Waitlisted, What To Do Now?

By Julie Gross

Many of you have heard back from the schools your student has applied to and the response is that have been waitlisted because of a record number of applications.  What do you do now?

Your student can email the admissions office and let them know that this school is still their top choice, if that is still the case.  At the same time, they can make them aware of good grades they have received or any other achievements since they applied.  This may help move them up on that waiting list.  At some schools, you can even schedule an interview. If your student has been waitlisted, they will not find out the final decision until after May 1. This is when the schools will have a better idea of who has committed and which spots remain open. In the meantime, you will need to put down a deposit on school that your student has been accepted to.  If your student is ultimately accepted off of the waitlist to their number one choice, you will just lose your deposit at the other school.

I have noticed with my clients that there are a good number of students that apply to over 18 schools, most of which they have no intention of attending. This is part of the reason these schools are getting that record number of applications.  It is important to understand that many times, schools do not want to overextend acceptances to students that will more than likely not attend as this will have a negative affect on their yield. These schools may be holding off to find out which students are truly interested in attending.  

If the school your student was waitlisted to is not of high interest, it is important to withdraw your application so that other students can benefit from your now open spot. I often hear of kids staying on the waitlist just to see if they will ultimately get accepted, even if they do not plan on attending.  Transparency is always best.  Be grateful if your student was accepted to their number one choice and understand that not all students were as lucky. Your student withdrawing their application to a school they are no longer interested in can help another student achieve their dream.

It always amazes me that every year these schools seem to get more competitive and more expensive. If your student was placed on a waitlist, it does not necessarily mean that financial aid will be negatively impacted.  I have seen students get accepted off of a waitlist as late as July with outstanding financial aid awards. This process is almost over folks! Hang in there and stay positive!