What To Do If You’re Waitlisted by a College

Getting waitlisted by a college can be disappointing, but remember it’s not a rejection. It also gives you a chance to reassess your college choices and decide the best route for you for the next four (or so) years. Here’s what to do if you’re waitlisted by a college.

student waitlisted by a college looking at her watch

Step #1: Decide If You Want to Still Try to Attend

When you receive a waitlist letter, you need to write the school and let them know if you want to stay on the list or not. If you’re not seriously interested in this college, there’s no reason to stay on the list. However, if it was your top choice, you may be tempted to wait.

It’s important to keep some things in mind while you make this decision as you will be notified much later than other students regarding acceptance.

  • You may have access to fewer housing options
    • If you’re not taken off the list, this could also be the situation at your backup school.
  • You may not qualify for financial aid packages.
  • You may lose out on other benefits other colleges are offering you.

Many schools don’t notify their waitlisted students if they’ve been accepted until after May 1st. This is often the deadline for notifying a college you’re going to attend. If you remain waitlisted, you may miss out on attending another four year college at all in the fall semester.

It’s essential to weigh your choice carefully here and make an informed decision. You should also be realistic with yourself. If you don’t think there is a good chance you will be accepted in the end, it’s best not to wait.

Step #2: Explore Your Other Options

If you decided on telling the school you’ll stay on the list, it doesn’t mean you can’t use this time for valuable research and rethinking your situation. You have to use the next few weeks to explore and review your other college choices. Did you receive acceptance letters from other schools you applied to?

You will want to start reviewing the pros and cons of each of these schools. You should also consider what you’re going to do if you don’t get in and don’t accept any other college offers. Remember: You can always go to another school, even community college, and reapply to your top choice the following year.

If you want help comparing schools side by side, just use College Raptor’s free match tool! You can discover anything from acceptance odds, academic match, and plenty of information on majors and campus life.

Doing this sooner rather than later will help you get an accurate picture of your next steps if you aren’t taken off the list. You don’t want to hold out hope and be forced to make a last minute decision if you aren’t accepted to your top school choice.

Step #3: Contact the School (If You’re Staying on the Waitlist)

If you are dead set on attending the college that waitlisted you, you might want to consider contacting them. This shows that you are sincerely interested in attending their school. You can opt to contact the admission office with a letter that details your desire to attend or even request an interview. You absolutely do not want to badger the office, but making an effort here can make a difference.

What To Do If You’re Waitlisted by a College

Being waitlisted gives you the opportunity to reassess your college experience and what’s important to you regarding your education. Whatever decision you make, don’t make it lightly. Review your options carefully before choosing any route.

 

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