I hear about my status?

It’s our goal to notify most wait listed students of their standing in June; we cannot provide a more specific date at this time.

How will financial aid work if I’m accepted?

If you’re accepted, our Financial Aid Office will immediately begin putting together your package. Need-based aid is determined based on your expected family contribution (from FAFSA data), so be sure that you’ve already reported your FAFSA to expedite the release of your package (our code is 002838).

How will housing work if I’m accepted?

We’ll do all we can to help you reserve on-campus housing, but availability may be limited depending on the date you’re accepted.

What happens if I’m not accepted off the wait list?

Students who are not accepted off our wait list and still wish to attend SB are advised to enroll at a regionally accredited college or university for a period of at least one year, earning a minimum of 24 credits with a 3.0 GPA or higher. You would then re-apply to SB as a transfer student.

We highly recommend that wait listed students do not re-apply for the spring 2021 semester because they’ll generally fall short of the above criteria for transfer students (and most first year students may not receive their first semester collegiate grades until after we have filled our spring class).

Are there Joint Admissions Programs?

Yes, we offer Joint Admissions Programs with two local community colleges, Nassau Community College and Suffolk County Community College. They both provide students with an attractive and convenient alternative path to earning a degree from Stony Brook University. More information about these programs is available on this website.

What do I do about the May 1 deadline at other universities?

We understand that you’re looking enrollment deadlines at other schools square in the eye. Because we will not be able to offer admission to most wait listed students, our best advice is to reserve a space elsewhere.

We recommend that you consider all of your options carefully, and we will do our very best to notify you of your final admissions decision as soon as we are able.

What should I do now?

Wait lists are uncertain, and we encourage you to find the college that is the best fit for you from those that offered you admission. If you are interested in attending Stony Brook, make sure you have accepted your spot on the wait list in your SBU Applicant Portal.

We appreciate your patience.

4 thoughts on “Wait List FAQs

    1. Stefan.Hyman@stonybrook.edu Post author

      Hi Tiffany, you can send us an e-mail (enroll@stonybrook.edu), but it’s not required.

  1. Gail

    When will l I know if I’m able to dorm on campus being that space may be limited if I get off the waitlist?

    1. Stefan.Hyman@stonybrook.edu Post author

      Housing is expected to be available for first-year students, so long as we do not need to reduce capacity due to social distancing requirements.


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