Last Updated: July 22, 2013
by Andrea Cerny
Here’s this situation: You already heard that you got into your safety school. You go out to your mailbox to see if your dream school has contacted you yet. You see a letter, not a package. Your heart sinks. Rejection is on your mind. You open the letter. Your eyes dart to find the important words. “Unfortunately…” Your hearts sinks even more. Then you see that one word: waitlist.
You’ve been added to the waitlist. Now what?
The good news is that you are not rejected. Unfortunately for you, the reason why, is that they have a high rate of accepted students attending. You’ll probably need to put a deposit down on another school and accept a spot and wait. It’s a waiting game. But there are a few things (not including your parents donating a library to the school) you can do to try to maximize your chances of getting in:
Talk to the school about your chances
Contact the admissions department and ask what percentage of students get off the waitlist. This will give you some way to handicap your odds of getting in off the waitlist.
Ask about ways to get off the waitlist
Talk to the admissions office and ask them what the criteria are to get off the waitlist. Maybe your grades were fine but your extracurricular activities were not great. Is there a way you can highlight some aspects about yourself that did not come through in the application or interview?
Send a letter (BUT DON’T BE OVER THE TOP)
Send the school a one-page letter, highlighting your achievements since you applied. Maybe you kept your grades up (while most of your peers were slacking off) or were the lead in a school play. Make it clear why (with specific) reasons and how much you want to attend their university. But whatever you do, don’t sound desperate or do anything over the top.
Enlist Your College Counselor
College/Guidance counselors often have personal relationships with admissions officers developed from communicating with them over years and years. Talk to your counselor about what they think you should do to try to get off the waitlist. Maybe they know someone in the admissions office and serve as an advocate for you.
Overall, the odds of getting off waitlists are not great, but there are a few things you can do to maximize your chances. Remember, do not do anything desperate or over the top. Simply highlight yourself to the school in a tasteful and respectful manner and hope for the best.
Need something to do while you’re waiting to hear about the waitlist? Find your scholarship matches!
Original Post Date: April 21st, 2012