Posts Tagged ‘college waitlist’
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!
We’ve had some questions recently about whether there is any difference between being waitlisted and being deferred.
The answer is yes, there is.
The difference between the wait list and a deferral is small, but still important to be aware of in case you ever wind up with a letter from admissions with one of those two answers. So here’s what sets the waiting list apart from the deferral pile:
If you are informed by a college that you’ve been placed on the waitlist, it means that you qualify for admission and that they like you, but that other applicants are more of a priority. It’s not the best news you can hear from the college you want to go to, but it means that there’s certainly a chance you might just wind up getting in. Here’s a sports analogy; it basically means you’re a backup player. The coach has his favorite starters, but still sees value in his bench warmers. If there are injuries and a starter has to sit out for the rest of the season, you’re in!
For a college, the waitlist is insurance so that if accepted students enroll elsewhere, they can pull other qualified people up and avoid big holes in their upcoming school year’s class. If you’re put on the waitlist at your number one school, it never hurts to remind the admissions office of your interest and to update them on any new accomplishments.
There are different types of deferrals, one on the student’s behalf and the other on the college’s. We’re talking about the deferral from a college today, but just so you know, a student who is accepted to a college can often defer enrollment for a certain number of years for various reasons–travel, family, personal issues, etc.
Receiving a deferral from a college means that admissions hasn’t made any decision about you, except that they haven’t outright denied your acceptance. Deferrals from acceptance are mostly relevant to students who applied to a college through Early Action or Early Decision. If you weren’t denied or accepted, your application has been deferred into the regular admissions group and will then compete with those applications. The silver lining on this cloud is that if you were deferred from Early Action or Early Admission and then you are admitted, you are no longer obligated to attend if you are accepted. If you are deferred as a regular admissions applicant, it generally means the school wants more information about you before making a final admissions decision. They might ask for your senior year grades, more test scores, letters of recommendation, etc. If they request any information, do your best to get it in as soon as possible as it will speed up the decision process.
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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.
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