Victoria Berels

To the shock and frustration of many college applicants, 2017 saw a increase in overall college applications at most of the top universities and the result was that many qualified students were passed down to the waitlist. Being stuck on the waitlist, in short, is tough. For example, this year, the University of Michigan had its largest applicant pool, with 60,000 high school seniors applying. Michigan’s acceptance rate in the past has been around 26%, but with the increase in the applicant pool we expect this number will be lower, closer to 22%. So U of M will definitely be using their waitlist as their safety net as accepted students go to other colleges, in past years this list has totaled to thousands of seniors accepting to be put on the waitlist.

This being said, if you’ve been waitlisted, what is the protocol as this deadline draws near? Should you wait to hear the result of your plea for admission, especially since you have to put down a deposit to ‘a school’ and commit to the institution to hold your spot for the fall? Although students may have qualms about putting a deposit down, it is perfectly acceptable to accept an offer while still being on the waitlist of the your top choice college.

By this point in the enrollment process, you have hopefully reached out to the waitlisted school to express your continued interest in attending, and shown any improvements you have made in school or organizations you may have joined since applying. You’ve done all that you can with the official process; now it’s time to focus on your own personal process. This is the time to determine if you know exactly what you’re looking for in a college. First, spend some time reevaluating what your college goals are. Then recognize if any of your personal requirements for a college have changed since applying, and how both schools meet or do not meet these requirements. Campus tours are in full force at this time of year, and it may be in your best interest to visit these schools again to see if you notice anything different about them that piques your interest. Check out the school’s websites and social media, and reach out to friends at these universities to get a holistic view of both. The more information you have, the better.

After this reflection, it’s time to make an official decision on which school you will attend should you be offered a spot at both. The admissions officer at your top school will want to know right away if you will be attending in the fall, especially since you have probably already expressed to him or her that their school is is your number one choice. Universities offer acceptances off the waitlist almost right up to the beginning of term in the fall, so having a decision made is imperative. Also keep in mind that there are other students in line so a fast decision is important.

Should you make it off the waitlist, first of all, congratulations! Your hard work has paid off, and your university of choice recognizes it. After celebrating, be sure to inform your second choice school that you will not be attending in the fall. Unfortunately, the university will most likely not return your deposit, but you will provide another student the chance to do exactly what you accomplished– getting off the waitlist.

For more information about the waitlist or for a personalized strategy, set up an appointment with us today!