After all the waiting you have done, the last thing you want now is to be put on a wait list! But what happens if you are one of the 10% of applicants who find themselves fated to wait a bit longer? This article by Zach Miners offers some helpful tips for seeing the bright side of a possibly taxing situation.
The first step is to decide whether or not you would actually attend the college if you were accepted. If it is definitely your first choice, here are a few steps you can take to increase your chances:
- Let the college know that you would like to remain on the wait list.
- If you have new information to share about your accomplishments, write a compelling letter letting the college know.
- Definitely let the college know that you would attend if you were accepted, but don’t become a squeaky wheel or worse yet, try to bribe officials!
- Make plans to enroll at another college so that you are sure to have a spot somewhere in the case that you don’t get off the wait list.
- If you haven’t interviewed yet, call the college to try to set one up. Personal contact along with genuinely expressed enthusiasm for a school can help tip the balance.
- Don’t take it personally if you don’t get in. Only about 30% of students get off of wait lists, and in some cases, even fewer spots are available.
While it may be challenging to sit tight for another few weeks or months, use the time to do more research on the schools that you have been admitted to. Every school has its advantages and disadvantages, so try to focus on the positives. And if you do find that the school you attend is not a good fit, you can always apply for a transfer after a year, but chances are, you’ll end up loving it!
As the date approaches for you to finally receive a decision from colleges after months, perhaps years for some (especially parents), of waiting, many will have pearls of wisdom to share with you both before and after one of the tensest moments of your life.
Of course we have our own opinions on how important it is to maintain a positive outlook and remember to see the bigger picture. After all, what you will walk away with from your college experience, wherever you end up going, is really about what you put into it.
Our own acumen aside, perhaps the best (and most entertaining) counsel we’ve heard, is a letter addressed to seniors written by Mitch Albom, writer for McClatchy-Tribune Information Services. Check it out. You won’t regret it, and you might even have a few laughs! Nothing like bringing humor into a situation to keep things in perspective.
As students wait to hear from colleges, many of which notify students in early April, a lucky few will receive ‘likely’ letters. A ‘likely’ letter issued by Ivy League schools toward the end of February/early March lets students know that they have been admitted. A practice that began as a way to curry favor with coveted applicants, it is now becoming increasingly more common.
According to this article in the New York Times, University of Pennsylvania sent out many more ‘likely’ letters than in previous years. Other colleges are also following the trend, creating their own versions of these letters, often with an invitation to a campus event geared toward accepted students.
Whether you receive an early indication of admission or not, don’t be alarmed. It can be a random decision, based on the timing that your application is read, and it in no way indicates that you have not been admitted. Pretty soon all the decisions will be in, and we will all breathe a sigh of relief just to know that it’s over and the next phases of student life have begun.
Brian Harke, Associate Dean of the University of Southern California, dishes out some common sense advice regarding the last phase of the college application process in this Huffington Post article. For all the nail-biting seniors waiting to see whether their colleges send them back thin or thick envelopes: don’t fret, life will go on. As he himself attests, not everyone gets into his or her first choice, and they end up doing just fine.
As we enter the end of this lengthy process, and notifications are sent out in the coming weeks, let’s (parents and students) keep things in perspective. For those who receive “rejection” letters, keep in mind that it is not personal, but rather an indication that perhaps another school will be a much better “fit.” And for those who do get accepted to their top choices, let’s be considerate of others and keep things in check.
So as we step into this important moment, the culmination of much sweat, dreams, and emotion, remember to exhale. Once the dust settles, the world will look very much the same.
Articles about the college application process inevitably elicit a visceral reaction from anyone who has high school aged children. As this NY Times article describes, Crazy U, written by Andrew Ferguson, is a recent dad’s journey navigating the convoluted path from high school student to college attendee.
Ferguson covers every aspect of the adventure, not the least of which is the college essay process which he calls “a relatively new idea, and very baby boomerish.” He asks, “Who are they to force a catharsis on 17-year-olds?” His insightful probing cuts to the central issues in writing essays, which many consider the piece that distinguishes an applicant from his or her peers. What exactly do colleges want? Is the more personal essay always the better one? And what about more modest teens unwilling to express their darkest secrets? Ferguson writes, “Once the larger culture considered reticence a virtue. Now it’s a cause for suspicion or evidence of derangement.”
At College Essay Organizer, we know how important and stress-inducing the essay portion of applications can be. It’s what we know best, and we provide members with examples of successful essays on dozens of topics and themes, essays that gained entry into the nation's top colleges and universities. We also run free webinars from the spring through the fall covering various issues related to the college essay process, and hold an open Q&A for attendees to get their individual questions answered. So worry not, we’ve got you covered.