5 Key Tips to Raise Your College Waitlist Chances
Getting waitlisted doesn’t mean sitting around and waiting (as the word implies). Rather, there are several actions you can take at this time to increase your odds of getting off the college waitlist.
Here are our top fix tips to help you raise your chances of securing an acceptance from the waitlist at your top-choice school.
#1: Write a Letter of Interest
One of the best things you can do during this time is to write a letter to the school you’ve been waitlisted at emphasizing your continued interest and how the school is your top choice. Remember that colleges want to admit applicants who are very likely to attend. And by confirming that you’ll 100% attend the school if admitted, you are effectively increasing your odds of getting off the waitlist. (Note that this type of letter is non-binding, so you’re still allowed to change your mind later on!)
Your letter of interest can be an email to your admissions officer or regional dean, or even a note on your college’s waitlist response form (many schools use this form or a similar form to confirm whether an applicant wants to remain on the waitlist or not).
#2: Send Important Updates (on Accomplishments)
If you’ve had any notable accomplishments since getting waitlisted, you can actually enhance your application by sharing these successes with the school that’s waitlisted you. In general, these should be highly relevant accomplishments and updates. If you’re not applying for a science major, it might not be that beneficial to tell the school about your successful science project, for instance. You can typically update your school on what you’ve been up to via either the waitlist response form (which most schools will give you online) or a letter or email.
Even if you haven’t had any major achievements recently, try to draw attention to any positive changes in your life, such as awards you’ve received, good or better grades you’ve gotten, and so on. Some schools, such as Johns Hopkins, allow you to send an updated resume if you wish to highlight any changes to or accomplishments in your extracurricular activities.
However, some colleges will not accept additional materials or information than what you originally submitted for your application. In these cases, you won’t be able to update the school on any new achievements you have, so don’t try to send an update since it won’t have any effect on your chances of getting admitted!
#3: Keep Up Your Grades
Even though you’ll only have a month or two of high school left by the time you’ve been waitlisted, it’s still important to get good grades in all your classes. Many colleges allow (and encourage!) waitlisted applicants to send updates relating to any (positive) changes in their grades or GPA. This could be a major improvement to a specific grade in a class you’re taking or new grades or transcripts that have only recently been released (and that are more recent than your mid-year report). For example, Vanderbilt recommends that waitlisted applicants “consider submitting any substantially relevant new information (e.g., new grades that might be available).” You can send an updated transcript or write a brief email or letter detailing your recent grades.
#4: Stay in Contact
Some schools give slight preference to waitlisted applicants who make an effort to stay in contact with the school, specifically the admissions committee/officer or regional dean. This generally just means keeping in touch via email. You might occasionally send an email to notify the school/dean of any recent updates about you or to elaborate on your continued interest in the school.
On its official website, Franklin & Marshall College states that “continuing to maintain and achieve outstanding grades, as well as having occasional email contact with your Regional Dean, will supplement your interest in the College”.
#5: Get an Interview (If Possible)
Schools don’t typically allow this, but if a college is willing to interview waitlisted applicants or let them come to campus to interview, it’s worth it to take them up on this offer. Make sure you prepare for the interview and are able to answer key questions such as why you want to go to this school and what you hope to do with your education in the future.