4 Steps to Get Off the Waitlist and Into Your Dream College

Thursday, December 30, 2021

If you have got waitlisted in your top options, nothing is lost yet! Do you want to try and get off the waitlist and into your dream college? Here are 4 steps you can take to make it happen.

When you start to get the responses to your college applications, you might feel a mixture of different feelings. You’re both excited and scared, as your future is uncertain and that letter might make it a little less uncertain. But, sadly, you open it and see: WAITLIST.

What can you do now? Well, you haven’t received the expected “You have been admitted. But, on the upside, you haven’t been rejected! 

When choosing the colleges we want to apply to, we know why our top choices are our top choices. So, giving up on our dream college is not an option! Not everything is lost yet! In this article, we provide 4 steps you can take to get off the waitlist.

What to do when you get waitlisted in the college of your dreams

4 steps you can take to try and get off the waitlist:

#1: Accept the spot on the college's waitlist

You have two options when being waitlisted: (1) Accept the waitlist offer; (2) reject the waitlist offer. If this university is one of your top choices, make sure to formally accept the waitlist offer. This keeps you in the game. 

#2: Express interest in the college

You should absolutely contact the college admissions office in order to demonstrate a continued interest. Colleges and universities don’t require students to follow up, but it is essential that you show a continued interest in pursuing admission at the school.

You could write an email or give a phone call. You might even consider visiting in person if you do not live too far from the campus. The point of reaching out is to maintain a positive relationship with the institution and re-emphasizing your enthusiasm for attending. 

#3: Submit a deposit to another institution

You may be waitlisted from your first-choice college but we encourage you to submit a deposit to another university before the deadline. This action will ensure that you have a university to begin when the next semester rolls around. 

#4: Check for additional information

Follow up with the college’s admissions office and see if you can learn anything else about the size of the waitlist pool. 

According to the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), 40 percent of schools reported using a waitlist and accepted about 25 percent of the students who chose to remain on the waitlists.

International Students: What to do when getting waitlisted?

International students can also find the previous steps helpful in order to up their chances of admission into the top U.S. university of their choice.

Note: Remember that getting waitlisted isn’t the worst possible outcome. Keep your hopes up and do everything at your disposal to try and get the outcome you want!

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