What is the best way to handle getting waitlisted or deferred?

Admissions Decisions

Our counselors answered:

What is the best way to handle getting waitlisted or deferred?

Brittany Maschal
Founder/Director B. Maschal Educational Consulting

What is the best way to handle getting waitlisted or deferred?

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!

Wendy Smith

What is the best way to handle getting waitlisted or deferred?

If you’ve been waitlisted or deferred, remember two words. Don’t Panic. Think of this situation as finding yourself in deep water. If you flail around out of fear, you’re more likely to drown. Keep moving. Pick a direction and move forward. Apply to more or different schools, for example, or tour the schools at which you have been accepted and decide among them. Remember that sometimes unexpected things can turn out to be amazing. Most people can be happy most places, just as most unhappy people will be unhappy anywhere. 

Tammy Smith

What is the best way to handle getting waitlisted or deferred?

A waitlist is an actual list and you might be towards the top or towards the bottom. You are well within your rights to call and ask what your status is and to politely withdraw yourself from consideration if you feel you are too far down to have a real chance of getting accepted. If you want to remain on the waitlist, contact the school to let them know you’re still interested.

But, whether you’ve been waitlisted or deferred, don’t bombard the admissions office with calls, emails, letters of recommendation, questions, or testimonials from family friends. There’s a fine line, as everyone who has been on a date knows, between being persistent and acting like a stalker. If you win a new accolade, ask your high school admissions officer to call the school on your behalf. The news will seem more significant coming from a third party.

In either case, keep your grades up as schools will continue to monitor your academic progress. If you are offered a second interview, take the opportunity. You may be able to communicate your enthusiasm better in person.