By Lindsey Su,
As seniors begin getting admissions letters from the colleges, many find themselves looking at the words “We are pleased to offer you a position on our waitlist because of your exceptional application.”
Senior Albert Chang read those exact words from the Office of Admissions at UC Irvine. However, because he had already gotten acceptance letters from a few of his top choices, he “didn’t stress too much about it.”
On the other hand, if you get waitlisted to a college that was one of your top choices, there are a few steps you should take in order to improve your chances of getting accepted.
“The UC acceptances were pretty rough this year so I was actually really excited to get waitlisted for UC San Diego, since it was one of the last ones I heard from,” senior Emma Nance said.
First, you should understand the university’s waitlist process and procedure. The University of California’s waitlists do not have rankings; one student is not higher on the waitlist than another.
If they have a spot in their incoming freshman class, you may be considered for a spot if you match what they are looking for.
According to the University of California, “A campus might have enrollment goals for a particular major, leading to the admission of students who applied to that program, but not others.”
If you applied as a Biology major and they are looking to fill a spot in the arts program, you may not be considered for admission.
Next, you should respond to the university and let them know if you would like to stay on the waitlist. You could either decline or accept the university’s offer.
Although this doesn’t have to happen right away, you want to make sure you follow the university’s instructions and respond in a timely manner.
“I waited for all my apps to be released first and since I got into a school that was better for my interests, I didn’t sign up for the waitlist,” Chang said.
Nance had other reasons for declining a waitlist offer from UC Davis. “I know there are a ton of people [whose dream school is] UCD, so I’d rather give that spot to someone who really wants it,” Nance said.
If you decide to stay on the waitlist, some universities require you to respond in an email. This email could include a Letter of Enthusiasm to the admissions office, stating why you want to opportunity to study at their school.
However, according to Ivy Coach–a group of counselors that helps students with Ivy League admissions–you should not go overboard with enthusiasm by calling the university or visiting the Dean of Admissions unannounced.
If the college requests additional information such as another Letter of Recommendation, or if you have improved your SAT scores by 150 points or more, you may have an opportunity to show the college your strengths over other competitors.
Finally, CollegeVine consultant Monikah Schuschu advises students to have a backup plan. Schuschu said that, “Making a backup plan involves confronting the reality that in the end, most waitlisted applicants will not be accepted.”
You probably applied to one or two backup colleges. Start looking into those, figuring out what you like about them. Community colleges can also offer you an amazing college experience and education, sometimes even better than a big, prestigious university.