CounselMore College Counseling Software blog post


Should You Stay? Or Should You Go?

Hurry up and wait! It can be sooooooo hard to stay patient after applying early, hearing from other schools on your list, waiting for that special date when your dream school is passing down admissions decisions. and SCREEETCH (scratch the record)…………..YOU are on the waitlist. What to do? In the words of the Clash, “Should I stay or should I go now?” is the question you need to answer. It is important to understand why you may have been put on the waitlist in the first place. The waitlist is usually in place so admissions officers have a pool of students in a waiting room to round out their incoming class. Colleges know that all students who are admitted may not attend, and it is from this backstage Green Room that they hold the next act (students on the waitlist) to fill in the set.

This year, the virtual yield for colleges is even less predictable. Corona has led to some students not wanting to go too far from home-the roadtrip may need to be cancelled for this tour-which will lead to openings in the rosters. International students may not be able to attend university in the United States this Fall, which will also make last-minute seats available. You may feel like you “need a miracle” but rest assured, we are all in the same boat. No one knows what will happen in the near future: the economy, travel, family crisis, may all play a role in admissions and the yield at colleges, but this may also open up the ticket booth for a once-in-a-lifetime all access show.

So should you stand in line to try to get in? Is it worth it, or should you choose another school and move on? It may seem like a Cheap Trick… “I Want You To Want Me.” It may feel like a hard “NO” would have been easier to stomach, but schools are businesses, and they are hedging their bets. In some cases, you may think it is the universe giving you a sign. Maybe you should commit to one of the schools that showed you the love or hold out because in the words of Frank Sinatra “The Best Is Yet To Come.” At this point you are thinking, how old is this lady writing the column? Please quote Post Malone? or Harry Styles? Duh!

You may feel like your brain is running in “Circles” (Malone reference), but, it’s ok “You Should Be Sad” (Halsey). After you take a breath, put your shoulders back, and move on. Your next step is to respond whether or not you want to stay on the waitlist. It only makes sense to keep your spot on the list if you’re really interested in going to the college. Don’t get caught up in “Stupid Love” like Lady Gaga. Make your pro/con list and “Know Your Worth”- Khalid. Find out whether there are any conditions attached to being wait-listed (like you may have fewer housing options) which may be a deal-breaker for you.

Even if you decide to remain on the waitlist, prepare to attend another college. Choose the best fit from the colleges that accepted you, Fill out the paperwork and send a deposit, because there are real situations where you come off the waitlist as late as move-in-day, YIKES!, and you need to pivot quickly and will lose the deposit at the other school. Personally, that kind of “what if” situation would make me a bit anxious- but you know what you want. We believe that whatever school you chose can become “Everything I Wanted” (Billie Eilish).

The Show Must Go On

If you decide to stay on the waitlist, be proactive. Here’s what you can do to boost your chances of being accepted:

  1. ACT NOW! Reply to the waitlist immediately.
  2. Get a sense of your chances of admission. Contact the Admissions Office to find out if the college ranks waitlisted students or if it has a priority list. Most are willing to let you know your status. The higher you rank on the list the better your chances of being accepted.
  3. Send an update to the Admissions Office. The college has already decided that you have the academic credentials for admittance. Now’s the time to mention any additional non-academic factors that may help your case — any new achievements or supplemental information. Emphasize your strong desire to attend the college and make a case for why you’re a good fit. You can tell them you’ll enroll if they accept you, but tell them this only if you’re absolutely certain you will.
  4. Study hard. This is no time to slack off. If you’re waitlisted, you may be reevaluated based on your third and fourth quarter grades.
  5. Stay involved. Show Admissions Officers you’re committed to sports, clubs and other activities.
  6. Request another (or a first) interview. An interview can give you a personal contact — someone who can check on the status of your application. You can also enlist the help of your high school counselor or someone you know who graduated from that college.
  7. Realize that you’ve already achieved something. You were waitlisted, not turned away. Many students were not as successful.
  8. Reconsider the colleges that accepted you. If you would be just as happy at one of your other choices, send in a deposit and plan to attend that college. Then turn down the spot on the waitlist. You’ll be surprised how much better you feel after your decision has been made.

We are very excited for you! This is why the college list and all of the work we did together over the past few years was so very important. You have options, and they are a good fit. You can always call us it you want to talk through your opportunities. Rock On!