University Waitlists

College Waiting List, University Waiting List, University Waitlisted Students

There are certainly things you should not do when on university waitlists. Parents should not call admissions offices.

We wanted to discuss more things you should never do when on university waitlists as the piece by Ariel Kaminer in “The New York Times” entitled “On a College Waiting List? Sending Cookies Isn’t Going to Help” is filled with quite a few gems that are deserving of further exploration. As the piece states, trying to get off a college waitlist is kind of like dating (not long-term dating, just the first couple of dates kind of dating). You should express interest but not to an extreme level and there’s nothing wrong with expressing interest to a few different colleges (though colleges can try to gauge this, too). You should not do nothing. Doing nothing will not get you off that waitlist in all likelihood. You’ve got a much better shot if you play your cards the right way.

And playing your cards the right way should by no means involve parents calling the admissions office. According to “The New York Times” article, “‘There’s a mother who e-mails me every third day — they must have timers on these things,’ Ms. [Ann Fleming’ Brown [, the director of admissions at Union College,] said. ‘There’s one parent who calls up and yells at me: ‘I can’t believe this happened! This is a horrible thing!’ And then he calls 10 minutes later and says, ‘I’m sorry.’ Then he calls and says, ‘I know you don’t like me. I’m being a complete pest.’” Talk about things not to do! Ever.

Writing notes like, “I love you, I love you, I love you” also doesn’t do the trick, as stated in the piece. A college is not your junior high girlfriend. Colleges are, as the article states, “academic institutions.” You don’t write childish love letters to academic institutions. You do, however, write a strongly worded and articulately crafted letter about why you still want to attend an institution and what you can add to that university’s student body that they don’t already have. Discuss classes, discuss research opportunities, extracurriculars, and what sets you apart in this world. That’s the key to trying to navigate getting off that dreaded university waitlist.

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