Several years ago, I attended a College Board session with the catchy title, Who Shattered My Crystal Ball? The panelists were prominent high school counselors who shared their growing frustration over the increasingly competitive and unpredictable college admissions process. If that session were to be held today, it would have to be retitled: Who Shattered Our Crystal Ball, because the uncertainty has spread from the high school guidance counselor's office to the college admissions office. (See my posts below on the effects of the Tidal Wave of Applications and the effects of decisions by Harvard, Princeton, and UVA.) Colleges are awash with so many applications that they can't trust their predictive models. "With so many students applying to so many colleges today, it can be difficult to determine which schools students really want to attend."

What can you do about this if you're a senior or parent of a senior? Well, for starters, strap yourself in and mentally get ready for a bumpy -- and maybe long -- ride this spring. It's possible that the wait list season this year may be as significant as the early admissions or regular cycle.