top of page

Waitlisted? Here's what you should do - immediately!

All regular decisions will be out this month! Thousands of students will be waitlisted, sometimes at their dream school. The good news is that many will then be admitted. Here are guidelines on what to do if you are waitlisted at your dream school.

Reconsider your university selection:

1) Reevaluate the university. You're now in a very different place psychologically than you were just a few months ago, given that you have received multiple acceptances from universities.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Is this university truly your number one choice? Why?

  • Why is it better than those universities where you have already been accepted?

  • Does this university offer significant academic advantages in your major? Great internship and job opportunities? Better job prospects with increased pay?

2) Consider your finances. The financial component is an important one.

Again, ask yourself questions:

  • Is it financially feasible to attend?

  • Does the university meet 100% of financial need?

  • Can waitlisted students receive merit aid or scholarship?

  • Will you have to take out loans to attend this university?

If you are unsure of what your out-of-pocket costs would be, calculate your university's annual cost with the Net Price Calculator. And if you will be going into debt to attend, check out this student loan calculator so that you fully understand how long it will take to pay off those loans, and how much you will pay in both interest and principal.

If it's still your dream school, take action!

1) Act quickly! You must confirm your interest!

Follow their guidelines and if they accept additional information, gather up everything that is NEW since you submitted your application. Look for items that are impressive: your third-quarter grades, new leadership roles, new awards, a new job...anything that makes you stand out.

2) Update your admissions application! Promptly write a well-written enthusiastic email to their admissions rep/office explaining why their university is your number one choice, why it’s a good fit for you, and what you can bring to that university. Let them know that you will attend if accepted. Attach your updated resume (which includes everything new), any other important documents, and a screenshot of 3rd quarter grades - and make sure that you or your school's guidance department have already sent an official transcript with mid-term grades and eventually third quarter grades to that university.

3) Call the admissions representative: Wait a few days after sending your email and call the admissions office. Ask to speak with your local representative. Explain that you were waitlisted, once again express your interest, and confirm that they have received your new information. Ask if there is anything else you can send that might increase your chances of being accepted, and when they believe you will receive a final decision. Call them back if you do not receive word or need to commit to another school.

4) Do not harass them. Calling or emailing them daily will send up red flags and not increase your chances.

You’ve now done everything you can do. Now you must sit back and wait - and keep your grades up!

5) Commit to a university by May 1st.

Often you must wait until after the May 1st deadline to receive an update from the what do you do? You must commit to your second choice university prior to the May 1st deadline or you risk losing your spot at that university. Also, you must look into housing at that university because it is very probable that you will end up there.

If your dream school accepts you after that May 1 deadline, you can then decide which university is best for you, knowing that you will lose any deposits that you have already submitted to your second choice university.

Here are a few statistics that will give you an idea of your chances….

The waitlist statistics change every year, at every school, but in general it’s very difficult to be admitted from the waitlist - but it does happen! Please know that at some of these universities, the percent admitted off of the waitlist is 1%, 3%....

Does this mean you shouldn’t try? No, you only get to do this once.


Here are the number of students admitted off of waitlists during the Class of 2020 admissions:

University of Miami: 215

University of North Carolina: 86

Brown: 82

Vanderbilt: 71

Cornell: 61

University of Michigan: 36

Yale: 19

Princeton: 18

Dartmouth: 16

Harvey Mudd: 12

Northwestern: 9

Rice: 1

Boston University: 0

As I have said before, it's very important for you to commit to that second choice university, so choose one you will be happy to attend and which is financially feasible for your family.

But if you are waitlisted, and that is truly your dream school, go ahead and see if you can increase your chances of being accepted by demonstrating your interest. What do you have to lose?

Need help? Contact us today at 954 651 3335 or via email.

Recent Posts
Follow Us
  • Twitter Basic Square
bottom of page