Top 5 Steps to get off the Wait List

Fotolia_12377633_XS Admission status letters have been mailed to high school seniors nationwide. An applicant will either be accepted by their first-choice school, rejected, or deferred, which is also referred to as "wait-listed." If you've been wait-listed, then waiting passively for the college to contact you again is not best course of action according to Edward B. Fiske, author of the #1 bestselling "Fiske Guide to Colleges 2010."

Instead, Fiske recommends that if you've been deferred, you should "go on the offensive" and send a deposit by May 1 to your first-choice school among those colleges who did accept you as a student, and then follow the steps below to get off the wait list and get accepted to the college of your choice. Visiting a college at this stage may be the most important college visit you make. 

  1. Send a letter ASAP to the admissions director emphasizing your unyielding desire to attend. State specifically why you think the match is a good one and highlight new information.
  2. Call to see if you can arrange a campus interview. "Students who have been offered regular admission wait-list status are well advised to pay a visit by mid-April, perhaps with a set of recent grades in hand," says Peter Van Buskirk, former Dean of Admissions at Franklin and Marshall.
  3. Send examples of impressive work. This is particularly relevant if you have an area of special talent or if you have produced new work of which you are especially proud.
  4. Ask a current teacher to write a recommendation highlighting your recent achievements. Ask teachers who wrote letters for you previously to send updates.
  5. Ask your guidance counselor to write or call and see that the admissions office is kept up to date with your grades and other achievements.