How can you get in off the wait list?
This is a topic which is near to me, having affected my family and my students in the last few years. The first thing a student and his or her family need to know is that while getting in off a wait list is possible, it is not likely. Colleges have been known to maintain very large wait lists because it is sometimes difficult to estimate actual yield.
That said, I always want my students to shoot high, and that includes not giving up hope if they really want to attend a school at which they are wait listed. The first thing the student needs to do is return the wait list card or form and, at the same time, write a heartfelt note explaining how much they love the college and would attend if accepted. (Sometimes it’s not possible to say this if financial aid is uncertain.) This should be addressed to the dean of admission and the admissions rep from the geographic area. If there are any notable circumstances that occur during the wait list period such as honors and awards, the student needs to notify the admissions office.
People talk about colleges’ secret formulas for assigning various priorities to the wait list. The student will rarely know those details if that is indeed the case. Students should always make sure that they’ve left a deposit at their second-choice school. Hopefully, all these situations will have a happy ending.
Here is my video response to the question.
For all of my clients who have been deferred or wait-listed, I advise them to send a letter to the admissions office. This letter is a way or confirming their continued enthusiasm for the school as well as providing any new information that might impact their admissions decision. The letter could include any new clubs, leadership, awards and/or honors. It might not be a bad idea to send an additional recommendation letter and/or an additional essay or writing sample. You need to convey to the college that you are a strong applicant and would be likely to enroll if accepted.
April is a month of colliding forces when it comes to the lives of high school seniors heading to college in the fall. Applications are in, acceptances or rejections are appearing in mailboxes, AP exams are looming and as all these elements converge, the transition to adulthood becomes more of a reality with each passing day. The amount of stress in this final leg of the race would be enough to put anyone off their game, so here are a few tips for graduating seniors to help manage and enjoy life during the home stretch.
1. Understand You’re Not the Only One April isn’t just a preview for the changes in your own life, but you also get to observe those of your friends firsthand. The admissions process is more difficult and confusing than ever before, and there will be inevitable rewards and disappointments for everyone involved. Anyone who’s been there for a friend in need or a friend with something to celebrate knows how emotionally draining it can be. To avoid being pulled in all directions and losing focus on your own life, at this critical juncture prepare two simple and sincere responses to either outcome. Compliment the hard work and dedication of your peers who were admitted to the college of their choice – the truth is, they earned it. Comfort your friends who missed out on the big envelope by reiterating how random the admissions process can be, and how hard work is rewarded in life, regardless of where you got your degree – the truth is, in many cases, it doesn’t matter where you go, as long as you make the most of it. Being a source of either sincere comfort or praise will allow you to be there for your friends while not getting drawn into anyone’s drama but your own.
2. Make an Informed Decision Hopefully, come envelope day, your mailbox will overflow with fat acceptance letters from schools that are fighting for your attendance. Obviously something about each of these schools attracted you, or you wouldn’t have wasted the time and money applying. Now it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty and see which institution will make you happiest in terms of atmosphere and academics. Find out which of your choices offers institutional days for accepted students, allowing them to visit, go to class and get acclimated. Go on a weekday, attend some freshman lectures, and try to spend the night at a dorm, if possible. These sorts of visits provide much more insight into a college than a simple summer campus tour or an admissions office pitch. They’re experiences that will really help you decide which school is the best place to spend the next four years of your life.
3. Be Proactive About the Waiting List First thing to know about the waiting list – it’s not over yet. While some view the notification that they’ve been wait listed as simply a brief reprieve until the inevitable “Thank you for your application, but…” letter, there are some tried and true methods of turning a spot on the waiting list into a spot on the acceptance list. When you’re wait-listed, the first thing to remember is that you have not been rejected. You still have a chance to prove yourself to admissions officers, so grab it.
First, find out who handled the applications from your school, and contact them. Introduce yourself and explain what high school you attend, so you can make sure they can pull your file and have it on hand. Then let them know that you were happy to be put on the waiting list because it means you still have a chance to be offered admittance. Make it clear that their school is still your first choice by far and that you’re even willing to sacrifice the deposit on your second choice, should you be taken off the wait list after May 1st. In conclusion, tell the officer they can expect a letter from you in the near-future explaining in greater detail why you should be accepted.
Try to put it on your school’s letterhead and print it on bonded paper. Repeat that their institution is your first choice, that you are willing to give up a deposit on your second choice should it come to that, then start to hit on the two to three points on your resume that really make you stand out. Maybe you even know an alumnus of the school that will speak up on your behalf. It wouldn’t hurt to include a short missive from them. It’s important they know what they’ll be missing if they reject you. Send the letter by e-mail and snail mail personally to the admissions officer with whom you spoke.
Finally, relax. Take a deep breath and rest easy knowing you’ve been proactive and done everything possible to gain admission to your dream school.
4. Fight for Financial Aid Admission is one thing, attendance is another. There are many schools today that are prohibitively expensive, and in this economy, financial aid is going to be difficult to come by regardless of how worthy the applicant. But if you receive an insufficient offer, don’t fret. You still have some bargaining power. The school admitted you for a reason, and they won’t want to lose you, which will make them, at the very least, approachable when it comes to aid issues. Make full use of this fact, and perhaps let them know that you’ve received a better offer from their rival. Most colleges will work hard to help you attend if it means they can keep a worthy candidate from a competitors.
If your situation has worsened significantly this year, it could certainly make a difference. Make your chosen school aware of any change in your family’s finances, and support your claims with the proper documentation. Just remember, your biggest bargaining chip is that you were accepted – they want you, so take advantage of that fact
Following these tips will give you the tools to make your last April as a high school student more sentimental than stressful and allow the rest of the journey to higher education run as smoothly as possible.
If you decide to remain on a school’s waitlist, be sure to let them know of your decision. Once you have done this, you might want to write the admissions committee a letter informing them of any new (and relevant) developments in your life. After that — the ball’s in their court, and there’s not much you can do. Don’t bake cookies and send them to the school. Don’t e-mail your regional admissions officer every day/week asking them for updates. Why? Well — bombarding admissions officers with desperate-sounding emails and baked goods just don’t work. Remember that application that you sent off in the winter? THAT’S what they’ll be looking at if they decide to re-visit your application — not your scary emails and double fudge brownies!
In most cases there isn’t much you can do to get yourself off of the wait list. The wait list is used as a backup for admission offices. They use it to fill spots. So if they have students who don’t deposit and decide to go elsewhere, then they go to the wait list to fill those spots. However, you can always contact the admission office to ask them what they want. They will usually say an updated transcript, new test scores etc. What they don’t want is an additional letter or recommendation or another essay.
If you get waitlisted, I would send a letter to the admissions office and let them know you are still interested in their school and would like to remain on the waitlist. Some schools, take you off the waitlist, unless they hear from you.
I would continue to stay involved in activities and community service. If you join a new club or recieve any new awards I would send an email or a letter to the admissions office notifying them. I would also send 3rd quarter grades to show your academic strengths.
If your first choice college has wait listed you, you need to write the admissions office a letter and state that you definitely want to stay on the wait list. If you will attend the school if you are given the opportunity, you should say so very clearly. If you think that you will be a good addition to the campus, then explain why. If there are new achievements that you have managed during the spring of your senior year, then you should mention them. This is your last chance to add another dimension to your application. After you have sent the letter, then relax and start to discover the great things about your second choice school–and do not forget to make the deposit at that school! If you do move off the wait list then do not forget the inform the school to which you have already given your deposit that you will not be matriculating there. This will allow one of your peers to move off of that school’s wait list to take your spot!
Determinations about wait list activity are driven solely by the needs of an individual institution. Wait list activity varies wildly because both the timing and number of wait list admissions depends upon enrollment decisions made by admitted students. Wait lists enable enrollment managers to secure class sizes with pinpoint accuracy. From year to year, it is impossible to predict the likelihood of admission for students who have earned a position on the wait list. To put yourself in the best possible position, provide colleges with new academic information (updated grades) and a sincere expression of interest.
If you have been waitlisted for your first-choice college, contact admissions and let them know you really want to go to their college and that if you are accepted off of the wait list, you will attend. Send them any new information that will shed a good light on you (e.g., strong Senior grades, new awards or honors, new leadership positions).
If waitlisted, you first need to make sure your name stays on the waitlist. You need to write back to them and tell them that you would like to stay on the waitlist. Over half of a waitlist sometimes will go away because those students don’t ask to stay on it. Then it is just a matter of waiting to see when you may get a response from them that you have been accepted off the waitlist. Most of the time, when final decisions come out there are only a couple SAT tests left to take. If your SAT scores are what are keeping you on a waitlist, definitely take it one more time to see if you can bring your score up. Sending them an additional letter and final grades (if they were good) may help but make sure you remind them once a week that you want to stay on it and their school is on the top of your list.
you should send transcript or middle term report to the college
you may write letter to confirm you as the wait list student
other than that, you really has little to do unless your counselor would work for you on this one.
Waitlists are tricky. Some schools use them extensively, regularly going to the list to complete their class. However there are others that know their yields so well that they seldom resort to the list, and actually use it only as an alternative to denial for political or alumni related reasons. In general if a school goes to the waitlist, the choices they make are usually based on filling whatever needs they may have in the incoming class. If when the dust has settled and the school sees they have five spots available but recognize that a particular state remains unrepresented they are apt to see if they have a waitlist candidate who can fill that void. And so it goes. In the end there really is not much an applicant can do they are on the waitlist beyond making sure the school knows that you want to be a part of their community.
Be proactive! Although it is common knowledge that not many people get in after being deferred or waitlisted, it is not impossible. First you should have your high school counselor call and see if they can get any info s to why this was the decision that was made. They should also advocate for you throughout this process, sending updated grades and other accolades or updates from teachers as applicable. They need to be making these calls! Students should also write an update letter – deferral or waitlist letter – this letter should provide any/all updates since the time you applied in terms of academic, extracurriculars, awards/honors, anything that will ADD to your file. If you can get to campus again to show your continued interest that is also a plus!
Send a letter expressing your strong continued interest. If you’re comfortable, let them know that you’re committed to attending if admitted off the wait-list. Share any new information, including improved grades, honors you’ve received, or other spring term accomplishments that weren’t noted on your application last fall.
After this, cross your fingers and get on with making the best choice from among the colleges that accepted you. Don’t waste your time with hounding or gimmicks like cookies for the admissions staff; they won’t help your case, and they might even hurt it.
First, follow the college’s instructions precisely. Write a letter to the admissions office stating why you wish to attend this particular college. The more specific your one page letter the better. If indeed, the WL college is your first choice, let admissions know that if you are taken off the WL you will attend but only do this is it is true. Often when students are taken off the wait list they are offered 24 hours to accept of decline the offer so have your answer ready.
A well written and compelling appeal letter that updates the school on your academic progress and indicates your continued interest is most important.
You can do many things to help set yourself apart from other students on the waitlist. First, make sure to communicate anything new that has happened to you since you first applied to the admissions office. Highlight academic accomplishments, awards, activities, etc. Then have a senior year teacher write you an additional letter of recommendation. Also have your counselor contact the college. Send in a project or paper that you wrote recently that reflects your intellectual or activity strength. Visit the campus after May 1 and check in with the admissions office. Don’t overwhelm the college but keep submitting this information until you hear. But remember that none of this means that you will get off the list as it is often factors way beyond your control that affect who gets off a list. You can and will find happiness at another college.
Write a formal letter explaining your fit academically and socially to the university admissions team. Visit campus again. Attend an open house. Let the college know that you are still interested in matriculating at their institution. Take the SAT or ACT over again and report your scores to them. Send the school an updated transcript with current high school grades. If you have any other success that occur after you have been wait-listed, let the school know. Try to compile the data. Don’t send a piece of information every time that you get it. There is a fine line of persuasive and pushy.
First, contact the admissions office to see if you can learn where your application fell short. Address those issues in a letter, expressing your continued interest in the institution. If they offer interviews and you didn’t have one yet, by all means try to schedule an appointment. Quite possibly it is your transcript that is a concern; all the more reason to not slack off senior year and definitely send along your grades as soon as they are available. Whatever you do, don’t badger the admissions office, don’t stalk them on facebook, remind yourself that everything happens for a reason and this is why you applied to other schools. Good luck!
If the college is still your first choice, express your interest to your guidance counselor and communicate it directly with admissions as well. Beyond that, that is all you can do. Do not pester the admissions department; they know you would like to move off the wait list.
Make sure that a deposit is sent in by May 1 to a school that has outright admitted you, and which you would very much like to attend. Wait lists are a long shot! You need to de-invest emotionally in the wait list school, and wrap your mind around the most likely outcome.
Trying to decide if you want to remain on their waitlist? Start by asking yourself some questions:
1. Do I want to remain on their waitlist?
2. Is there something more that I could add that would strengthen my application?
3. Do I want to commit to the work involved in putting together extra support material to send to this college?
4. How do I really feel about a college that didn’t offer me admission on the first round?
5. What are the odds of getting in–how many students did they take off their waitlist in the past?
In Spite of the Odds, You Still Want To Remain on their Waitlist? Here’s what to do:
• Update your profile adding positive events from your senior year like: an updated transcript, awards, research projects, graded paper, published articles, outstanding achievements, athletic accolades, and new leadership roles.
• Return a letter indicating you are interested in remaining on their waitlist and press your point on how much you can contribute to the fabric of their freshmen class.
• Meet their deadlines including completing all financial aid documents and medical requirements.
• Look at your list of acceptances and make a deposit to secure your dorm to your second choice college. If you do get accepted off the waitlist, send a letter to this college withdrawing your acceptance. You will lose your deposit.
• Be ready to deposit to your waitlisted college and remember it may take until after the May 1st deadline before you hear from your waitlisted college. Are you the kind of person who can make a major life decision at the last moment?
A deferred application is considered again along with the applications submitted during the regular cycle. This complex alternative is so tenuous and uncertain that it is impossible to predict the outcome.
If you find yourself in this limbo, here are some guidelines for how to proceed.
1. Don’t Panic. Remain calm.
Most likely, if you’ve been deferred your credentials are in the ballpark for getting accepted. If they weren’t, you’d be rejected. So that’s the good news. The percentages vary from college to college, but some students do get accepted after being deferred.
2. Find Out Why You Were Deferred
Unless the college asks you not to do so, give the admissions office a call and try to find out why you were deferred. Be polite and positive when making this call. Try to convey your enthusiasm for the college, and see if there were particular weaknesses in your application that you might be able to address. Practice before you make this call to the college’s admissions office.
3. School Guidance Counselor
Your high school counselor can find out some information from the college admissions for you.
4. Be positive and Be Polite
As you try to get out of deferral limbo, you’re likely to correspond with the admissions office several times. Try to keep your frustration, disappointment and anger in check. Be polite. Be positive. Admissions officers are remarkably busy this time of year, and their time is limited. Thank them for any time they give you.
5. Send a New Letter of Recommendation
Is there someone who knows you well who can really promote you effectively? If so, an additional letter of recommendation might be a good idea (but make sure the college allows extra letters). Ideally, this letter should talk about the specific personal qualities that make you an ideal match for the particular college that has deferred you.
6. Send Supplemental Materials
Many applications, including the Common Application, provide the opportunity for sending in supplemental materials. Try not to overwhelm the admissions office, but you should feel free to send in writing or other materials that will show the full breadth of what you can contribute to the campus community.
7. Update Your Information
Chances are the college will ask for your midyear grades. If you were deferred because of a marginal GPA, the college will want to see that your grades are on an upward trend. Also, think about other information that might be worth sending:
New and improved SAT or ACT scores
Membership in a new extracurricular activity
A new leadership position in a group or team
A new honor or award
8. Have a Back-Up College or two
While many deferred students do get accepted during regular admissions, many do not. You should do all you can to get into your top choice school, but you should also be realistic. Make sure you have applied to a range of reach, match and safety colleges so that you will have other options should you get a rejection letter from your first choice.
If you have been deferred but have new information to present to the college, you’ll want to write a letter presenting the updates.
Remember, the advice above is general and that every college and university has its own policies when it comes to sending in additional documents. Check with your college.
Yes, but it takes tenacity and a superior appeal letter. In some cases a personal visit to appeal in person & speak w/whoever sent you the letter.
Narrow down over 1,000,000 scholarships with personalized results.
Get matched to scholarships that are perfect for you!
Disclosure: EducationDynamics receive compensation for the featured schools on our websites (see “Sponsored Schools” or “Sponsored Listings” or “Sponsored Results”). So what does this mean for you? Compensation may impact where the Sponsored Schools appear on our websites, including whether they appear as a match through our education matching services tool, the order in which they appear in a listing, and/or their ranking. Our websites do not provide, nor are they intended to provide, a comprehensive list of all schools (a) in the United States (b) located in a specific geographic area or (c) that offer a particular program of study. By providing information or agreeing to be contacted by a Sponsored School, you are in no way obligated to apply to or enroll with the school.
The sources for school statistics and data is the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System.
This is an offer for educational opportunities that may lead to employment and not an offer for nor a guarantee of employment. Students should consult with a representative from the school they select to learn more about career opportunities in that field. Program outcomes vary according to each institution’s specific program curriculum. Financial aid may be available to those who qualify. The information on this site is for informational and research purposes only and is not an assurance of financial aid.