Top 5 Waitlist Strategies for College Applicants

Waiting in LineNo one wants to be waitlisted by the school of their dreams. Being waitlisted could be one of the best things that can happen to you in your college admissions journey. Why? You’re one step closer to the finish line.

A decision of “maybe” from your top-choice school might be confusing at first, but it gives you a chance to think about what you really want to do next. However, you must weigh your options quickly. If your heart’s still set on going to that college, there are some things you can do right now to boost your chances of acceptance.  

Here’s some expert advice from our Veritas Prep college admissions team on what to do next if you find yourself on the waitlist:

1. Reflect on why you applied. Is this school still your first choice? How does the curriculum align with your goals? What are the chances that you will receive a scholarship or grants should you be admitted after all early and regular decision acceptance offers have been made? Answering these questions can help you decide whether you want to pursue admission as you consider or await other college decisions.

2. Read the fine print. Many schools give clear direction to their waitlisted applicants about what to do next. Some schools require students to respond to the waitlist offer by a certain deadline. Others instruct students not to send any additional information to the admissions committee. It’s important that you follow the instructions provided to you in your letter — even if this means that you may just have to wait.

3. Write the “admissions love letter.” If your decision letter does not discourage submitting additional information to the admissions office, you can still show your dream school how committed you are to becoming a member of their next incoming class. Due to the time sensitivity of the process, this letter should be sent by e-mail directly to the contact information provided to you by the university’s admissions office. The letter should not exceed one page (1-3 paragraphs) and include the following:

a. New insights into why you are a good fit for the school (i.e. new discoveries from the admissions interview, campus tour or meetings with professors and/or alumni). Do not repeat information you have already stated in your application.

b. Highlights of how you have strengthened weaker areas in your application profile over the past few months.  This includes things like mid-year grade improvements, research projects, accomplishments and awards.

c. Reiterate that the school is genuinely your top choice and you will attend if admitted. This is the number one question admissions committees have about the status of their waitlisted applicants.

Time is of the essence: Don’t forget to send your “love letter” in a timely manner. Usually your letter will provide you with key dates and deadlines. If not, respond as soon as possible.

4. Create a backup plan. You can request to remain on the waitlist of your top-choice school whilst securing your spot at another institution. Pay close attention to the deadlines to pay your security deposit, in case things don’t work out with your first-choice school.  

5. Stay positive. Take a deep breath and feel confident that you put your best foot forward. No matter the outcome, you should be proud of your accomplishments to make it this far in the process. A waitlist decision is not an outright “no,” and it’s very likely that your application was favored over a pool of thousands of applicants from all over the world.

Veritas Prep college admissions consultants are ready to help you with strategies to get off the waitlist at your top-choice school. We are happy to review your waitlist love letter or assist you as you decide on which college is right for you. For help creating a top-notch college application, contact us today at 800.925.7737.