Gerald Bradshaw: Applicants on waiting list can improve odds
April 19, 2012 4:24PM
Updated: May 21, 2012 8:37AM
Question: “I received word that I am on the waiting list for one of my preferred universities. What are my chances of getting admitted, and is there anything I can do to move myself up on the list?”
Answer: Most students who apply to top colleges and universities generally apply to 10 or more schools.
Chances are, you were admitted to some schools, rejected by a few and put in limbo by being placed on a waiting list at others.
If you are on the waiting list, you might be accepted at a later date, depending on the number of openings the school has left after admitted students confirm their decisions to attend.
Although most colleges notify wait-listed students of their decisions by early May, it could take until the end of summer before you receive a decision.
Most colleges do not place students on a waiting list if there is not a realistic chance of getting admitted after a second round of evaluations. This means students who want to remain on the waiting list have work to do.
I suggest you send the university a letter renewing your interest in the school and sharing any new milestones in your life since applying last fall. This information is often the deciding factor in wait-list decisions.
Many applicants look stronger in the last semester of their senior years after receiving an academic award or finishing first in a national competition. Colleges need to be notified about these honors.
It is important to emphasize the fact that the college where you are wait-listed is your first choice. You need to convince officials that if you are admitted, you will attend.
If possible, I highly recommend that you schedule an in-person interview with the admissions office at your preferred school to convince officials of your sincerity. This especially helps students who have strong interview skills.
Wait-listing is a legitimate way to tell students they will be reconsidered if space in the class becomes available.
If you really want to attend the college or university of your choice, it is best to do everything you can to stay on the waiting list.