Aparna Huprikar and Jamie Lewis
UFit College Consulting
Have you been waitlisted at one or more of your top-choice colleges? If so, you are not alone. This college application season, we are seeing longer waitlists as colleges try to predict yield rates in an unprecedented time. Colleges appear to be resorting to longer waitlists due to a significant increase in applications caused by test optional policies, growth in the number of colleges joining the Common Application platform, and a general uptick in the average number of applications submitted by students. Many students are feeling pressure to cast a wider net due to the lack of predictability in college admissions. Not only did many colleges receive a record number of applications, but they are still confronting an influx of gap-year students from the previous two admissions cycles, and don’t want to end up with the housing shortages that many colleges encountered last year because they underestimated the number of incoming freshmen who committed to their schools.
If you were waitlisted this year from one or several of your top choices, don’t lose hope. Although frustrating, being waitlisted indicates that the college considered you to be a good fit for their community, but needs to see how their incoming class will ultimately take shape to make a final determination on your candidacy. It is not a rejection, so there is still a chance you could be accepted.
Commit to a college you have been accepted to.
Since most colleges do not move students off their waitlists until after college decision day, which is typically May 1 or May 2, you should absolutely commit to attending a college that has offered you admission, before their deadline. There is always a likelihood that colleges will start movement on their waitlists before May 1, but students should make sure that if that does not happen, they have secured a spot at a school where they have been admitted.
Get excited about the college you are committing to because a waitlist option may not work out. Next, you need to assess whether you want to remain on a waitlist.
Decide if you will opt in to the waitlist.
You should consider all of your acceptances to determine if you truly want to invest your time and emotions by remaining on a waitlist. Many students prefer to commit to a school that they have been accepted to, so that they can start getting excited about their college years and start building friendships and connections with that college, instead of adding the stress of being on a waitlist.
Remaining on the waitlist means that, if accepted, you will be faced with changing your college choice later in the spring or summer, perhaps after having invested a significant amount of time in the college where you have accepted admission. Students need to evaluate whether changing their decision would be worth it, depending on their academic goals and finances, especially if financial aid is involved in the decision.
Therefore, it is very important for students to reflect on why they would want to stay on a waitlist. Perhaps the college that has waitlisted them provides a greater breadth of academics, or it has a particular location that is more appealing, or the college has greater proximity to close family, etc. All of these factors need to be considered and weighed.
If you have decided to stay on the waitlist, make sure you remain visible.
How to write a letter of continued interest.
By communicating with your regional admissions officer, you are reiterating your interest in the school. Here are some suggestions for when and how you should correspond with your regional admissions officer after a waitlist decision:
If you would like help with crafting a letter of continued Interest, or general guidance as you make your college and waitlist decisions, please reach out to our certified college counselors at UFit College Consulting.