Shocking Waitlist News

This is Waitlist Week on my blog, so I must extend a big thank you to the four readers who sent me the link to this piece from the Wall Street Journal – "Elite Colleges Reach Deeper into Wait Lists":

This article reiterates the "heightened waitlist activity" theory discussed yesterday, and I must confess that at first it did not seem blog-worthy.  But after reading just a few sentences, I uncovered a truly surprising development: I've been spelling "wait list" incorrectly for the entire history of this blog. 

Here is the final paragraph of the article:

To be sure, not all schools are seeing increases in their numbers of wait-list offers. Stanford University, for instance has taken zero students from the wait list so far this year, the same as last year. "We are keeping a small number on the wait list just to respond to other wait list activity around the nation," says Rick Shaw, dean of undergraduate admission and financial aid.

As you can see, wait list as a noun is written as two words.  (I had suspected this whenever I spell checked, but assumed that typepad was not on the cutting edge of college vernacular.)  And wait-list as an adjective is hyphenated.  So what is the deal in the last sentence, where wait list is missing a hyphen before the word activity?  Even a high school junior could tell you that it's an adjective there. 
Did the WSJ spell "waitlist" incorrectly just to distract readers from the Stanford dean's weird logic – that they're maintaining a waitlist just to keep up with the activity back east?  Do they really think that students who have sent in their money to Stanford would give it up to spend four frigid long winters at a university that kept them hanging?  I don't think so. 
I guess I should write an email to the Journal to find out the answer to the wait list/wait-list mystery.  But I am afraid that they will think I'm one of those people who has too much time on her hands – I can imagine the editors laughing about my query: "That crazy neurotic parent – She should be reading about our hedge fund picks instead of worrying about missing hyphens".
So if you are a copy editor, I am waiting to hear from you.  And, until I have definitive information, I will continue to spell "waitlist" as one anxiety-provoking hyphenless word. 



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