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What to do after being wait listed?

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Strategies to help students with their next steps !

When students apply to college they have an opportunity to be accepted, denied or wait listed. Being wait listed is often disappointing for students, and many decide not to pursue their options at that school. A college waitlist represents a pool of applicants that the college has yet to decide on, so there is still some hope. Colleges use waitlists because they want to have backup options in case some students who were accepted decide not to enroll. If this happens, the college can offer those spots to students on the waitlist in order to fill up the incoming class.

There are many reasons why you may have been placed on a college waitlist. It could be the college received a large number of competitive applications and had to make difficult decisions about who to accept and your application was on the bubble. It could also be that they were impressed with your application, but ultimately decided to offer admission to other students who they felt were a better fit for their college. In some cases there were better applicants who meet the colleges institutional priorities such as in the case of athletes, and artists or musicians.

If you have been placed on a college waitlist, it’s important to keep in mind that it’s not a rejection of your abilities. There’s still a chance that you could be admitted to the college, so it’s a good idea to follow up with the college and express your continued interest in attending. You should also consider other colleges that have accepted you and make a decision once you hear back from the college’s waitlist. In the meantime you must accept your spot on the waitlist through your student portal in order to be considered.

Timelines of Wait List- what to be aware of and how to stay on top of things.

The timeline of college waitlists can vary depending on the college and the admissions process. However, here is a general timeline of what you can expect:

Part 1: Timelines of Wait List- what to be aware of and how to stay on top of things.

The timeline of college waitlists can vary depending on the college and the admissions process. However, here is a general timeline of what you can expect:

  1. Admission decisions: Most colleges send out their regular admission decisions by April 1st. This is when you will find out if you have been accepted, rejected, or waitlisted.
  2. Waitlist offers: After admission decisions are made, colleges will start offering waitlist spots to students. This can happen anytime from late March to early May.
  3. Acceptance response deadline: Once you have been offered a spot on the waitlist, you will usually have a deadline to respond to the offer. This can range from a few days to a few weeks.
  4. Additional spots become available: After the deadline to respond to the waitlist offer, the college will start to get a better idea of how many spots they have available. As spots become available, they will start to offer admission to students on the waitlist.
  5. Final decisions: By late May or early June, most colleges will have made their final decisions on who they will admit for the upcoming school year. This is when you will find out if you have been admitted off the waitlist, or if you will need to make a decision about attending a different college. Sometimes these decisions could stretch into the summer months if spots open up at that time.

It’s important to keep in mind that the timeline of college waitlists can vary greatly from college to college. Additionally, some colleges may offer waitlist spots for different time periods, or may have rolling admissions where they continue to accept students throughout the summer. If you have questions about the timeline of a specific college’s waitlist, it’s best to reach out to their admissions office directly. Some colleges will keep statistics from previous years posted on their website or you can find this information online.

Part 2: What Can I do to try to get off the Wait List

If you’ve been placed on a college waitlist, there are several things you can do to increase your chances of being admitted:

  1. Respond to the waitlist offer promptly: Make sure to respond to the college as soon as possible to let them know that you are interested in remaining on the waitlist. The college needs to know that you are still interested in attending, or they may assume that you have lost interest and move on to the next student on the waitlist.
  2. Follow the instructions provided by the college: The college will likely provide you with specific instructions on what you need to do to remain on the waitlist. Make sure to follow these instructions carefully and provide any additional information or materials that the college requests.
  3. Send a letter of continued interest: Write a letter to the college expressing your continued interest in attending. Use this letter as an opportunity to update the college on any recent accomplishments or achievements since you submitted your application.
  4. Provide additional information: If there have been any significant changes in your academic or personal life since you submitted your application, you can provide this information to the college. For example, if you received an award or won a competition, you can let the college know.
  5. Consider visiting the campus: If possible, consider visiting the campus to meet with admissions staff and demonstrate your continued interest in attending. This can help you stand out from other students on the waitlist.

Remember that getting off the waitlist is not guaranteed, but by following these steps, you can increase your chances of being admitted to the college.

Part 3: How to Write a College Wait List Letter

These guidelines apply to students who have also been deferred in the early action round. The letter will be added to the students file and considered when the admissions office is reviewing the next round of applications.

Writing a waitlist letter to the college can demonstrate your interest and abilities, potentially improving your chances of being accepted. Here are some tips on what to include in a waitlist letter:Express your continued interest: Begin the letter by expressing your gratitude for being placed on the waitlist and your continued interest in attending the college. This demonstrates that you are still invested in the college and want to be considered for admission.

Highlight your accomplishments: Emphasize any recent achievements or successes that demonstrate your abilities and potential. This could include academic honors, extracurricular activities, community service, or work experience. Make sure to tie these accomplishments to how they align with the college’s values and mission. If you worked hard at a subject in which you had previously struggled, do mention this.

Address any weaknesses: If there were any weaknesses in your application that you are now addressing, such as improving your grades or retaking a standardized test, mention them and explain your progress. This shows that you are serious about your education and want to improve your skills in preparation for college.

Provide new information: If you have any new information to share that was not included in your original application, such as a recent internship or project, share it. This can provide a fresh perspective on your abilities and interests.

Show your fit: Demonstrate why you believe you would be a good fit for the college. This could include discussing specific programs or courses that align with your interests, mentioning connections you have with the college community, or discussing your goals and how they align with the college’s values.

Have one of your senior year teachers write an academic letter of recommendation for you. First ask if the college will consider an additional letter. You could also have one of your coaches or supervisors write a character reference on your behalf that addresses your leadership skills and outstanding personality and wellness to help other.

Part 4: College waitlist letter sample

Here are some excerpts from a Wait List letter

Dear Admissions Committee,
(try to find out who handles the applications for your state and address the letter to that person)
If you are instructed to upload the letter to your student portal please follow the directions.

Thank you for reviewing my application. I am writing to update you with you my extracurricular accomplishments since December, and why I believe that Red University) is the perfect school for me.

Since the time I submitted my application I have continued to participate in all of my extracurricular including the Westview Youth Orchestra where I was honored with the most outstanding cello award both at my school and in the State Competition in Los Angeles. My orchestra traveled to Carnegie Hall in January and won 1st place in the National Youth Music awards. In addition I have continued with my science internship at UCSD and my paper on gene splicing is due to be published in mid June. I feel that your institution will be the perfect fit for me in that I can continue my studies in both science and music as well as my research efforts.

Additionally, I hope to participate in research with Professor Alan Johnson whose work on CRISPER genes align my strong interests with genetics and the medial field. Your school would offer me additional leadership opportunities to run for the student government and tutor first generation refugee students through the GIVE Back program which is a very similar program that I participated in during high school. As ASB president we raised over five thousand dollars during the December holidays for refugee students at the (East Valley school) and donated school supplies to those in need.

Final Comments:

It will be important to highlight your future goals and why you are best candidate for not only the school but for the major you have applied for and highlight how you might be an asset to this campus. Keep the tone both confident, polite and positive. Make sure to provide evidence of how you will be an active member of the academic community and participate in other campus associations and clubs.

Regina Gerrato Greenhaus is the Founder of Greenhaus College Consulting and an expert on college admissions. If you would like our support to assist your student with writing a wait list letter of continued interest please contact us.