Waitlisted, Now What?

Opening an email with news that you have been placed on a waitlist, potentially at your dream school, can be painful and disheartening.  Take the time you need to process all the emotions you are feeling- you may feel jealous of your best friend who was admitted to her first choice or you can feel angry and hurt. Once you have allowed yourself time to grieve, you need to put yourself into gear and make some decisions.

The first thing you need to do is decide if you would like to remain on the school’s waitlist. If that is what you decide it means that you would choose that school over other options. Because schools oftentimes rank their lists, you need to keep yourself as visible as you can. If the answer is a yes, and you would like to still be considered, here are some steps that you should follow.

  1. The most important step is to fill out and return the postcard/email which alerts the school that you indeed would like to stay on the waitlist.  
  2. In addition to sending back the form letter, write a personal letter directly to the Dean/Director of Admissions and be sure to copy the college representative outlining why you are a good match for the school and vice versa-why the school is a good match for you. Update them on any new achievements or activities that you have participated in. Describe why you are passionate about the school and include that it is your number one choice and if accepted you will attend. Be sure to include this only if it is true.
  3. By the end of April, send another email to touch base. It will be tempting to email or call the admission office in the meantime,  but know that there is a fine line between being persistent and being a pest.
  4. Continue to work hard in all your classes and stay involved in all your activities.  It is likely that a school may ask for interim grades and slacking off is not an option.
  5. While you wait, you must make a deposit at a school that has offered you admission  Be proud that you have been accepted from a large pool of other students who have applied. Join the university’s Facebook group of recently admitted students and learn as much as you can about what the campus has to offer because there is a likelihood that you could be a part of that vibrant community. I love the motto “Bloom where you are planted.”  
  6. Deposits are due at schools by May 1.  About a week after that, the colleges will be able to determine if they can begin admitting off their waitlist. Some schools put thousands of students on their waitlist and it is impossible to predict what may or may not happen. If you are admitted, send in your deposit right away knowing you will perhaps have to forfeit the deposit you had made at the other school (some schools may refund the deposit-each institution has their own policy).
  7. Celebrate whatever the outcome is.  You have worked hard and should be very proud of all that you have accomplished!