Your child's dream college hasn't turned them down (yay!), but they haven't invited them to enroll, either (sigh). Welcome to the wait-list--the purgatory of college admissions.
In a world where schools get applications from way more students than they can admit--but won't know how many applicants will accept their invitation to attend until after May 1--the wait-list is the domicile of the qualified applicant overflow.
So what can your student do to increase their chances of moving from this way station to their desired destination?
1. Say Yes to Being Placed on the Wait-List as Soon as Possible.
A rapid response signals real interest, and admissions officers want to offer seats to those who will accept.
2. Determine the Odds.
Ask the admissions department about the size of their wait-list. Ask how many people got in off the list last year. They may not tell your child their place on the list, but knowing the size of the pool may still give them a sense of their chances.
3. Make a Pitch.
Write a letter to their admissions officer expressing their interest in the school, explaining why it's a good fit and the contribution they will make to the campus. If they will definitely accept if offered a spot, they should say so. They should include any updates they can brag about--mid-year grades, a recent achievement, etc.
4. Slack Not.
Keep their grades up. Now is not the time to come down with a case of senioritis.
5. Take a Fresh Look at Their Acceptances.
Students should take some time to re-assess their options and determine their second choice school. See if they've changed their mind in terms of their preferences.
6. Don't Be a Pest.
Avoid harassing the admissions officers. One call and done.
7. Parents Should be Seen and Not Heard.
The student must handle all transactions. Parental interference in this situation only has a downside.
8. Plunk Down a Deposit.
Make sure that they reserve a space at their second choice college by May 1. While they will lose the deposit if their wait-list school accepts them later, they should make certain that the bases are covered and, come the fall, that they will be beginning their college journey...somewhere