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5 Things You Can Do if You’re Waitlisted…

So you’ve been waitlisted to your top college?  What should you do now?

First, know that a waitlist decision does not mean you’re rejected.  In fact, it sometimes can be a matter of showing the school that you’re actually interested in their program above all others.  After all, a big factor in college rankings is a school’s yield rate, (the amount of students accepted who actually attend) so they can’t accept all potentially qualified applicants.

Top Test Prep can help you get off the waitlist so you’re accepted….

Here are 5 simple things to do if you’ve been waitlisted to your top school:

(1) Don’t panic.  The first thing you should realize is that there are many reasons you might have been waitlisted.  Perhaps the number of applcations this year was incredibly high, and the number of qualified applicants was also just as high.  A waitlist is NOT a rejection.  In fact, it sometimes can be quite to the contrary.  If you’re waitlisted to only one college, concentrate 100% of your energy on getting into this college.  If you’re waitlisted at more than one college, pick the one you’re most interested in at this point.  Don’t spread yourself too thin.  It’s time to get focused.

(2) Contact another teacher/instructor to write you a supplemental recommendation.   What this means is that you should have one more recommendation written to highlight your skills and how you have contributed to your school.  This should be sent directly to the admissions office and should be something incredibly specific.   Don’t send another fluffy “oh, he’s so great letter…”  Instead, have them write a heartfelt letter demonstrating how you’d contribute to their school.

(3) Take another SAT and/or ACT.  Though this is probably not something most students want to hear, you need to know that it does matter.  Though most top colleges let students know whether they’re accepted in April, you will still have time to take another actual SAT or ACT exam.  Indeed, with the new “Score Choice” reporting of College Board, I would highly encourage you to take up to 2 or 3 SAT / ACT exams, respectively.

(4) Write a genuine letter of interest.  This is a letter that comes from you and goes straight to the admissions office and/or Director of Admissions.  The letter should include something specific about their school that it so appealing to you.  If you write something broad and general such as, “wow, you’ve got a great history department…”, I highly doubt they’ll care.  Rather, consider writing a note about how you visited the college and were able to meet with a couple professors who inspired your interests in your potential majors.  If you haven’t had the chance to visit the college – go visit!  You never know who you’ll meet on your visit – perhaps an admissions officer who could influence the decision.

(5) Update the school on one or more major accomplishments.  Between the time you applied originally to a college, and now, there’s likely (or hopefully) a couple things you’ve done in school that deserve serious praise.  No, I don’t mean that you should tell the college you made the honor roll.  Instead, tell them you won the 1st prize in a major competition (clearly, only if you did).  Or talk about how you started a new club that so many students joined;  you can even talk about challenges you faced and things you’ve done to overcome adversity.  Whatever the accomplishments you tell the admissions office about… be honest, open, candid and as specific as possible.

I hope these things help you better understand what you can do if you’re waitlisted to your top school.   We can definitely help you on many fronts – whether through improving your scores or through college admissions counseling.  Just let us know if you need help!


This article was written by College Admissions Expert, Ross Blankenship.  Blankenship is also the Founder and Chairman of Top Test Prep, which provides SAT, ACT prep, and college admissions counseling programs to help students get into their top schools.  Call (800) 501-7737 to learn more.



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