How Not to Get Stuck on the Admissions Wait List

So you’ve applied to a number of colleges, but your first pick has told you that you are on their waiting list.  What should you do?  Getting on that list can be rather frustrating when all you want is to get accepted to your favorite school. Still, you should try to look at the bright side–at least you still have a chance.  The best thing for you to do is try and maximize your chance of getting off that list and into college.  Here’s how:

Be persistent but not annoying

One of the first steps toward getting accepted is to show that you are interested and that you actually do want to get admitted.(1)  Give the admission office a call to get an update on your situation and to ask if there is anything more that you can do.  Some schools will accept letters of appeal, while others strictly urge you not to send any letters of intent unless it is by their request. You may also want to let the college know about any new developments that might help your chances, such scoring higher in SAT or doing a better personal statement example.  Just remember that there is a fine line between being persistent and being annoying, and you certainly don’t want to annoy the admission committee that processes hundreds of applications and personal statement examples.(2)

Let the school know that it’s your first choice

Another way of boosting your chances to get accepted is to let the school know that it is your first choice.  You can do this by writing the school a letter, restating your interest.  Try to focus on why you want to go to the school and what makes the school a great educational institution.  Get some ideas from good examples of personal statement online.  For instance, you can say that it is a reputable business course or has a unique curriculum that you will greatly benefit from.  When writing letters like this, it’s important to avoid sucking up or sounding desperate.  Try to be objective and honest the same a way a winning personal statement example would be written.(3)

Prove that you can pay

Finally, you can also try to get off the wait list by proving that you can pay.  Some schools put applicants on the wait list because they have financial issues, such as international students who don’t have a job or anyone who can provide them financial aid.  It is important to prove to these schools that you are willing to do what it takes to pay for your tuition and other costs.  If you are at a loss to find ways to pay for your tuition, you may want to consider grants, scholarships, or loans.


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