Last Updated: July 22, 2013
We’ve been taking some quality time to break down your college admissions possibilities. Last time we talked about what to do if you get accepted, and today we’ll discuss the prospect of being wait- listed.
What exactly does it mean to be waitlisted? Most of the time, it means you have the academic credentials for admittance, but for one reason or another they weren’t ready to accept you. Maybe too many similar candidates applied or maybe admissions folks couldn’t tell if you were truly committed to enrolling at their school or just “window shopping”.
Whatever the reason may be that you get placed on the wait list, here’s a cold hard fact: Very few people actually move on from waiting. So, from the get-go, avoid banking on moving off the waiting list and into the accepted pile because unfortunately, the numbers are not in your favor. Wait-lists can be loooonnnngg and the probability of you being at the top of the list are slim.
If you’re waitlisted at a school that you weren’t really passionate about and you’ve been accepted to other schools, consider taking your name off of the list. If you’re on the fence or want to hold out for a better outcome, then keep your name on the waiting list and take these steps:
1. Find out what your chances probably are.
If you stay on the waiting list, get as much information as you can about where you stand. Contact the college’s admissions office to find out what kind of waiting list they have. Sometimes they have a priority list, other times it’s random. If it’s a ranked list, ask them where you’re placed on it to give you a realistic perception of your chances.
2. Let them know you want in.
It can’t hurt to let the college you’re waitlisted at know that you’re still passionate or at least interested in attending. Write the admission office a letter stressing other nonacademic factors that might sway their opinion, or any new achievements–academic or not–that you think they should know about you. Above all, make sure everything you’re telling them proves why you should be admitted to their specific school. Remind them that you really truly absolutely want to be a [insert college mascot here].
3. Request an interview.
If you haven’t had an interview with the college, now is the time for a Hail Mary. You have nothing to lose, only a chance to improve your admission chances with personal interaction. In an interview you can easily get across with your expression and thoughtful answers what is much tougher to clearly get across through a static application. If you’ve already had an interview, why not request another one to reinforce your interest in the school and let them know you’re serious. Remember, it would be silly of you to show up to an interview and not offer up much about yourself and why you want to go SPECIFICALLY to that school. Do some prep work. Practice makes…a possible chance to get off the waitlist?
4. College admissions is not a soap opera.
High school may be a big ole’ soap opera with gossip, fashion, and cliques of friends–or at least what I’ve been watching on TV–but college admissions does not need to be dramatic. You might just get waitlisted at the school you’ve had your heart set on since kindergarten, but worse things could happen. Seriously. It’s hard not to be emotionally invested in the decisions colleges make about you because it feels so personal. But try your darnedest to not let it. Even straight A students who are president of every club in their high school with 36’s on their ACT don’t always get their first choice. So take the waitlist as a compliment, because for one reason or another they weren’t ready to accept you, but they definitely weren’t ready to throw you out.
What’s your take on being wait-listed? Tell us your story in the comment section below.
Original Post Date: February 6th, 2012