Ten Tips to Get Off A Waitlist (or Deferral List)


Congratulations for making it this far. You most likely have other good options, but if you really want to go to a college that place you on its waitlist, follow as many of these 10 tips as possible. Do not do this for a school you will not attend. Colleges often take kids off waitlists often who can afford to pay outright, have special connections, fulfill regional needs, or make a spectacular case. Remember, spots only open if the college has available spaces.

Ten Tips to Get Off A Waitlist (or Deferral List)

1.  Be happy with another college to which you got accepted. Because if these tips don’t work, you can and will find happiness at another school. Many, many students do and never look back.

2.  Make sure you accept the waitlist invitation. It is no longer assumed you will accept so send in the form asap.

3.  Write a letter to the Admissions Committee. Stress your interest in your waitlisted institution and explain why you feel you are still an appropriate candidate for admissions. Update them on your academic, leadership, and initiative accomplishments since you applied in January. Consider this a cover letter to your overall waitlist application. Do not restate all that you said earlier in your application. But really express passionately your commitment to the campus. Commit to going there if you get off. You can even mention where else you got in if these schools are peers or close matches to the waitlisted school.

4. If you can, visit the institution one more time and revisit the admissions office to remind them of your interest. Contact anyone in the admissions office whom you met in person or via email.

5. Ask a senior year teacher, who has not already written you a letter to this school, to write you a letter of recommendation. This letter should really emphasize your academic talents and why you will thrive at that college.

6. Get an updated letter of recommendation from your guidance counselor or even have your counselor contact the school personally.

7. Contact your alumni interviewer–if you think you had a good interview…Thank the interviewer again and then ask for any advice about moving from waitlist to admissions.

8. Make sure you update the academic portion of your application. This would include third-quarter grades (which will play an important role in your re-review). Mention exemplary academic projects.

9. Do not ask people who do not have major contacts with school to contact school. Do not have anyone other than school teachers and officials write letters. The only other exception would be someone for whom you did a major project this year…volunteer leader, youth group…only someone who can attest to new work this year and who knows you really, really well.

10. Please find happiness in the schools that accepted as you as many colleges have long, long waitlists.

Thanks to JHU for many of the ideas included in this note.

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About rjoseph

I am the creator and visionary behind this site. I want to do everything I can to help students consider college as an option, even when they may be the first in their family to go or may not have the funds at hand. Don't let anyone tell you that you don't have the right or the ability to go to college.

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