How to Be the One Out of Ten to Get Off the Waitlist

By Shellee Howard

Waitlists are at an all time high because of the ease of applying to multiple colleges with just the click of a button. More students are applying to more colleges than ever before and they can no longer predict how many students will accept or deny them.

The reality is that there are more amazing students than colleges have room for, especially the well know schools. So the question becomes, “how do colleges fill their class with the best students?” They offer their first picks first and then as students send in their not interested email, another spot opens up. Unfortunately, the reality is that many students cannot make a decision until the final schools are announced in April. Many students hold onto their top three schools until they are forced to decide on May 1st!

Reasons your student may have been waitlisted:

1) The first round of acceptances goes to the top performing students.
2) The college may be working on diversifying their incoming class.
3) They did not show they were interested in that college.
4) Balancing financial or merit offers.

How to get off the wait list:

1) Write a letter to the college informing them of any new information. New test score, award etc.
2) Reach out to the Regional Admissions Rep and speak with them about your desire to attend their school. Let them know that it is your first choice (only if it is) and that if you get off the waitlist you will enroll immediately.
3) Be the first to respond to the waitlist offer. Show strong interest and why you would be a great fit at their school. Be specific and do your homework.
4) Reach out to Alumni that can advocate for you.
5) Speak with your high school counselor and ask them to write a letter stating your strong interest in the college and that they believe you are a great fit (also must be true).

We have had students get off the wait list if they work hard and have a reason they should be admitted. The reality is that only 10% of students waitlisted get admitted and therefore we suggest that if you do not get off the waitlist early, you are better off going with your next best school.

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