If you’ve applied to college, you may have experienced the bittersweet feeling of being waitlisted. A college waitlist is a group of students who have been accepted to a college but placed on hold for final admission due to a high volume of applicants. Although it’s not a guaranteed acceptance, being waitlisted means you still have a chance of being admitted. In this article, we’ll provide you with tips on how to navigate the waitlisted for college dilemma and make an informed decision. What is a College Waitlist? The waitlist is a group of students who have been accepted by a college, but placed on a waiting list for final admission. This usually happens when the college has more applicants than they can accommodate. Students waitlisted for college are typically given a lower priority for admission than those who were accepted outright. If you’ve been placed on a college waitlist, it may mean the admissions committee likes you and your application. They think you would be a good fit for the school, but there just wasn’t enough space to accept everyone. Being on the waitlist doesn’t guarantee you’ll get in, but it does mean you have a chance. To increase your chances of getting off the waitlist and into the school of your choice, one way is to write a letter of continued interest. In this letter, you’ll want to reiterate your interest in the school and explain why you think you would be a good fit. You can also include any new information that has happened since you submitted your application, such as awards or accomplishments. You Get Off The College Waitlist, Now What? If you are waitlisted for your top college choice, you likely made plans to attend another college. You make the required deposit, are preparing for orientation, have been emailing your soon-to-be roommate(s), and generally getting more excited about college life. Then over the summer, you receive an unexpected call from your first-choice college offering you admission for the fall. You’re overjoyed and want to immediately accept the offer. But is it the wisest move to accept an admissions offer from a college that waitlisted you? Not necessarily. Getting an admissions offer from a college that has placed you on a waitlist may sound like a dream come true, but unless you take the time to ask the right questions, you may be headed for a nightmare. You need to weigh the pros and cons of opting to be admitted off a college’s waitlist. List of Questions to Ask Colleges Does the offer of admissions extend 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. Be sure you do not need to wait a semester or a full academic year to be accepted into your major. Are you guaranteed acceptance when the program is re-opened? Is housing available? If you need to live on campus, you will need to ask if on-campus housing is available. 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 may be limited. The same may be true for off-campus housing options. Note that many colleges require incoming freshmen to live on campus. 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 3 or 4 roommates when you would prefer to have just one roommate. The type of dorm that is available may not be what you want. You may want a coed dorm, but all that is available is a single-sex dorm, or the dorm is too far from the main area of the campus or is in a noisy area. It is also possible that the college housing is not even 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 getting to and from campus and the level of onsite security. Is there a financial aid award? First and foremost, check if there is a financial aid award. Compare it to the award that you have received from the college that originally accepted you. Don’t be afraid to negotiate for additional aid or scholarships. As the summer progresses, you may not be able to negotiate a better award if the majority of the funds have been disbursed. However, it’s always worth a try. Keep in mind that what remains are the funds made available by students who decided to attend other colleges, and that may not be enough to meet your needs. What about your deposit? 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 the new college? It’s important to consider the financial implications of switching schools. However, if you haven’t made a deposit yet, that’s another story. You may have more flexibility in your decision-making process. Is it possible to defer admission? If you decide not to take the offer for the fall, your hopes to attend your first choice college may not be lost. Ask if you can defer your enrollment for a semester or two. Deferring your acceptance until the spring semester or the following fall may allow you to continue with your fall plans. It may also be possible to transfer your credits when you start at your first choice school. It’s important to note that transferring credits can be tricky. Usually, you need a grade of C or better. Stick to basic requirements such as Freshman English, Intro of History, etc. These are general in scope and may be easier to transfer. So if you are waitlisted for college and then get in, ask these important questions. Consider the consequences and your options and you will be sure to make the college choice that is right for you. Remember, this is an exciting time in your life, and it’s important to make a decision that aligns with your goals and priorities. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and take the time to weigh your options carefully. With the right information and a thoughtful approach, you can make the most of this opportunity and thrive in college.