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Admissions Decisions and Next Steps: The Waiting List

Yesterday, we looked at admissions rejection letters.  Today we will talk about the next most dreaded decision, the wait list.

  • The waiting game: If you receive your decision and you have been placed on the school’s waiting list, unfortunately you are going to have to wait a little longer to know the fate of your application.  Being wait listed is very similar to being deferred and if you are in this situation, you should follow the guidelines I previously posted  for deferred students. You will have to deposit at another school and if your first choice school takes you off their wait list (which may not happen until June) you will have to forfeit the deposit you submitted at the other school.
  • Wait list and financial aid:  Another unfortunate reality of being on the wait list, is that often times schools will not be able to provide financial aid for students they take off of the wait list.  If financial aid is a big concern for you, you should call and ask if there will be financial aid available for students admitted off of the wait list prior to deciding whether or not you want to remain on the wait list.

Unfortunately, being on the waiting list is the purgatory of college admissions.  You need to discuss with your family the pros and cons of remaining on a waiting list. Here are some questions to ponder:

  • Realistically, will you be able to enroll at the school if you are admitted in June or July?
  • How likely is it that you will be able to attend if you are not able to obtain financial aid?
  • Will there be housing available to students admitted off the waiting list?  If not, are you willing to live off-campus?
  • What courses will be available to students admitted off the waiting list?  Are you at a disadvantage in registering for courses?
  • How comfortable is you family with losing the deposit you submitted to another school?

Tomorrow we will look at acceptance letters and examine next steps for the schools you have been admitted to.


Katherine Price

Senior Associate


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