What’s the best way to evaluate an offer of acceptance after being waitlisted?
If there’s a financial aid award, compare it to the award you have received from the college that originally accepted you. Don’t be afraid to negotiate for additional aid. But realize, as the summer progresses, you may not be able to negotiate a better award, as the majority of the funds have been disbursed. What remains are the funds made available by students who decided to attend other colleges, which may not be enough to meet your needs.
If you have accepted an offer at another college, know that any deposit you have made to that college is non-refundable. Can you and your family afford to lose that money and pay another deposit to a new college? If your family has made tuition payments, those will be refunded. You should find out how long the refund process will take.
Make sure you find out if the offer of admission extends to your chosen major. You may be accepted to the college, but find that your major is a high-demand program of study and is closed for the upcoming semester or year. You need to know if you’ll be forced to wait a semester or a full academic year to be accepted into your major. And, are you guaranteed acceptance when the program is re-opened?
Make sure housing is available if you need to live on campus. The later in the summer the college goes to the waitlist, the harder it might be to get on-campus housing or the options for on-campus housing might be limited. The same may be true for off-campus housing options. Since many colleges require incoming freshmen to live on campus, and if you are trying to arrange housing in mid to late summer, you may end up with living arrangements that are less than optimal. For example, you may end up with three or four roommates when you would prefer to have just one. The type of dorm that is available may not be what you want. You may want a co-ed dorm, but all that is available is a single-sex dorm or the dorm is too far from the main part of campus or is in a noisy area. It’s also possible that the college housing is not even located on campus. Some colleges lease or own off-campus housing to deal with the overflow of resident students. In that situation you will need to find out about transportation to and from campus and the level of onsite security.
Situations vary, especially if a student is a candidate for financial aid and the waitlisted school does not offer as strong a package as the student has received from somewhere else. The student should weight the various factors that led to applying to that school and assess for certain if he or she would happy there. Sometimes, it’s a good idea to visit the school in question and compare that school to others which have offered a spot to the student. Nothing beats the feel of walking the campus! Also, so many schools have set up websites and Facebook pages for accepted students, and that is another way to feel good about a selection of schools.
Ask if it’s possible to defer admission. If, after you and your parents review the factors that matter most to you, and you decide that it’s best not to take the offer for the fall, your hopes to attend your first college are not lost forever. It may be possible to defer your enrollment for a semester or two. Deferring your acceptance until the spring semester or the following fall allows you to continue with fall plans at your back-up college and possibly transfer your credits when you switch over to your first-choice school. Because transferring credits can be tricky, often requiring a grade of C or better, stick to basic requirements such as Freshman English, Intro of History, and the like. These are general in scope and more easily transferable than technical courses or courses for which the knowledge base is more likely to change
if you are not sure about the accepted school compare to other choices you may have, you should still take the advantage of staying over night and revisiting the campus again. The open house will be different this time and you should get the rigth feelings by seeking out the questions left on your mind.
Whether you receive an offer via early decision/action, regular admissions, or off the waitlist — an offer’s an offer! If you are waitlisted and then offered a spot — you should accept it IF it is still the number one place that you’d like to attend.
Be sure to ask about your financial aid package, however! Also — make sure you have some solid housing options still available as well.
Once you are on campus, no one will know if you were a waitlisted student or not. However, if you decide to take an offer after being waitlisted, be sure to contact the school immediately to discuss any financial aid issues you have.
Think about your requirements for a college experience and reevaluate the two colleges that you are considering attending. Examine the costs of attendance and carefully compare the financial aid packages. What kinds of special opportunities exist at each school? Have you visited both colleges? Look at your notes. This is your decision but it might help to discuss your options with your family or a trusted friend.
If you are waitlisted for your #1 college, and you get into your #2 college, accept the offer of your #2 college and pay your non-refundable deposit. If you subsequently are accepted to your #1 college, you will be able to attend it if you want. Recognize that you will lose your deposit from your #2 college and you will probably not get any financial aid from your #1 college.
I would normally evaluate it very positively. Being admitted off the waitlist does not make you a second class student. Since you were not a top admit however, you probably will not be getting a merit scholarship which would be a negative if you were awarded merit aid at other colleges. These are issues that each student and family must evaluate individually.
Cost of attendance
Determine the % of gift aid vs self-help, and the amount of unmet need. Make sure all aid you’re qualified for is offered – very often it’s not. It’s always best to have an expert give you some no cost advice before you make a costly fatal error.
If cost is of concern to you and your family, remember that no merit money is offered when you clear the waitlist. If cost is not a concern and the college you were waitlisted at remains your first choice, stay on the waitlist. Call the admissions office and ask if you can submit anything else to your application to help them with a decision.
The real question is how badly do you wish to attend the school that wait listed you. if you want to stay in the game, then accept the offer from your next favorite school by paying the deposit, understanding that you will not get it back if you get into the other school off the waitlist. Then tell the school where you were waitlisted that you still wish to be considered. Different schools use the waitlist in different ways, but even places that go to it have variations from year to year.
If you really want to go to the school that waitlisted you, than choose to go. It is irrelevant that you were waitlisted but that you got in. Nobody looks back after you graduated or moved in on the first day and says “well you know she/he almost didn’t make it” everyone is so elated and you should not be offended at the notion of being waitlisted when someone simply got a thanks but no thanks letter.
Pride aside….go where you want to go and have a blast learning.
Do you still love the college? Will you life be so much better there? Can you afford the college? Can you afford to lose the deposit at the school you accepted? If the answer to these questions is yes, then you should consider evaluating the offer of acceptance from a college that waitlisted you. You may need to go and visit again. You will want to find out about housing and access to classes first semester. You will want to compare financial aid packages and talk with your family. Many kids get off waitlists and don’t accept the offer as they have fallen in love with a college that accepted them. While others, take the offer and jump.
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