How can you get in off the waitlist?

As part our College Q & A guide, we decided to ask your questions to the the experts. Here are their answers.

Rebecca Joseph, Executive Director & Founder,

Wait, wait, wait. Be patient as you may not hear until the day before school starts. First of all, select a college to attend from the list of colleges that already accepted you. You should have great choices that are much better than the school that waitlisted you. Second, recognize that most colleges only take 10% or less off of their waitlists so don’t take it personally if you don’t get in. THERE ARE SOME THINGS YOU CAN DO TO INCREASE YOUR ODDS. 1. Write an updated email to the admissions office. Tell them about new and exciting things have happened to you since you applied. Highlight academic achievements, awards, and accomplishments. 2. Ask a senior year teacher to write you an additional letter of recommendation. 3. Visit again, if you have the time–Ideally after May 1, when admissions officers are now looking to waitlists. 4 Have your counselor contact the admissions office. 5. DON’T BE A PEST DON’T EVER HAVE YOUR PARENTS MAKE ANY OF THESE CONTACTS. Recognize, that colleges often take students who can pay outright and other students that meet regional or specific academic needs.

Ellen, Owner Ellen Richards Admissions Consulting

“How to Get Off the Waitlist for Colleges?” This year more than any other, waitlists are promising to be longer than the number of students admitted to a given college. Rumors about waitlisting as long as 10,000 people. So, what would a person do to get on a waitlist, especially if it’s their first choice school? The first thing that they can do is to call in any connections that they have at a particular school. For example, if a student has interviewed at that school, now is the time to contact the interviewer and remind that – first tell the interviewer how excited they are about the possible idea of attending the school. If the student has taken any summer courses or has taken any other courses with professors at the school, now is the time to get in contact with them. If the student happens to know any alumnus of the school very well who agree that you’re a good fit for them, that is another avenue for finding a way off the waitlist. We hear a lot lately about “demonstrated interests”. This phrase cannot be underestimated at all. Demonstrated interest is one of the major factors college admissions officers take into consideration when choosing their class. Clearly, they want to choose students who they know want to go to their school. The more interest you show, the more likely it is that you move up on the waitlist. You could keep in mind that waitlists are not ordered so you don’t move up or down a waitlist, depending on where you are on it, rather a student can randomly be taken from the waitlist just for any given reason. If any of this sounds too impossible to overcome or to accomplish, then it’s always a good idea to take a second look at some of those schools that may have been first choice had things gone little differently when you’re making your decisions about where to go to college. There is a school for everyone, there is a college for everyone and rarely are students ever upset about the school they end up attending. So, keep your chin high and hope for the best and know as with everything else in life that it will work out. Perhaps this will be one of your first life lesson in how to cope with finding your way when you’re not sure how to get there.

Patty Finer

There is some confusion from students and their families who had their applications “deferred” in the early round and unclear about what to do going forward. If you are a senior with this problem here is a deferral plan we on how to appraoch these issues beginning in December when students hear from early admissions colleges and universities. If you have been deferred from your early school, take a deep breath and take action as you must be proactive. If you simply do nothing, chances are you will not get in. Here is a plan of action you can take.: January Focus on your grades! The biggest reason for a deferral is mediocre grades senior fall – cut out your extras and focus on GRADES. All A’s will help. Retake the SAT or SAT Subject Tests on January 28th if that was a problem area (you can always go standby if you’ve not yet registered). If you don’t do better, just don’t send the new scores and no one will see them. If you do better, RUSH them to all your schools. Are there any awards or competitions awards or competitions you can enter or have won and not yet reported to the college? Any concrete accomplishment will be brought up down the line. Have you followed up with any professors at the college that you had spoken to? Let them know your plight and enlist their help. Call (or email) the admissions office a few days after you receive the deferral letter and speak with your admissions officer – the person who covers your area or who you interviewed with or if you are a minority student, the minority representative. Tell him or her how disappointed you are, how much you like the school, and ask what else you can do. LISTEN to any clues he or she might give you in the conversation. It’s important YOU make this call NOT your parents. We had one student discover that by not visiting her early school she was at a disadvantage. She immediately made plans to visit. Ask your guidance counselor to call both to support you, and to find out anything about WHY – any missing items? Tough year? Huge rise in applicants? School support is critical. Ask a senior year teacher to write you a letter of support. If you happen to know the headmaster/principal of your current school well, you can ask him/her to call or write on your behalf. February By the last week in February, you want to write a “deferral letter” stressing the following info: Anything NEW — grades, scores, awards, prizes, etc… — Since my deferral, I … (Don’t waste space with insignificant achievements as that would only weaken your case.) Have your school send your updated transcript including all new grades. Any interesting extracurricular additions, achievements, etc… Anything else that is interesting you didn’t mention elsewhere. An impassioned paragraph on WHY the school is still your first choice – summarize and stress WHAT YOU WOULD ADD to the college campus. Don’t forget to use the heading you used on all of your essays which includes your DOB, Name, High School and last 4 digits of your SS # (ie: xxx-xx-1234). March In early March, CALL again and speak to your regional admissions officer to touch base, ask if he/she got the letter, stress how it’s your first choice, and mention a few notable accomplishments (I pulled my grades up to all A’s and had the best quarter of my high school career…). You can email if they do not accept calls. Some final advice: If you have any strings to pull, now is the time to pull them. While we want you to advocate for yourself, don’t become a pest. You don’t want to stalk the admission office. Don’t let this deferral erode your confidence. Keep focused and remember that the odds these past few years have been at all time lows and you stood out enough not to be rejected.

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