college waitlist tipsIt feels a lot like waiting for someone to ask you to prom. It’s the scary place between acceptance and rejection.

Let’s talk about the college waitlist.

Applying to college is supposed to be clear cut, right? You’re supposed to get an acceptance or a rejection. Acceptances are great. Rejections sting a little. Either way, at least you know where you stand.

But, then there’s the college waitlist. It feels a lot like waiting for someone to ask you to prom. It’s the scary place between acceptance and rejection.

As bad as it feels, placement on the waitlist doesn’t equate to the end of your college career. You’re still going to go to college. You’re still going to do great things and win at life!
So, relax a little. Take a breath, lean back, and we’ll tell you what you need to do.

Accept the College Waitlist Invitation

First thing’s first.

If you don’t want to remain on the waitlist, notify the school. This will allow the school to focus on the students who do wish to attend. It’s the polite thing to do.

If you do want to attend the school that put you on the waitlist, you need to tell them so. Confirm your spot on the college waitlist.

Even though you’ve accepted your spot, you should still send in acceptance to your next choice school. Just in case things do not work out with the waitlist, you need to have a “backup” plan. Send in your deposit and do what you must at your next-choice school to be sure you’ll be attending school in the fall.

For both schools, you need to look into your financial aid options immediately. The cost to attend college is pretty huge. You already knew that, but that’s why it’s so important to plan financially as soon as you can.

Click here to look for financial aid options based on you and your college choices.

Get Ready to Meet Deadlines

For waitlisted students, May and June are sure to be very busy.

But here’s a piece of advice that may surprise you: don’t do anything in April. That’s right.

April is not the time to be fighting your way off the college waitlist. In April, college admissions focuses on the students who did get accepted. Any efforts you make to impress them in April might slip through the cracks.

After May 1, though, it’s game on. Have everything you need to send to your school ready to go, including:

Send a letter or email

Send a letter or email that details your eagerness to attend. You should include how you see yourself at the school. Tell them what courses you would take. Tell them why you’re the right candidate.

Most importantly, update the school on what’s new. Tell them about how your grades have improved or your recent accomplishments. They want to see that you’ve be making progress.

Get new recommendation letters

Bolster your college waitlist chances with new recommendation letters. You should ask teachers from your senior year who have not provided you a recommendation letter yet. You can even ask your guidance counselor.

Either way, recommendation letters will show your school that you’ve been a top-notch student.

Reconnect with alumni

Did you meet an alum at a college fair or for an interview? They can be a great ally. You probably made a really great impression on them – after all, it’s much easier to impress in person than on paper.

Reach out to the alum to ask how you can better your college waitlist chances. They’re bound to have some really great advice.

Visit the campus and admissions office

If you can, make another trip to the campus and remind them of your interest. This is also a great time for you to reflect on your decision to remain on the waitlist. Is your dream school still as dreamy as it was the last time you visited?

If it’s lost its luster, maybe this isn’t the school for you. Don’t be afraid to change your mind. Maybe your second-choice school is where you’re meant to be.

Get Excited (You Deserve It)

Sure, this is a stressful time. But you should be excited. You should be happy. You’re moving on to the next big chapter in life! This is a huge accomplishment.

Don’t let the college waitlist tarnish your excitement.

First of all, be happy with and find some comfort in the schools you were accepted to. If you don’t make it off of the waitlist, you will attend one of these schools. And you’ll be beyond happy there.

Here’s the best advice anyone can give about the college waitlist: no matter what happens, no matter what decision you end up making – be happy!

Check out these other resources about the college waitlist:

“Your Top College Put You On The Waitlist. Now What?” by Red Kite

“Don’t Wait to Get Off a College Waitlist: 10 Proactive Tips” by Rebecca Joseph on TeenLife Blog

“Wait and See? Tips for Getting Off the Waitlist” by Ivywise