When students are waitlisted, college counselors must be armed with advice on the steps they can take to help secure their admission. Jeannie Borin offers her tips.
Waitlisted students should:
- Write a cover note to the college and make sure they re-emphasize why they are a good match and what they will do to be an asset to the school's community. They should keep it short but add detail where possible.
- Contact the admission office via e-mail and/or send a personal note to express their interest in attending, as colleges like to accept students they know will attend.
- Update the admission office with any new achievements, activities, or honors. Students should not repeat anything that was on their original application and they should send the school a copy of their most recent transcript.
- Make sure to mention if the college where they are waitlisted is their first choice.
- See if an interview can be arranged.
- Remember that it's okay to ask an admission officer what they can do to increase their chances of gaining acceptance.
- Make sure the college keeps their name on the waitlist until the end of summer.
- Try to learn who the school's regional representative is and contact them. Chances are they have already read the waitlisted student's application and could be a potential advocate. It is okay for students to contact this representative every few weeks to confirm their continued interest in gaining acceptance. They may also notify them of any new activities or honors.
- Follow up with all schools where they have been waitlisted if they are interested in more than one college.
- Contact the college if they don't need financial aid but initially checked that they did (or have their parents call the financial aid office). Let the school know if they will be full-pay students.
- Remain proactive and notify the college every month that they are still interested in attending. This may be especially true after May 1, when first deposits are due. Colleges need to know that waitlisted students have not decided to attend elsewhere.
- Carefully review the colleges where students have been accepted, as they should send in a deposit by the May 1 deadline. If they do get off a waitlist, students may lose the deposit made at another institution.
- Revisit the college before making a final decision if they are accepted off the waitlist.