Applications are in and decisions are rolling out. You’re eagerly checking your mail for anticipated acceptances or dreaded denials. But wait, what if you’re waitlisted?

Of course being waitlisted is not the best news, but it’s also not the worst. It’s not an acceptance, but it’s not a denial, so that’s worth celebrating! Being waitlisted just means that even though you met the admission requirements, there were more applicants with stronger academic profiles than the college had room for. In this case, the college will wait until they receive enrollment decisions from the group of admitted students before reevaluating the students in the waitlist pool. Some colleges may state when their review period will begin, but others may wait until after “Decision Day” (May 1st). 

So what should I do?

Make a Decision

You must choose if you would like a place on the waitlist or not. If you don’t, you won’t be added to the waitlist pool and will therefore forfeit your chances of moving into an admitted status. In deciding, you should also weigh the drawbacks, such as potentially having less housing options, financial aid awards, and just having to wait. If it’s your dream school and you would do anything to get in, accept a waitlist spot. If it’s not worth it to you, move on to your other schools. 

Improve Your Profile 

I know it’s senior year and you’re ready to be done, but it’s more important than ever to keep studying and stay involved if you want a chance to get off the waitlist! The colleges will review your transcripts during the reevaluation process and they that you put in the work and stayed committed.

Some schools allow or even strongly encourage you to submit additional materials, such as updated test scores, transcripts, awards, accomplishments, or new leadership positions to strengthen your application. But wait – this is not always the case! Some schools don’t want anything else and don’t want to be bothered with extra materials. Make sure to read the waitlist notice email or letter thoroughly before sending anything. If it doesn’t say, ask the admission office. 

Keep Your Options Open 

Now is a great time to consider (and celebrate!) your current and potential acceptances. They may not be your dream school, but it’s still any acceptance is still an accomplishment! Compare the financial aid packages and do more research to see if you could call another school your college home.

If you do decide to join the waitlist, you should still put a deposit down at your second choice school well before “Decision Day” (May 1st) to guarantee that you will have somewhere to go next fall. If your waitlist school offers you admission and you accept, you will lose your original deposit, but that’s still a better risk than not enrolling in any college. 

If you only applied to one school or if you haven’t received any other acceptances, you may want to consider applying to some safety schools. Find some colleges with higher admit rates and where your test scores will likely stand out. It doesn’t mean you have to go there, but it’s always good to have some fallback options if needed. And hey, you may even be offered a better financial aid package if you’re stronger than their average applicants! 

As a College Dream Builder consultant, I help my students build a strong college list with a range of target, safety, and reach schools to apply to. I want my students to be excited about where they’re applying to have a range of options to choose from before Decision Day. If you would like help with this, or any part of the college admissions process, College Dream Builder is here to help

Until Next Time,

Megan Bugarin, College Dream Builder Consultant

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