Waiting lists should really be called “application lists,” because they do tell us who is actually waiting and would take a spot if offered. Families may have their names on several lists at the same time, and may leave their name on a waiting list even once they are enrolled elsewhere. In addition, you may be waiting only for a full time space, and someone who applied after you and wants a part-time spot may be offered a space first if that opens (or vice versa). Within each tier, the date of application is the determining factor. A center may tell you that it estimates a certain number of applications ahead of yours for a certain age group, but experience shows that this is not a great indicator of who gets a spot.