5 Tips to Get Accepted Off the Waitlist
By Ross Blankenship
Founder of Top Test Prep
& Admissions Expert
So you’ve been put on the waitlist for your top school? Well, it might not be the
most ideal situation, but I’ll try to help you get off the admissions waitlist with a few easy
Whether you’re on the admissions waitlist for a top college, medical school,
graduate school, business school, these steps will help you get accepted.
Tips for Getting Accepted off the Waitlist:
(1) Reply immediately.
When you get your letter (or email) from the admissions office indicating
you’ve been placed on the waitlist, don’t wait until the last minute to send in your
reply letter. The sooner you indicate your interest in being accepted off of the
waitlist, the more likely you’ll get into this school. I would recommend waiting no
more than 48 hours. Also consider writing a certified letter, instead of an email,
directly to the admissions office. Consider doing something extraordinary like
writing a handwritten letter. There’s no harm in trying a different approach.
(2) Notice who wrote your waitlist letter.
With today’s technology, you can do basic research on any University’s
admissions officers. If you received a letter from the Dean of Admissions or their
assistant, do a little background check to find things out such as their age, how
long they’ve been at the school, and what sorts of things they’re interested in at
their current school. You’d be surprised about how much information you can
find by doing a Google Search or researching social networks such as LinkedIn.
Now, take this information and use it to your advantage.
Write a rapid response letter whose tone is as formal as you know that
person to be. For example, if you’ve found that the admissions officer is younger,
be less formal in your response. Note: this does not mean writing a casual
response! Instead, try to be a little less wordy and more to the point. Your
salutations and greetings also can be less formal, depending on your audience.
(3) Be specific.
Instead of writing a general letter or calling to say how interested you are
in their school because “it’s [simply] such a great school,” write instead about how
you’ve followed Professor “X” academic research and how you want to be part of
the school so you can contribute to their academic work. The more specific, the
better! Don’t be so general in terms of how or why you think the school is a good
fit for you. Do simple research to display how much you know about their school
and every department in which you are interested.
(4) It’s not always about you!
This applies to pretty much every setting, whether in your letters or
correspondences to an admissions office, or in your admissions interviews. Too
often students think these two situations are opportunities for you to go on about
how smart or great you are personally. Think about turning the table and making
it less about you and more about what you can do for their school, college or
(5) Re-take that test.
If you’re applying to college and you’re on the admissions office’s waitlist
specifically because of your low SAT or ACT scores, re-take the test! If you’re
applying to graduate school - perhaps to medical school or some graduate
program- and your MCAT score is low or your GRE score is too low, re-take the
test. Admissions officers are people too (yes, hard to believe) and they know how
stressful tests can be for students. If your scores are outside of their median
whether for the SAT, ACT, MCAT, GRE, and so on, taking the test again will
show the school how dedicated you are to getting into their program. This
doesn’t mean that you have to continue re-taking an exam over and over again,
but instead you should give the test one more try. When you get your improved
scores, send these scores directly to the admissions office. Also, write a letter to the
admissions office indicating you’ve re-taken the exam and that you are still
committed to attending their program if accepted.
I hope these tips for getting accepted off the waitlist help you. There’s no need to panic if
you’re placed on the waitlist. In fact, you can use it as an opportunity to showcase other
talents that didn’t necessarily come out in the first round of admissions.
Ross Blankenship is an admissions expert who helps students get into colleges and
graduate schools. He is also the Founder and President of Top Test Prep.
Top Test Prep provides admissions counseling, test prep, and private tutoring for
students applying to prep schools, colleges and graduate schools.
To find out more about Top Test Prep:
Go to TopTestPrep.com or call (800) 501-Prep.