Dealing with waitlist limbo: The truth about getting off the list

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Being waitlisted can be very nerve-wracking. It usually turns out to be the one school you were really hoping to get into.


Why was I put on the waitlist? The college could be telling you that you were good enough to get into the college but they just didn’t have enough spots to be able to let you in. It could also mean that you may have had a hole in your application that caused them to be unsure about admitting you. You may want to submit your most recent transcript and/or a letter from you reinstating why you would be a good fit for the school.


What are your chances of getting off? Unfortunately, it's very hard to predict your chances of getting off the list. Just check out these statistics of some of the top schools, the number of people on the waitlist, and how many got off the list. You'll see that some years hundreds of students got off the list, and other years not a single person on the waitlist was offered admission.


What's your number? The school might tell you what number you are on the list. If your number is between 1 and 10, you probably have a very good chance of getting in - though nothing is guarenteed. Anything over 30 is probably not very likely unless you’ve found information showing a lot of people generally get off the waitlist for that specific college.


Should I send updates? While schools generally welcome updates from waitlisted students, independent college counselor Jeannie Borin advises students not to send anything extra without first asking permission.

Should I send a deposit to a school I was accepted to? Generally, you won't find out if you're off the waitlist until the deadlines have passed for the colleges and universities you've been accepted to. Never assume you'll get off a waitlist, so if you choose to stay on the list, be prepared to attend another school and send in your deposit. If you do happen to get off the waitlist and you decide to attend the school, you will lose that deposit.


The bad news is that you have a pretty small chance of getting of any waitlist. However, you should be proud of your accomplishments that got you this far.


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