You've Been Waitlisted ... What Now?

So you've been waitlisted?

But it's COVID times ... and hard to predict anything, much less whether competitive universities will even use the waitlist this year.

Some say they will since student's are skittish about Corona, while others say they won't because the kids who deferred last year will come this year, thus taking up the spaces.

Well one thing is for sure - as confused as you feel, is as uncertain as college admissions officers feel. Their goal? NO EMPTY BEDS come September! Their issue? It's harder than ever to predict yield (how many students given an offer will take it) because tradition tools, like Admitted Student weekends and college tours and in person events, designed to woo students into accepting offers... are no longer possible this year, due to COVID concerns. 

So - we anticipate that colleges have created longer waitlists than ever before. 

What does this mean for  a waitlisted student? Affirm and re-affirm your interest, especially up to late April. On May 1 when colleges see which admitted students have confirmed ... that's when you want to be top of mind so that IF they are moving to their waitlists they know that you are all in!
Make sure your counselor from school also reaches out to your top choice college to advocate for you!

And look... don't feel bad!

Many students will neither be accepted nor denied in the first round of admissions.

This is NOT an indictment on you as a person OR a determinant of your future success!

Many colleges and universities will opt to WAITLIST students who they would still love to consider for a place in the incoming class, but who just missed the mark during the Regular Admissions round.

The good thing about waitlists is that ALL IS NOT LOST

No one knows what's going to happen this year with waitlists, but I have a feeling that chances are better for waitlisted candidates at highly competitive schools!

Put in that effort for your #1 school!

The most effective way of doing so is writing a Letter of Continue Interest (LoCI). This letter is meant to provide confirmation that you would still like to be considered for a spot at the college or university, reiterate your interest in the school and provide any and all updates of accomplishments that may have occurred since submitting your application.  

Below are some tips and tricks for putting your best foot forward in a LoCI.
Here are the 5 points that must be included in the Letter of Continued Interest:

1. Thank the reader for reevaluating your application materials and reaffirm that X school is the place for you. If the college is your absolute first choice and you will definitely attend if admitted, make it known.

2. Offer new information such as updates on extracurricular activities, awards, projects you've begun, improved GPA or standardized test scores (if applicable).

3. Include any information on a campus visit if you were able to make one, and what specifically got your attention about the visit (even if the visit was virtual).

4. Consider including 2-3 brief "Why us" details describing why you and the school are a great match.

5. Thank the reader again and sign off politely.
  • Keep it as concise as possible and be straightforward
  • Check that the school is accepting Letters of Continued Interest (some schools will outright indicate that they do not want further correspondence while evaluating waitlists)
  • DO NOT repeat accomplishments or any information already submitted on your application
  • The letter must come from a place of gratitude
  • Do not mention other schools that you have been accepted to, but do reiterate that if taken off of the waitlist, you will definitely be interested in attending (reiterate first choice)
  • Be polite
  • End with humility and gratitude AND reaffirm that this is your top choice
  • Thank them for their time
Author: Nicole McLaren Campbell
Nicole is founder of AIM Educational Services (now AIM Online Academy) and the Teen Success Club. Nicole is a college counseling expert and has been helping students for more than 10 years attain their college dreams.

You can find out more about how AIM Online Academy can help YOU here:

Get AIM College Essentials for FREE
Grab the Major Keys in the Admissions Journey with AIM curated resources and research hubs just for YOU.