College Limbo: What To Do If You’re Wait Listed

College Limbo: What To Do If You’re Wait Listed

The college admissions process is winding down for current seniors. The decisions are in, and students now know where they’ll be going to college. Unless they’ve been wait listed*, in which case, they’re still… waiting. Nobody likes waiting. So if you’re a student in limbo, here are a few strategies for tipping the scales in your favor:

1. Let them know you care: If you’ve been wait listed at your first choice school, let the admissions staff know you like them — you really, really like them. Send an email to the admissions office, preferably to a person you’ve met, corresponded with, or who is in charge of the geographical area in which you live. Make it clear how much you want to attend their school and why you would be a good fit. It’s important that admissions officers know that their school is genuinely your first choice and, if offered a spot, you would accept without hesitation.

2. Give them an update: Have you had a success in school or in your extra-curricular activities that was not included in your original application? Maybe you recently won a robotics competition or made the Honor Roll. Tell the admissions officer about it and how it enhances your desirability as a candidate for admission. If your school counselor has a contact at the school in question, you may ask him or her to send an email updating the school about your recent accomplishments.

3. Say yes to someone else, if necessary: Your first choice may not give you a final decision until after May 1, which is the deadline for saying yes to schools that have accepted you. If necessary, say yes to one of those, and make your deposit. Just be ready to forfeit that deposit if your first choice comes through. Then graciously let the school whose offer you accepted know that you’ve decided to attend your first choice. You won’t be the only student to do this; they will understand.

And remember, if you’ve constructed a well-balanced college list, any school that’s on it will be a good choice for you. If the wait list decision doesn’t go your way, move on, and embrace a great school that said yes.

*If you’ve been wait listed at a school that you have no intention of attending, take yourself out of the running and let someone else move up a spot.

College Fit 360 is a student-focused college admissions consulting firm based in Los Angeles, with clients throughout the country and around the world. Partners Roberta Lachman and Joan Binder Weiss believe that each student has unique academic, social, and emotional needs and preferences. Based on an understanding of those characteristics, they help each student find and present the strongest possible application package to best-fit schools–places where they will thrive. Schedule a free consultation at [email protected].


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