Senior Strategies: What To Do If Waitlisted

Natalie Thompson
Natalie Thompson

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When you apply to college, it is like trying out for an athletic team. Top-ranked schools select the best students. If you find out you have been waitlisted, you may feel sad you didn’t make the team. Now, what to do if you get waitlisted? We have a few tasks for you.

Top tier schools select students they think will do well at their institution based on several factors including preparation for college, ability to pay, and unique capabilities. What is your next step if you find out you are on a waitlist? Here are some ideas:

Reevaluate your list:

Hopefully you applied to several schools you would like to attend so that you have choices after you hear back. If you are waitlisted, you need to decide if you really want to attend the school that waitlisted you or would rather attend another school you were accepted to. A college admissions counseling service, such as Empowerly, can help you work through this thought process.

Respond quickly about your intentions:

Schools consider you more highly if you respond quickly that you really would love to attend their school. You can supply additional information to the school, such as a letter stating why you value their school or ask for an interview. Do not contact them frequently: it won’t help your chances.

Consider another school:

Reexamine a school you were accepted to and look at the benefits of attending such as location, quality of teachers, and clubs and activities. A school who waitlisted you may have a good reputation but may not be the best fit for you.

Be polite and realistic:

Send each school who replied to you a thank you card for having considered you. Being grateful to schools will stand out from other applicants. In addition, do not go to extremes such as “I can only attend my top choice school,” or “I can’t attend college next year.” Trying to reapply for your top choice in the future delays opportunities you can have now.

Keep you current situation in mind:

As you finish your senior year, you need to keep your grades up (many schools check in on your final semester) and continue to prepare for college. You should still use your study skills, note taking skills, test taking skills, and participate in healthy activities you enjoy.

Be positive about your college options to help you feel better about your future. If you have prepared well, you can have a great college experience. Be open to possibilities so you make clear decisions despite any hurdles. Empowerly, a top college admissions counseling service, can help you in finding a good college fit. 

Questions? Let us know!