How can you get in off the wait list?

Admissions Decisions

Our counselors answered:

How can you get in off the wait list?

Pam Proctor
Author The College Hook

How can you get in off the wait list?

Here is my video response to the question.

Beth Wiser
Director of Admissions University of Vermont

How can you get in off the wait list?

Here is my video response to the question.

Richard Nesbitt
Director of Admissions Williams College

How can you get in off the wait list?

Here is my video response to the question.

Nina Berler
Founder unCommon Apps

Getting 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.

Suzan Reznick
Independent Educational Consultant The College Connection

Follow-up information can be key

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.

Laura O'Brien Gatzionis
Founder Educational Advisory Services

Trying to successfully move off the wait list

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!

Erica White
College & Career Counselor Middletown High School

Update your information as needed...

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.

Rana Slosberg
Owner Slosberg College Solutions LLC

Get in off the waitlist

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).

Nancy Milne
Owner Milne Collegiate Consulting

How can you get in off the wait list?

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!

Reecy Aresty
College Admissions/Financial Aid Expert & Author Payless For College, Inc.

How can you get in off the wait list?

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.