Get Off a Waitlist: the Dos and Don’ts

If you’re in a college waitlist, the chances are that you feel frustrated and cannot wait to figure out whether you’re accepted or rejected. However, the sad reality is that you have to wait. The most important thing is to be realistic. Most students never get off the waitlist, in fact, less than one-third of such students make it. In most elite colleges, getting into a waitlist means that you will not be accepted. Thus, you should be ready to move forward and look for another college. Nevertheless, if you’re in the list, you can try to increase your chances of getting off it. We at service hope that our tips will help you.


Do Contact the Admissions Office Again

Unless you’ve received other instructions, contact the admissions office and ask about your application. Is there a problem with your score, or maybe, the extracurricular activities were weak? Does the college have students with the same talents? If you determine the problem, you’ll know what needs to be improved.

We also recommend that you try to figure out how the waitlist is managed. Is there any ranking system? Where are you on this list? Do you have more chances than other applicants?

Keep in mind that many colleges don’t want wait-listed applicants to contact them because they may not want to explain their decision, and sometimes things can get personal.

Do Write a Letter of Continued Interest

A letter that restates your interest will demonstrate your commitment. After all, there’s no point in accepting you if you’re not interested enough. Write a polite letter and be specific about your reasons to attend this college. What makes this college special? Why do you think this college is better than others?

Do Send Any New Important Information

When writing a letter, include any new details that can make your application better. Mention your SAT results if you’ve taken it again and got a better score. Mention your new awards or achievements in sports. If you have any new academic accomplishments, make sure to describe them in detail.


Don’t Ask Alumni to Write for You

If you search for alumni who can write letters for you, the chances are that you will not be satisfied with the results. Such letters usually sound basic and make you look desperate. Ask alumni to recommend you only if you’re 100% sure that such a letter will change your credentials. Most likely, it will not.

However, such a letter may help if you have a close relative who is a major donor of the Board of Trustees. Nevertheless, fundraising and admissions usually work independently from each other.

Don’t Be Annoying with the Admissions Counselors

Being too persistent won’t help. If you visit the admissions office or call too often, your persistence may only make things worse.

Don’t Rely on Clever Tricks

If you try to be cute or clever, sending flowers or postcards to your counselor, again and again, you’ll unlikely get accepted. Most likely, you will only make your counselor feel awkward. In the worst case scenario, they will think that you’re a stalker.

Instead of trying such tricks, provide meaningful information about your new achievements and projects. Such information may be useful.

Don’t Send Useless Materials

If your new SAT score is 5-10 points higher than the old one, such information isn’t worth sharing it with the counselors because it will unlikely change their decision. The same applies to irrelevant materials. For example, when applying to an engineering program, your achievements in arts will look completely irrelevant. We also recommend that you don’t send letters of recommendation from people who don’t actually know you.

Don’t Let Your Parents Communicate with the Admissions Office

Although your parents are a part of the application process, they shouldn’t advocate you. You, not your parents, should contact the admissions office and write letters of continued interest. The point is to let the college staff know that you are interested in attending it, and only you can do it.

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