Despite those claiming that waitlists are "rejection letters in disguise," your chances of getting off a college's waitlist may be better than you think. While colleges often offer what may seem like an enormous number of spots on their waitlists, many students who are offered these spots decline to accept them.
For example, according to the 2013-2014 Common Data Set (CDS), last year Tulane University offered 2,774 students a spot on the waitlist. Only 705 initially accepted a spot on the waitlist, and 327 were ultimately accepted. A college's active waiting list can be much shorter than it seems, and with every week that goes by even those who initially accepted a waitlist spot decide to enroll in other schools. By the time you get to mid-May, a school that initially offered waitlist spots to 1,000 students may be down to closer to 100 students actively vying for spots. If you are one of them -- tell the college it is your dream school, tell them why, and tell them you'll enroll if you are admitted (if this is true). You may be surprised at the result!