What to do if you’re waitlisted
April 3, 2007
Getting waitlisted can be frustrating, confusing and/or exciting depending on what your expectations were in applying to that college. It’s frustrating because, similar to being deferred, it’s not a final answer. It’s a “hold on…. lets just wait it out” kind of answer. It may turn into an acceptance. It may turn into a rejection. It’s confusing because you have no idea what your fate will be regarding admittance to that college (and people have all sorts of theories about colleges and their waitlists). It’s exciting because you still may have a chance. These days, when competition has never been more fierce, a waitlist letter, while not an acceptance letter is also not a rejection.
What to do if you receive a waitlist letter? If you are still interested in that school and would attend if removed from the waitlist, you should contact the college asap. This contact should be in writing and it should be brief (one page). What you want to convey is that you remain interested, that [blank] University is your first choice, and that you will matriculate if admitted. Let them know you’re a sure thing (but only if you are). Then write about anything that may be relevant – awards won, leadership positions earned, or other significant accomplishments that, had you earned them prior to submitting your application, you would’ve incoroporated in the original application.
What not to do if you’re waitlisted? Here’s where students go wrong. Do not send daily letters to the admissions office until you’re taking off the waitlist explaining all the trials of life as a waitlisted student and reasons you should be admitted. Do not send gifts. Do not make multiple phone calls. Do not have every alum you know contact the college. Do not visit the college and sit in their reception area until someone agrees to admit you. In general, do not be creepy or annoying.
You may call the office and express your sincere interest in attending the college and ask directly what would be beneficial. The admissions office may have their own ideas of what they need from you but typically, they’ll ask you to write a letter. Bottom line – be respectful of the process and the difficult decisions the admissions officers had to make.