Uh-oh. Your eagerly awaited decision letter from Dream University finally arrives and you learn that you’ve been offered not the hope-for place in the class, but a spot on the waitlist. What should you do now?
Your first step is to carefully consider the rest of your college acceptances and determine which of these provides the best fit for you. Talk to current students or recent graduates. Accept your favorite offer by returning your intent to enroll form along with any needed deposit before the May 1st reply date. Be sure to submit the form and deposit for housing as well. For many schools, the date your deposit is received determines your housing choice. You’ll also want to send a nice email to each of the colleges that offered you a place, thanking them for their interest and explaining that you’ve made other plans. Letting the other colleges know as soon as possible allows them to offer your spot to another student.
Now for the waitlist offer. If you are still truly interested in attending this college, respond promptly to their offer accepting a place on the waitlist. Follow up with a personal call to your admissions contact, expressing your hope of admittance. Ask if the waitlist is ranked in any way, and how many students are on it. This is also a good time to update the admissions officer about any achievements, awards, rising grades, or honors received since you applied. Remind the admission officer why this is a good fit for you and the many assets you will bring to campus. You may even wish to send an additional letter of recommendation from one of your senior year teachers. If Waitlist University is your first choice and you will definitely enroll if admitted, tell them so.
Nationally, about 20% of waitlisted students are admitted each year. If you really want to be among those who are, you will have to be proactive in contacting the admissions office and letting them know of your continued interest in attending.
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Founder, Weil College Advising, LLC