College Admissions

Top 10 Things To Do When You Find Yourself on a Wait List

By Tonya DuBois

Find Yourself on the Dreaded Wait List? Here’s a list of 10 things you should do:

1. Evaluate if this school is still your first choice and if so, reply as required by the college, that you would like to stay on the wait list.

2. You must still deposit and plan to attend another institution.

3. If you are accepted from the wait list, you’ll be enrolling sometime after the May 1 enrollment date; therefore, ensure you know all your options as a late enrollee regarding: housing, financial aid, etc.

4. Some colleges rank their wait list. If you call, they are generally willing to tell you if they rank and where you rank, so you know if your chances are good, or slim. You can also ask what their statistics are – do they generally go to the wait list and if so, how many students tend to come off the wait list?

5. Ask the Admission Office if they interview wait listed students. If so, schedule an interview to make your case (well-crafted and well-thought out, in advance, of course).

6. Write a letter to the Admission Office stating any new information/updates they might need re. additional achievements/awards, etc. Make your case for why you are a good fit. And, if true, let them know that if accepted, you will enroll. (Have at least 2 adults review this letter before sending.)

7. Ask your Counselor to call and/or write to the Admission Officer on your behalf, confirming your continued interest. And, if the school remains your first choice, this should be directly stated by your Counselor.

8. Your 4th quarter grades suddenly matter more than ever. Continue to study hard and earn great grades. Have your school counselor send the college a year-end report.

9. Remember, you are on the wait list because the college feels that you are, indeed, qualified for admission. They simply admitted too many students who already meet a similar profile. If you presented yourself as the student-athlete, or the future doctor, consider what else you can tell them about yourself, that may allow you to fit into a more unique niche. Include this information in your letter.

10. Lastly, do not harass the Admission Office – one contact to get all your well-planned questions answered and one contact to mail in your letter and any updates should be sufficient.