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3 Questions to Ask If You're Waitlisted

For many high schools seniors, April 1 will be D-Day: decision day, the day that selective colleges and universities across the country officially release their admissions decisions for this fall.

Some of those applicants will receive waitlist decisions. As Senior Consultant Nancy Peterson notes, these decisions can be even harder to accept than denials are because they deliver "the disappointment of a rejection but not the closure."

If you receive a waitlist decision from one of your target schools, give yourself the time you need to get over your disappointment and then decide what you're going to do next. If you decide to accept the school's waitlist offer, you'll need to be realistic about your chances of eventually receiving an admissions offer. At many top schools, few if any applicants have been admitted in recent years. (See our "Waitlist Outcomes" table for more information.)

You can get a better idea of your chances of moving off the waitlist by contacting the admissions office and asking these questions:

  • Is the waitlist ranked? If it is, where am I listed on it?
  • How many applicants have you admitted from the waitlist in recent years? Do you think this year will be similar?
  • Can I submit additional application materials or test scores? What is the deadline for additional submissions?

You might also want to consider using our Waitlist Assistance service. One of our college admissions consultants will review your application, give you his or her assessment of the probable reasons for your waitlist decision, and advise you on your best course of action. Our Waitlist Assistance package includes professional assistance with any material that the consultant feels you should submit to the school in question. To learn more, call us at 1.800.809.0800 (+1 703.242.5885 outside the US and Canada) or email us today.

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