Advice for Students on the Wait List

anxietyWhile May 1st has come and gone and the majority of high school seniors know where they will attend college next year, some students are still in a holding pattern.  They are stuck in the purgatory of college admissions.  They are on the wait list.

Reality is that there is no way to predict if you will be taken off the wait list of a college.  You can look at the numbers from last year and gauge your chances, but only the college knows if they will need wait listed students to fill spots in their class.  Even if the odds are against you, you should not sit around and not do anything about it.  Here are three things you can do to increase your chances of being taken of the wait list.

  1. Continue to show interest.  Some colleges rank their wait list based on the review of your application. Your overall admission score can include your testing and your grades and the students with the highest scores will be taken of the wait list first.  However, some colleges rank students based on interest.  All colleges are very conscious of their yield, so they want to admit students off their wait list that they think are going to enroll, so it is essential that you continue to show interest in the college you are waiting to hear from.  If you have not done so already, send an email, write a letter, do something that continues to document your interest in the college.  In your letter, you should highlight what you hope to add to their college community.  Be specific.  Now is the time to really show that this college is the place for you.
  2. Send updated grades.  If you have finished your final semester, go ahead and send in updated grades (especially if they are strong).  This again will show interest, but it will also show the college that you have continued to be a strong student.
  3. Send updates on accomplishments.  This time of year is filled with banquets and award ceremonies.  Were you honored for anything?  Let the college know.  Again, this will help them see how you will contribute to their community.

Some students also submit additional letters of recommendation from teacher’s or their guidance counselor, but colleges would more than likely want to hear directly from you.  While getting of the wait list is a guessing game, students should try and do what they can to get the decision they want.  Colleges will usually inform students by June 1st.  If you don’t hear back by then, you may want to let go and get excited about the other opportunities ahead of you.

Katherine Price

Senior Associate

Published by Mark Montgomery

Mark is a leading educational consultant. His experience as a professor, college administrator, and youth mentor help him guide students from around the country and around the world.

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  1. iam Mr. Omer Abdalla
    from sudan country
    my Son want to study in USA UNIVERSITY
    undergraduate medicine
    i want to know full information
    about study
    in USA
    the documents
    the fees
    all thing belong study in USA

  2. Hello.
    I’m happy to help, if I can. First off, however, there is no “undergraduate medicine” degree in the US. Medical school must be preceded by 4 years of undergraduate work. If you want direct entry to medical school, you’ll have to look to Europe, Hong Kong, or many other countries. Second, there is very little financial aid for international students. If your son is one of the top students in Sudan, then there may be a chance.
    Perhaps you’d like to contact me via my contact form or call at your convenience. I have worked with other students from East Africa, and I’d be happy to help your son.
    Best regards,

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