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What You Can Do to Improve Your Chances of Getting Off the Waitlist

It’s that time of year where students are hearing from schools. Hopefully you’ve gotten a lot of acceptances, but most students get at least a few rejections. Of course, there’s also the dreaded waitlist. If you’ve been put on the waitlist, I have some great tips to give you the best chances of getting accepted. It’s important to remember, though, some schools take very few students off the waitlist and put a lot on. My number one tip, first and foremost, is to fall in love with one of the schools you were accepted to if you haven’t already.

1. Accept the Position Right Away

Remember, the number one priority for these schools when it comes to taking kids off the waitlist is that they will matriculate. You need to demonstrate that you will attend if accepted. Accepting the position on the waitlist as soon as possible is a great way to show your excitement to attend.

2. Get Additional Letters of Rec

Do you have a relationship with a professor or someone else at the dream college where you were waitlisted? Do you have a great relationship with your principal or guidance counselor? You ask these people to write an additional letter of recommendation for you after being waitlisted. This should only be done for your top choice school.

Be sure to let your recommender know how much you want to attend the school. They should know you very well, so don’t ask someone you’ve only spoken to a few times unless they are a really big deal.

3. Send a Letter of Intent

Be sure to follow up with admissions with a letter thanking them for giving you a spot on their waitlist and reiterating your intention to attend if accepted. Be sure to include some things you love about the school. Make sure you do some deep research and include specific classes, professors, and organization you’re interested in. Be polite and grateful and leave them with the impression that you will matriculate if accepted off of the waitlist.

4. Visit Campus

Especially if you haven’t previously visited the campus, this can be a really excellent wa to demonstrate your interest in the school. You can even try to schedule a meeting with an admissions rep. Keep in mind, this may not be possible, and you must strike a delicate balance of demonstrating your excitement and interest without putting the admissions officer in an awkward position. Don’t ask why you were waitlisted. Don’t beg and plead or even make your case. Simply talk to them about what you love about the school, ask good questions about what you’re interested in, and let them know you’re really excited and would love to attend.

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