As a graduate of one small college (1,000 students in a town of 10,500) and…
Your student may have dreamed of attending a certain university for several years, believing it to be a perfect fit, only to receive notification of being waitlisted. When you have high hopes of a smooth transition and entrance into college, being waitlisted can feel very discouraging. Do not panic. Although it can be difficult, you do have some control over how you handle this news.
What does it mean?
Earning the status of waitlist is not a decline of admission, nor a guarantee of future admission. Waitlisting gives colleges some flexibility and control over how many students will join the incoming freshman class. Do not be dismayed, being waitlisted could have absolutely nothing to do with your child personally. It could be a space issue. The college may have had too many similar applicants or there may be a particularly high demand for his or her major. All of these factors are out of your control. Waitlist letters from colleges will include important information such as when you can expect to hear a future decision, so be sure to read them carefully.
What can you do?
After your initial disappointment subsides, your student could draft a letter of continued interest to the office of admissions. Address the letter to the director or dean of admissions. In the letter, they can express why the school remains their top choice, offer any new information about themself that could make them stand out from other applicants such as any recent awards received or updated test scores. If they have been on the campus for an in-person visit, you can point out specific things about the school that are of interest or benefit to them. The letter of continued interest is sufficient and there would be no need to call the office of admissions directly.
After sending the letter, it is good to start developing a plan B and C. This is in your control and will help you continue to move forward with a successful college admission. For plan B, choose a school similar to the one your child was waitlisted at. Think about some of the attributes of the chosen school and look for similarities in your choice B school. I have long had the belief that sometimes things do not work out for a reason. It is possible that your child would be far better off with a plan B school. The plan C school is the “if everything else fails” plan. This is the school that you know your student has already been accepted to or could be and it is a safe option. For many students, this could be their local community college. It may not be their first choice, however, they can acquire the general education courses there, save money on tuition and make a more gradual entrance into another college.
With plans B and C designed, you can rest easy. Know that one of these options will be favorable to future goals. Be patient, and help your child to stay encouraged. College decisions have a way of working themselves out and your son or daughter can have a great experience, even if the plans change along the journey. The professionals at My College Planning Team can help if you need assistance throughout the college journey.