Is it possible to get off the wait-list and get in?

By Lee Shulman Bierer

WHAT TO DO IF YOU’RE WAIT-LISTED

Commandment # 1 – DON’T WAIT

Waiting, i.e., doing nothing is the one thing you shouldn’t do, if you have any interest in possibly attending any schools where you’ve been wait-listed. If you haven’t yet responded to your wait-list schools, do it today or tomorrow. Get in touch with them. Fill out the form they sent that will keep your name on their wait-list.

Commandment # 2 – MAKE OTHER PLANS

Nobody can’t count on the wait-list, even if you’re the son or daughter of a faculty member. You need to put down a deposit at one of the schools where you were accepted by May 1st.

Commandment # 3 – TAKE A HARD LOOK AT YOUR OPTIONS

Take a look at your options and compare your wait-listed school(s) to the one school where you’re depositing. Take into account cost, distance from home and academic fit and if you would still choose to attend the wait-list school, then keep it on your list and respond. Truth is, when many students complete this exercise, they realize that they’d choose one of the schools where they’ve already been accepted.

Commandment # 4 – ASK YOURSELF THE TOUGH QUESTION

Can you honestly say that if accepted to your wait-list school that you would attend? Is it your number 1 choice? If, without hesitation, you feel comfortable writing to ONE school that it is your first choice and you can guarantee that if accepted, you would attend – then, and only then, you should write that in your letter to the Admissions Office.

Commandment # 5 – WITHDRAW FROM SCHOOLS WHERE YOU WERE ACCEPTED, BUT KNOW FOR SURE YOU WON’T BE ATTENDING

Open up the spot. Just as you’re eager to get off a wait-list at one or two schools, there are students eager to get off the wait-list at schools where you’ve been accepted but know you won’t be attending.

Commandment # 6 – WRITE THE LETTER OF CONTINUED INTEREST (LOCI)

The LOCI is now common lingo in the college admissions landscape. Write your LOCI and be as factual as possible. Flowery language saying you really want to attend because their campus is so beautiful or they are so highly ranked in US News & World Report is likely to send your letter to the dumpster. Provide an update on what you’ve been doing since you submitted your application. Tell them how you’re handling the Coronavirus and if you’re able to continue any of your clubs, organizations, community service. If you have figured out a way to “make the most” of Covid19 by delivering food (if you’re allowed), making phone calls to seniors, learned a new language, etc., then make sure you share that as well. Make sure you reiterate your reasoning on why you still want to attend and go back to Commandment # 4 and share your response, if appropriate. Don’t whine or complain and don’t say you know someone who was accepted and is choosing to go somewhere else and you’d be delighted to have their spot. Been done, not successful!

Yield at colleges and universities is unpredictable this year. Between the drop in the stock market, Covid19, international students’ fear of coming to the US and an increase in gap year requests; It’s reasonable to think that public institutions will be over-subscribed and not go to their wait-lists and private schools may find greater flexibility and go deeper than usual into their wait-lists.

Bierer is an independent college adviser based in Charlotte. Send questions to: lee@collegeadmissionsstrategies.comwww.collegeadmissionsstrategies.com

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