Illustration for article titled How To Get Off A College Waiting ListPhoto: Helioscribe (Shutterstock)

If you applied to a dream school but ended up on the waiting list, all hope may be lost. In a sense, it might feel worse than being rejected. You haven’t technically been turned down, and the university seems at least a little interested in you. However, your place on the waiting list remains a blatant reminder that you are essentially in academic purgatory.

Fortunately, there are ways to get your application off the waiting list and onto the stack of acceptances. Here are some strategies to get this dream school off the despicable waiting list by the official registration deadline on May 1st.

Illustration for article titled How To Get Off A College Waiting List

Send a waiting list letter to the admissions office

A admissions officer has no incentive to lift the velvet rope and let you into school if they don’t know how excited you are about going to their university or college. This is why you need to prepare a waiting list letter – basically a letter of intent detailing how much in love you are with school and why you are a perfect fit.

G / O Media can receive a commission

The letter should also include new developments in your life and academic career, be it new honors, awards, extracurricular achievement, standardized test scores, and your grades for the spring semester. This is more than a flirtatious look at your preferred college. It is a clear statement of your plan to attend college at the school you have chosen. The letter should be sent either by post or by email in a package to the school’s admissions office.

Choosing who will be admitted to school and whose application will be put on the waiting list is a difficult process. You were put on the waiting list because the university saw value in your transcripts and essays, but you were stopped shortly before entry because the admissions office has limited places for the incoming freshman class.

Leave a deposit at another school

While you should try to get your name off a dream school waiting list, you need to be realistic. According to data from 91 universities US News & World ReportAround one in five applicants on waiting lists will eventually be admitted. That said, you should at least consider one alternative, and there is no better way to do it by leaving a security deposit at your second-choice school.

That is not an acceptance of defeat, mind you. Your deposit is usually only a few hundred dollars and is refundable. What you want is insurance that you are moving into a dorm (once the pandemic is over, obviously) and a deposit to keep it safe.

Illustration for article titled How To Get Off A College Waiting List

stay tuned

The waiting list letter is actually just the beginning of your search for the coveted letter of admission. If you receive any further awards after submitting your response to a waiting list letter, you should notify the university admissions office in a separate email. The bottom line is that you need to keep the university updated on all of the great events in your life so they can see how successful you are.

You should send new information when it really comes down to it. Feel free to send any other recommendations your teachers may want to write, and if you really feel like making an impression, other tools are available to you.

However, be careful not to overdo it. As Rick Bischoff, Vice President for Enrollment Management at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio, US News said:

What you want to avoid is the stalker mentality, which suddenly sees the student sending an email every three days, followed by seven additional letters of recommendation.

As hard as it is to think that way, don’t put too much emphasis on getting into a particular college. It is possible to ascribe an idealized and unrealistic idea to the college you are in love with. So stay grounded and understand that no matter where you go, you are likely to have a great experience.