The faster you contact the admissions office about your waitlist status, the bigger impression you’ll make. Sending a thank you note to let the school know they’re one of your top choices and that you’re still interested in attending may be the difference between the school choosing you over someone else. Don’t pester the school by sending an email every week or getting family or alumni to put in a good word for you, but definitely let admissions know about any additional extracurriculars or skills you may have forgotten to include in your initial application. Take control and let them know why you’d be both a good academic fit for the school and how you’d contribute to the overall campus community.
Look at Your Options
Don’t give up hope that you may get into your waitlisted school, but don’t bank on getting in, either. Look at any acceptance letters you do have, and decide which school you still might want to attend out of those. Prepare to go to there, just in case. If you ignore all your other options and wait to hear back from your waitlisted school, you may run out of time to start college as planned at any school.
It’s best to proceed as if you won’t get accepted to your waitlisted school and focus your efforts on your second choice. You can always change where you plan to go if you do get accepted by your waitlisted college, and you can always study at your second-choice school for a semester or two before reapplying and transferring to another one.
Likely, the school that waitlisted you will want to see transcripts of your grades from your final semesters in high school. If you keep your grades up, or even improve them, it tells the school that you’ll be a good fit for them academically.
If your grades slip, you’ll have a lesser chance of gaining acceptance. If you also have the time to take on some last minute extracurriculars or community events, go for it. Involvement in both school and local communities is always a great selling point, and can help you stand out from the crowd of other waitlisted applicants.
Investigate Your Chances
Call the Admission Office or try to find information online about how many students the school typically places on their waitlist each year, and how many students were accepted off of those waitlists in previous years. (Sites like Big Future list waitlist odds for most schools.) If the chance of being accepted is fairly high, it may pay off to push hard and devote a lot of energy into trying to be accepted. If the rate of acceptance is incredibly low, it may be better to focus more effort into enrolling at your second choice. You should never give up all hope or slack off because you think acceptance is impossible, but being realistic can have more benefits in the long run.
Whether you ultimately get accepted or not, you achieved something many applicants couldn’t. The fact that you were waitlisted at all means you have great potential and are well on your way to exceeding in your college career, no matter which school you attend. Hearing the news that you were waitlisted may not feel like a victory in the moment, but it is an accomplishment in its own right. Don’t beat yourself up too much.