COLLEGE
05/30/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Harvard Hopefuls Change Plans For A Place On The Z-List

With an acceptance rate of seven percent, Harvard disappoints many prospective students each April.

But a chosen handful of the rejected are given a second chance -- albeit a conditional one.

The Harvard Crimson reports:

Each year, Harvard offers admission to a select group of students -- known among admissions officers as the "Z-list" -- on the condition that they take a mandatory year off before enrolling in the College.

Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid William R. Fitzsimmons '67 says that of the 60 to 100 students in each class who take a gap year before coming to Harvard, roughly half do so voluntarily. The other half were Z-listed.

According to the Crimson, computer technicians in the admissions office came up with the term "Z-list," since the list's occupants are the last to gain entry to Harvard during the application cycle.

Fitzsimmons makes clear, however, that these students are not any less desired by Harvard.

"We are 100 percent sure that we want them here next year, not 99 percent," Fitzsimmons says of the Z-listed students. "We never quite know what next year's applicant pool is going to bring."

Many students told the Crimson that their Z-list experience was positive, giving them time to work and travel before starting college.

But the list is legendary for being a repository for Harvard legacies and wealthy applicants.

Fitzsimmons said that the Z-list was not a channel for legacy students to gain entry to Harvard, although they might be more inclined to accept a place on the list.

What do you think? Would you take a place on the Z-list?