Sometimes, the wait list is the last place you want to end up when you’ve applied to a college – just ask a student that’s been on the wait list before. At least when you’ve been rejected, you have a firm answer. On the wait list, you spend weeks in a sort of hopeful purgatory waiting to hear from the admissions office and not being able to move forward in the admissions process.
While your circumstances may seem dire, there is actually some hope. Plenty of colleges out there actually do pull students from the wait list, and U.S. News and World Report
has listed the top 10.
- Ohio State University – Columbus accepted 100% of its wait list for Fall 2015 (the most recent year for which data is available).
- Clemson University pulled 99% from their wait list.
- Pennsylvania State University admitted 98% of their wait list.
- Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin accepted 92% from the wait list.
- University of Arkansas took 85% off of their wait list.
- University of California – Riverside and Davis accepted roughly 74% off of their respective wait lists.
- University of Baltimore pulled 69% from the wait list.
- Saint Louis University took 65% from their wait list in Fall 2015.
- University of San Diego admitted 64% of their wait list.
So if you’ve inevitably found yourself on the wait list, there are things you can do to help pass the time.
Voice your interest.
Call or email your Admissions Officer at the university to let them know that their particular college is your first choice. Though not as important as GPA or the essay, maintaining and vocalizing your interest in a college does count for something. You may also ask if the Admissions Committee can let you know where you stand on the wait list
. Knowing if you’re at the top helps you better stay engaged, while finding out that you’re at the bottom allows you a little more freedom to move on.
Keep up the good grades.
Colleges that pull from the wait list also have every right to ask for an updated transcript from you. They want to ensure that they’re not admitting students that just “give up.” Plus, your final grades could mean the difference between you being admitted off of the wait list or another student.
Put a deposit down at your second choice.
If you’re getting close to National Decision Day
, which is May 1, go ahead and put a deposit down at another college that you’d like to attend. Deposits can range from $50 - $500 and are typically non-refundable; however, you need to secure a place somewhere. There is a chance your first choice will call over the summer and say that you’ve been admitted off of the wait list. Though you will be out a few hundred dollars, it’s worth the cost to play it safe. If, for instance, you held out for your first choice and never got off the wait list, you may not be able to attend any of the schools to which you applied based on whether or not they admit in July or August.
Keep in mind that if you never make it off the wait list, it’s not the end of the world. There are so many quality institutions of higher learning in the country; you really can’t go wrong. And perhaps fate has led you to where you need to be – whether it’s on or off of the wait list.