top of page

How to Manage a Waitlist

You’ve gotten through the admissions season only to find yourself in an unexpected spot: with several acceptances but waitlisted at your top choice. What exactly does that mean? And what is the best way to approach this situation?

What is a waitlist

You have been offered a spot on the waitlist because that school is interested in you and you have met the criteria for admission. Unfortunately, though, there are more qualified applicants than the number of available seats. Depending on the school, you will be on a waitlist - which is ranked and moves numerically - or in a waitpool - which is unranked and moves based on profiles.

Why remain on a waitlist

Some waitlists do move. After the accepted students are settled, if there are still available spots, the admissions office will return to the waitlist and reassess all the candidates. You may very well get a call if you are the type of student they need to round out their incoming class.

Demonstrate interest

If you have decided to remain on a waitlist, communicate that interest immediately. Read carefully and make sure to reply in the manner requested by the school - and to do so by the required deadline - to secure your spot on the list.

Unless a school specifically says not to contact them, let them know you are serious about enrolling. Explain why you are a great fit and that you wouldn’t hesitate to accept if offered a spot. Make sure they know your commitment and what passions you bring to the school.

What else can you do

Be patient. There is usually movement when contracts are due. Admissions offices know their incoming numbers and will contact candidates to fill any remaining spots. But realize that waitlists can move as late as August if an accepted family moves.

Ask questions. You can ask the admissions office if their waitlist has moved in the past. If it typically does not, you should pursue other options.

Be practical. There is no guarantee a waitlist will move. Make sure that you secure a spot at one of your other schools by the deadline. This may mean losing a deposit if you eventually do get an offer off the waitlist, but it also means that if you do not get a call, you will still have a great school to call home.

These are just a few of the suggestions we have for making the most of your waitlist opportunities. Want to hear more? Call us at The Admissions Plan to find out how we can help support you on this educational journey.


bottom of page