One of the most difficult positions for students to be in is to find themselves admitted to the waiting list at their 1st choice college. Suddenly, the college admissions process becomes even more complex, as the student must weigh waiting for a spot to open vs. accepting an admission to a less desirable school.
Some of the things that students can do to make the most of their chances on the waiting list include:
- Being informed as to what the “waiting list” means. Even if your child eventually gets accepted from the waiting list of the school, he/she may miss out on scholarship, housing, or internship opportunities that are available to first round students. If you were depending on Financial Aid to pay for a portion of tuition, this may be a deciding factor
- Demonstrate enthusiasm. It can be hard to go back to the college that has placed you on a wait list and still demonstrate enthusiasm, but this may help rank you higher on the list. Send a letter of appeal to the Admission Board, not to argue the placement on the list, but simply to state that you’re still very eager to enroll. You may also wish to include referrals from your guidance counsellor or a mentor in high school who can vouch that you would be an excellent admission prospect.
- Do a second interview. If you had a previous admission interview and you genuinely feel that you blew it (you were sick, you were late, you were stressed about something that day, etc), request a second admission interview with your ideal college and wow them. Your goal is to make them think “We made a mistake overlooking this student the first time!”
- Make backup plans. The only thing worse than not starting September in your 1st choice college is not starting college at all! Re-assess your 2nd or 3rd choice colleges and seriously consider if you’d be willing to settle for them. Inquire as to their policies for transfer to other colleges – perhaps you can start your college career there, and transfer to your 1st choice college in the 2nd year.
Playing the waiting game can be stressful, but it’s not the death blow to a strong college dream. Make the most of the waiting list with these simple steps.