In between rejection and acceptance sits a form of purgatory known as the waitlist. It’s where you go if your transcripts, test scores and admission essays are great, but they’re just not good enough to gain you instant admission. Similar to how you apply to different colleges because you know not all will accept you, colleges know not all of their accepted choices will choose to attend, leaving spaces to be filled. Instead of doing nothing, take an active role by keeping in contact with the university. If they know you’re interested, you’re more likely to get in when a spot opens. Here is our guide to improving your chance of getting accepted off of the waitlist.
As soon as they let you know you’re on their waitlist, thank them and explain how you are still very much interested in attending. A great approach is to express understanding in student population limitations but that you’re still very excited there’s a chance you’ll get to join them in the fall. This sets you apart from those that don’t reply to their status update. Articulating excitement is a means to show them that if admitted, you’ll take advantage of all of their opportunities to advance yourself and the school’s name.
Just because your application has been processed, it doesn’t mean that you should stop working toward your dream. Keep your possible future school updated on any achievements, awards, joined clubs, activities and even improved grades that occur after you have been waitlisted. Always remember that colleges and universities are looking to bring in students who will expand their prestige. The more proof you have that you’re willing to work hard, the more they’ll see you as an asset.
Personalities do not translate well on transcripts or essays. That’s why if you are a very charismatic individual, offer them the chance to interview you either on campus, over the phone or on a video chat. Even if you don’t base your success on personality, giving your name a face sets you apart from the tens of thousands of other faceless waitlisters. Should they decline an interview, follow this up with the fact that you’re always free should they have any further questions to keep communication open.
Colleges and universities have limited space on their campuses, and this is no fault of yours. Each and every year applications pour in from around the world as students work their hardest to get into a program that will help them realize their goals. Even if you put your best foot forward throughout the entire waitlist time period, there is a very good chance space just won’t open up. So long as you don’t let this defeat you, you’ll excel no matter where you end up.