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Re: Navigating wait lists
I run admissions in our program. If you haven't heard from a school yet, you are on the waitlist (even if their admissions system doesn't explicitly say this).
It's fine to reach out to schools. I wouldn't wait until April 1st. Now is fine, or wait until mid-March.
I think prospective students overestimate the value in concealing their other offers. Most people apply to a range of schools, so telling me that you are admitted to a place that we (should) dominate doesn't signal anything negative. It just tells me that you got into another program and have to make a decision by April 15th. Are people worried that it might look bad if they aren't able to say that they are admitted to a peer program?
You should only say that you will accept an offer if you are sure about it. My advice is not to say that, even if you think it is true. Once admitted, you want to get to know the program a little bit and make sure it is a good fit for you. You may change your preferences. You don't lose anything by toning it down a little bit and saying that a program is an especially good fit for you would love to go there.