Waitlist Information

When should I place my name on the waitlist?

You should apply to the waitlists as soon as you know you will need childcare. 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 Spartan Child Development Center. The earlier you are on the lists before you need a space, the better chance you have to be offered a space.

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

Waitlist 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!

Spartan Child Development Center has priority for different populations. Families that are not an affiliate of MSU can expect longer waiting times.

Our admission priority is as follows:

  • Children of current SCDC Professional Employees
  • Families with a child currently enrolled at SCDC
  • MSU faculty, staff, and students
  • General community members

*There are waitlists for all age groups and priority is given to families requesting full-time enrollment.

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. Our waitlist is fluid and changes frequently due to children aging into new classes. As we move applications up (which occurs month to month) this will change your placement on the waitlist.

I am a Faculty, Staff or Student at MSU, so I am at the top of the waitlist, right?

While we do provide preference to faculty, staff, and students of MSU, it is important to keep in mind that 90% of families on the waitlist fall under that category. Your application will always be by the age of the child, priority level, and date that the application was received.

What happens to my application if I am no longer affiliated with MSU?

If neither parent is affiliated with MSU, your application will be moved to the general community section or last priority section of the waitlist.

What schedule should I choose?

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. If you accept a space in a schedule that is not the best fit, once you are enrolled you can request a schedule change request to see if we have an opening with a better fit. Please note: it is more likely to move from a part-time position to a full-time position than the other way around.  Getting on one or all the lists is not a guarantee that you will be offered a space in the time frame you desire.

How are spaces offered?

We will first need to have an opening within our program.  To begin our search, we go to the waitlist that matches the age and schedule of available opening. The waitlist is organized by priority level and application date. We will then begin the process of offering the space to the appropriate application on the waitlist.

How is it possible that 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:

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.

The space being offered was a part-time space and you are looking for a full-time space, or vice versa. For example, 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 part-time care and the next application that is a match is only two months old.

Your application was not up to date. We do recommend keeping your application as up to date as possible. To ensure your application is up to date, email addresses are correct and date of birth has been added. Please email children@msu.edu with updates and information that will support your waitlist status.

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 the schedule that was available.

The families with children in the same age range ahead of you on the waitlist either (1) were offered this space and declined previously; (2) are not looking for a space that matches the current opening

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; (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.

If you decline the space but would like to remain on the waitlist, you must reply to our email so that we know you are interested. This helps keep the lists the accurate and it also ensures that we are not offering spaces to families that are no longer interested. If there is no answer after an offer, your application will be removed.

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 preference 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 or before your child has aged out of our program. 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 a few months will be no problem!

Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Enrollment for our program typically happens in the summer for the upcoming school year, once we are full for the school year, we very rarely have openings until the following school year. If we do happen to have an opening in a few months, we first need to offer the space to families who have not had the opportunity to enroll their child at SCDC yet. If we make it through all of those applications, we will then circle back around to previously offered families. It is very likely that someone who has not been offered a space yet or someone in front of you, that also declined previously, will want the space now. Any spaces that become available must be offered to them before they can be offered to you again. 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), this may affect your wait time (sometimes shorter, sometimes longer). Your application will always be in the order of priority level where applicable, and then by application date. The earlier you apply, the better your chances of being offered a space.

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. You are welcome to call and/or email, however; this will not change your position or available spaces within our program. Although complicated, there is a very thoughtful process followed by SCDC. The intent is to be as fair as possible, adhering to priority and waitlist policies, respecting family needs, and keeping the center fully enrolled. Once we are full for the school year, we very rarely have openings until the following school year.

If you have any further questions or concerns regarding the waitlist, please contact Liz Lauren, Executive Director at children@msu.edu.

*Please note that there are times of the year where we experience very high volumes of waitlist inquires, especially at the start of new semesters and enrollment periods, during these times it may take 2-3 weeks for a response.