‘Waitlisted’ By Your Dream School…Now What?
Every year, college and universityadmissions staff know that some admitted students are going to turn them down. In the case that more incoming students say “no thanks” than expected, the powers that be turn to what we refer to as, “The Waitlist.”
So, what is a college waitlist?
A college waitlist is made up of students who the college believes are qualified to attend their school but who are not admitted immediately for any number of reasons. Students who have been “waitlisted” have the option of staying on the list with the hopes of getting admitted later on, generally in May, after regular decision deadlines have passed.
Admissions officers know that being placed on a waitlist is disappointing to many students and their parents who’ve worked so hard to get into the school of their dreams. But they also know that spaces often open up and they want those waitlisted students to get their opportunity to make their college dreams come true.
The good news for students and parents alike is that not all colleges use a waitlist. According to the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), fifty percent of colleges surveyed do not use one.
So, what do you do if you get a waitlist letter? Start to consider your options and prepare for the alternatives:
- Reserve Your Space. Look at the list of colleges that did accept you, decide which one you’d want to attend and send in your deposit. This guarantees you a spot and takes some of the pressure off so you can consider what to do next.
- The Waitlist – Yay or Nay? Is this your dream school and your college experience won’t be the same if you attend another school? If you are depending on financial aid, consider that the waitlist school may have given out the majority of its aid by the time you are admitted.
- Notify Waitlist School Of Your Decision. If you decide to decline their offer, notify the college to take you off the list. If you choose to stay on, follow any rules and procedures explained in the letter. Begin regular communications with the admissions office. Write them a letter telling them that their college is your top choice and you are eager to be admitted. Be eager, but don’t appear desperate…even though you may feel that way!
- Start Planning To Attend The College You’ve Accepted. Chances are that even if you choose to stay on a waitlist, you’ll end up going to the college you’ve accepted…Get excited about it and preparing yourself for the journey.
Remember, admission into a college or university from a waitlist is totally out of your hands. What you can do from this point on is start focusing on your new life as a college student at the school you have been accepted and enjoy your senior year.