WES Advisor Blog

Trusted Advice for Academic and Professional Success

What to Do if You Are Waitlisted by a College

Tuesday | April 5, 2016 | by Naimeesha Murthy

If you have been waitlisted by a college, it means the college likes you, but there is not enough room to accept all of the candidates the college wants. The advantage of being waitlisted is that you have not been denied admission, and you can take steps to try to change your status to “admitted.” Here we provide some next steps on what to do if you have been waitlisted.

What to Do:

  • Evaluate your admission status.
    Contact the admissions office and try to gather as much information as you can about the waitlist, for example, if there is a priority list, and where you fall among the waitlisted applicants. Most admissions professionals are willing to let you know your status on the waitlist. The higher you rank, the better your chances are of being accepted.
  • Write a letter to the admissions office.
    The college has already determined that you have the academic qualifications for admission. Now is the time to stress the areas that make you stand out and mention any non-academic factors that might help your case—especially any new achievements, certifications, or supplemental information. Emphasize your strong desire to attend college and make a case for why you are a good fit.
  • Request an interview.
    If you have not had a Skype or a telephone interview with the college, this may be a good chance to connect with someone personally to reiterate your interest.

What Not to Do:

  • Ask alumni to write to the school for you.
    It is rarely effective to find alumni who are willing to write letters of recommendation for you. Such letters tend to be shallow and they could make you look too desperate. Ask yourself if such a letter will make a difference in changing the admissions decision.
  • Communicate excessively.
    Do not send a lot of emails or call constantly to ask about your status. The extra communication does not add value, and it will give the admissions office more work to do. Instead, send one brief, sincere letter and wait for admissions to reach out to you before contacting them again.

While being on the college waitlist is not ideal, it is important to understand that admissions officers are tasked with the difficult job of selecting students for a course, and you should not take their decision personally. Do not forget—you are not the first waitlisted candidate and you certainly will not be the last.

We hope the above tips give you some direction when it comes—good luck!

Naimeesha Murthy

Naimeesha Murthy is a Marketing Project Manager at World Education Services.