Waitlist Information

Stanford Waitlist FAQs

When should I place my name on the waitlist?

You should apply to the waitlists as soon as you know you will need child care. For some families this will be as soon as they learn they are expecting. For other families this will be when they are applying to Stanford. The earlier you are on the lists before you need a space, the better chance you have to be offered a space close to your desired start date. You will need to submit proof of affiliation at the time of enrollment.

How long are the waitlists? What are the wait times based on?

Wait list times vary considerably with the age of your child. Typically, the infant/toddler waiting list is significantly longer than the lists for older children, because there are fewer spaces, lower ratios, and a greater need in the community. The waiting time will vary based on which age group your child is in, how many children are exiting the program in that age group and your desired schedule. The more flexible you are with your schedule, the more likely it is that you will be offered a space!

The Stanford West and Stanford Madera Grove Centers have priority for different populations. Families that do not have priority can expect longer waiting times.

Typical wait times for infants and toddlers may be 12‐18 months. Wait times for two and three year olds may range from 6 to 18 months, and our pre‐K programs may fit in children in less than 6 months to 12 months. (These timeframes reflect average wait times; getting on one or all the lists is not a guarantee that you will be offered a space in the time frame you desire.)

For all the centers, when an opening occurs, we first look to see if a child in the preceding class is developmentally ready to move up.

How are my applications effected if I am no longer affiliated with Stanford?

If neither parent is affiliated with Stanford, your family is no longer eligible for care at CCSC, Arboretum, or Madera Grove centers. Your application would be removed from those lists. If your family is on the Stanford West list, your application will be marked as “Community” or last priority.

How does my Stanford Affiliation and priority level affect my waiting time? (Stanford West and Madera Grove ONLY)

For Stanford West and Stanford Madera Grove your affiliation will assign you a specific priority on the waitlist. For Stanford West, priority is given to families who live in the Stanford West apartments, followed by Stanford Affiliates, and then Community Families (families not affiliated with Stanford.) At Madera Grove priority is given to Faculty, followed by Students and Post Docs and then Staff. If both parents are affiliated, your priority level is based on the parent with the higher level affiliation for that particular center. If one parent is no longer affiliated with Stanford your priority can change based on the affiliation of the other parent. This may move you up or down positions on the list depending on your change.

If no one in your family is affiliated with Stanford, you are no longer eligible for care at CCSC, Arboretum, or Madera Grove centers. Your application would be removed from those lists. If your family is on the Stanford West list, your application will be marked as “Community” or last priority.

How many lists should I get on?

It is always better to get on more than one list, especially if you do not have many alternatives for care. This will only increase your chance of being offered a space in one of the centers. If you accept a space in a center that was not your first choice, you can stay on the waitlist for your preferred center until a space opens for you there. Getting on one or all the lists is not a guarantee that you will be offered a space in the time frame you desire.

Can I transfer from one center to another?

Each center is managed and functions separately. If you enroll in one center and are then offered a space at another location, there is no way to “transfer” your enrollment. If you would like to accept the space at the second center you must follow the withdrawal policies at the first center. All fees are still applicable at the new center, even if you just paid them to the first center. Tuition payments, fees and deposits are nonrefundable and nontransferable. You also do not have priority for another center just because you are a current family in one of the centers.

What happens to my status on the lists if I accept a space at another center? Can I stay on the other lists?

The lists are managed separately and function separately. Accepting a space at one center does not affect your status on the other lists unless you ask for a change. You stay active on any other lists until you asked to be removed or don’t respond to an email (asking for an update or offering a space). You can take the space offered and wait for your first choice center to offer the space you want. You will still be responsible for the required exit notice at your current center and paying enrollment fees (even if you just paid them at one center) for the new space. Fees and deposit are nontransferable and nonrefundable.

I am on the waitlist for the Stanford West Apartments. If I don’t get an apartment what happens to my priority?

If you are unable to rent an apartment in the Stanford West Apartment community, your priority for CCLC @ Stanford West will change to either Stanford Affiliate or Community Member. You will also be asked to show proof of living in Stanford West upon enrollment.

I didn’t respond to a space offer or request for updated information. What happens to my application?

If you do not respond to a space offer or request for updated information, your application is placed inactive on the waitlists. An inactive status on the lists means you will not be contacted regarding available spaces. To reactivate your status, simply contact the Enrollment Coordinators. Your application will be updated with the original application date. Please note‐ an inactive status may lengthen your waiting time on the lists based on where your updated information and child care needs now position you on the lists.

How is it possible another family who applied after me was offered a space before me?

There are many variables that go into offering a space. Infants and toddlers tend to have longer lists and higher waiting times as well as fewer spaces. At certain times of the year our centers can experience little to no waitlist for older children. Older age groups also have more spaces. Below are some additional reasons someone may have been offered a space before you:

  • Your desired start date may be for a date in the future, while someone who applied after you was looking for care at an earlier date.
  • The other family has a higher priority level than you. Families are placed on the list by priority level, where applicable, and then application date. A family who applies after you but has a higher priority will be placed ahead of you on the list. (Stanford West and Stanford Madera Grove ONLY.)
  • The space being offered was a part time space and you are looking for a full-time space, or vice versa.
  • Your application was not up to date. We do recommend keeping your application as up to date as possible. This will eliminate you passing on a space that is not the right fit, or missing a possible space offering. To ensure your application is up to date please email the Enrollment Coordinators. You can verify the information you have as well as provide updates in your child care needs.

Why won’t they tell me what number I am on the lists?

Unfortunately being given a number would not work with such a complex system. Spaces are offered based on several factors such as age of the child, schedule, and desired start date. Our oldest application on file might be for a 3 year old looking for full-time care. They may have applied to the waitlist 18 months ago, however the space available is for an infant, it wouldn’t be a match. The Enrollment Coordinators will first look at the age of the child to begin the search. The application that was received first in this age group will be examined to determine if the schedules are a match and if the family’s desired start date is near the start of the open space.

What happens if a child is away from the center for an extended amount of time?

If a family is away from the center for an extended amount of time and would like to return to their space when they come back to the center, they are required to pay full tuition on the space to hold it. If that is not an option for the family they may submit their required notice of withdrawal and go back on the waitlist for a possible space in the future. Spaces will not be held for families and all available spaces will be offered out in a timely manner.

I have been offered a space! What exactly does this mean and what do I do now?

You have been offered a space! You must be at the top of the list!

Not necessarily. You are being offered this space because you were next in line for this particular space. It matched your child’s age and was a close match for your desired start date and schedule.

The families with children in the same age range ahead of you on the waitlist either (1) were offered this space and passed; (2) are not looking for a space that matches the current opening or (3) the desired start date for this space does not match their needs.

So what happens now?

You have a few choices: (1) accept the space and start care; (2) decline the space and wait for a possible future space with a new desired start date; (3) decline the space and remove yourself from the list. Each family has 48 hours to make a decision when they are offered a space.

When you accept the space you may also choose to stay active on the other lists if this space and/or center is not your first preference. When your name comes up on the other list, you may give your required exit notice and make plans to move to the new center. If this space and center was your first choice center, please make sure to remove your name from the other lists. This helps keep the lists the accurate and it also ensures that the centers are not offering spaces to families that are no longer interested.

When you decide to decline the space, but would like to be considered for a space in the future, there are some important things you need to know and consider. First, you were offered this space because you were next in line for this space. This does not mean you are at the top of the list or even in the first top ten. What it means is the families in your child’s age group in front of you either passed on this space or their desired start date and/or schedule preferences does not fit this particular space. And now you are passing on the space too and have chosen a new, future desired start date.

Declining a space does not move you to the bottom of the list. Your position on the list is always based on your application date (and priority level where applicable), and you go back into the list based on the application date. However, any time you decline a space, you take the chance that you may not be offered another space by your desired start date. Declining a space can even push your waiting time out another year or longer (again, based on your new, updated preferences), regardless of how long you have already been waiting on the list.

Well, I was offered this space so being offered a space again in (three) months will be no problem!

Unfortunately this is a wrong assumption. In three months, it will be three months later and now all those families in front of you also want a space. Any spaces that come available must be offered to them before they can be offered to you. If the families in front of you accept the available space(s), you will need to continue to wait for another space.

While waiting for a space your child is growing and their application may be moved to another age group⁠—infant to toddler or older toddler to preschooler⁠— and this may affect your wait time. If you move your desired start date to a date in the future, it may affect the placement for your child as well. Your application will always be in order of priority level where applicable, and then by application date. The earlier you apply, the better your chances of being offered a space when you want or need one.

I have a friend who said all I have to do is call the center often and I will get placed in the center sooner.

Well-meaning friends, co-workers, current families, etc. sometimes inadvertently provide misinformation about the lists and/or the process. Please make sure to direct your questions and concerns to the Enrollment Coordinators for the most accurate information. Although complicated, there is a process followed by all the Stanford centers no matter how often you communicate with them. The intent is to be as fair as possible, adhering to priority policies, respecting family needs, and keeping the centers fully enrolled.

If you have any further questions regarding CCSC or the list, please contact Hope Flamenco at 650.721.0101 or e-mail hope@ccscparentcoop.org