Contact the School
Possibly the most confusing application response for students is being waitlisted. What does this mean about their chances of getting in? Robert Bardwell, Director of School Counseling at Monsoon High School, says it depends on the school. However, students can be proactive, in order to have a better understanding of the situation.
While contacting the school may not always increase a student’s probability of being admitted, it can still be helpful in guiding their next steps. First, students need to understand who they should contact and how they should best reach them. Most schools will have the admissions officers’ phone and email information posted on their website. Depending on the objective, one method of communication may be preferred over another. Bardwell notes, “I would suggest a phone call when a student absolutely has to ensure that information is shared – like advocating for a spot off the waitlist. An email is nice, but it is not going to likely get the best bang for his buck.”
Next, they should know exactly what they want to say. Students should have specific questions or comments prepared before reaching out to the admissions officer. If the college is the student’s number one choice, Bardwell recommends having the student or school counselor call admissions to ask how many people have historically been taken off the waitlist. If the student has a good chance, there are steps they can take to try to solidify a top spot, such as getting a recommendation or updating the school on a recent accomplishment. Additionally, if they’re still interested in remaining on the waitlist, they need to let the school know, or else they risk being removed entirely.
Bardwell adds, unless a school counselor is advocating on the student’s behalf, the student should always be the one contacting the school. He continues, “If you really want to go to this school, you should pick up the phone and call.” In other words, parents should not be reaching out for their child, as it will only reflect poorly on the student.
While there are many steps a student can take once being waitlisted, Handel recommends students consider themselves “not accepted.” He explains, “Getting waitlisted doesn’t necessarily mean a student won’t be accepted, but they shouldn’t wait because at that moment they are not admitted and the school does not have space for them.” Therefore, a student should start considering other options and preparing for them accordingly. Students may be on a school’s waitlist long after the May 1st deadline for a deposit, so they shouldn’t hold out because they could miss their opportunity to enroll in another school. If your student is waitlisted, be realistic and make sure to have a back-up plan.