The University Advisor

What to do if you are waitlisted

by | Mar 31, 2023 | Universities

If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve received some not-so-great news: you’ve been waitlisted at one or more US universities. It’s definitely not the news you were hoping for, but being waitlisted doesn’t mean your chances of getting into your dream school are completely dashed.

To begin, it’s important to understand what being waitlisted actually is. Basically, it means that the admissions committee has reviewed your application and feels that you have the potential to succeed at their university, but they don’t have enough spots to admit everyone they want to. So, they’ve put you on a “waitlist—a sort of holding pattern—while they wait to see if any admitted students decline their offers.

So, what can you do to increase your chances of getting off the waitlist? Here are a few tips:

Let the school know you’re still interested: This is a crucial step! You need to follow instructions that have been shared by the university to let the school know that you’re still interested in attending if a spot becomes available. Write a letter or email to the admissions office expressing your continued interest and enthusiasm for the school. Reiterate why you think you’re a good fit for the school and how attending would help you achieve your goals.

Provide updated information: If you’ve achieved any new milestones or accomplishments since you submitted your application, let the school know! This could be anything from receiving an award to taking on a leadership role in a club or organization. Providing new information that demonstrates your continued growth and achievement can help make you stand out from the other waitlisted applicants.

Keep your options open: While it’s important to let the school know you’re still interested, it’s also important to keep your options open. If you haven’t already, apply to other schools that you’re interested in attending. You never know – you might end up finding a school that’s an even better fit for you than your dream school.

Be patient: Finally, remember that being on the waitlist is a waiting game. It’s not a guarantee that you’ll get off the waitlist and be admitted, but it’s also not a definite rejection. Stay positive and patient, and keep your fingers crossed that a spot opens up for you!

Being waitlisted is never easy, but it’s important to remember that it’s not the end of the road. Whichever university you end up attending will offer you lots of growth and opportunity.

About Author

Wendy Beato

I’m the College counselor at Varsity Abroad. I’ve been a guidance & college counselor at high schools in New York City, Palm Beach & Cape Town, South Africa. Over the course of my 20 years as a professional counselor, I have helped hundreds of students through their college application process and understand what it takes to get into top universities.

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Working with wendy & Varsity Abroad was absolutely the best decision... It Saved time, money and endless frustration. Katie found Wendy's guidance and knowledge immensely helpful. With the Pandemic, Lockdown, online schooling, Matric, June exams, Prelims, finals and the added...
Jo-Anne H.
Working with wendy & Varsity Abroad was absolutely the best decision...  It Saved time, money and endless frustration.  Katie found Wendy's guidance and knowledge immensely helpful.  With the Pandemic, Lockdown, online schooling, Matric, June exams, Prelims,  finals and the added stress of finding the right university abroad, Wendy's help was well worth the investment.
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My experience with Wendy was so positive and easy. She was always available to help and guide and I never felt that I was being a nuisance! My grandson and I think very highly of her and the service she provides. I have no hesitation in recommending her...
Brendalyn S.
My experience with Wendy was so positive and easy. She was always available to help and guide and I never felt that I was being a nuisance!  My grandson and I think very highly of her and the service she provides. I have no hesitation in recommending her and would use her again if necessary.
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The biggest benefit of working with Wendy of The University Advisor was having peace of mind in dealing with someone who "knew all the ropes". Wendy's knowledge of the universities is extensive and she has a calm, professional manner in such a stressful time … Working with Wendy...
Katie Harries
The biggest benefit of working with Wendy of The University Advisor was having peace of mind in dealing with someone who "knew all the ropes". Wendy's knowledge of the universities is extensive and she has a calm, professional manner in such a stressful time… Working with Wendy was absolutely the best decision...  It Saves time, money, and endless frustration.  Katie found Wendy's guidance and knowledge immensely helpful.  With the Pandemic, Lockdown, online schooling, Matric, June exams, Prelims,  finals and the added stress of finding the right university, Wendy's help was well worth the investment.
Katie Harries
Katie Harries
Wendy was extremely helpful as she has so many resources that make the application process easier. Without her, I and my family would have been completely lost … She was very accessible throughout our time with her and was there to offer help every step of the way
Emma Toth
Somerset College
Wendy was extremely helpful as she has so many resources that make the application process easier. Without her, I and my family would have been completely lost… She was very accessible throughout our time with her and was there to offer help every step of the way.
Emma Toth
Emma Toth
Somerset College
The biggest benefit of working with Wendy was Identifying what was realistically achievable. She provided guidance throughout the application process, with time frames and goals that were invaluable. Wendy has a wealth of knowledge about the US application process as well as the individual universities. With...
Jean Morkel
Bishops Diocesan College
The biggest benefit of working with Wendy was Identifying what was realistically achievable. She provided guidance throughout the application process, with time frames and goals that were invaluable. Wendy has a wealth of knowledge about the US application process as well as the individual universities.  With her guidance, we were able to select the optimal number of universities that suited our son's needs.  She has a structured approach to handling the application process which was clear and concise.  She was supportive and encouraging throughout. I wouldn't hesitate in recommending her services!
Jean Morkel
Jean Morkel
Bishops Diocesan College
Wendy really just made the whole process so much easier. The assignments she set really helped me to make sure I was on the right track and getting things done on time. While I was doing my application I was also studying so it really helped me to have everything ...
Rachel Mudge
Somerset College
Wendy really just made the whole process so much easier. The assignments she set really helped me to make sure I was on the right track and getting things done on time. While I was doing my application I was also studying so it really helped me to have everything I needed to do on GuidedPath. The help with the personal statement was invaluable. I would definitely recommend working with Wendy. Applying to universities is very stressful but Wendy is always kind, supportive, and there for whatever help you need.
Rachel Mudge
Rachel Mudge
Somerset College
The different platforms that need to be used, such as the Common App, appear incredibly daunting when completing your application alone. Being able to ask Wendy for advice on the smallest of details was a big benefit.. Sometimes you just need someone to give you...
Kiara De Gouveia
Curro Durbanville
The different platforms that need to be used, such as the Common App,  appear incredibly daunting when completing your application alone. Being able to ask Wendy for advice on the smallest of details was a big benefit. . Sometimes you just need someone to give you a "yes or no" answer and without Wendy, I would have spent countless hours on google trying to find the correct answer. it is reassuring being able to converse with Wendy, who is an expert in the field, and ask for her advice on your application. It makes the process less daunting and more enjoyable.
Kiara De Gouveia
Kiara De Gouveia
Curro Durbanville
Deciding to choose The University Advisor at Varsity Abroad and more specifically working one on one with Wendy is one of the best decisions I have made. Wendy’s vast knowledge of the ins and outs of the application process overseas is absolutely priceless. More so, I had...
Louis-Franz
Bridge House School
Deciding to choose The University Advisor at Varsity Abroad and more specifically working one on one with Wendy is one of the best decisions I have made. Wendy’s vast knowledge of the ins and outs of the application process overseas is absolutely priceless. More so, I had the privilege of working with the most organized, punctual, humorous and hard-working women. Thank you so much for the opportunities you opened up for me Wendy. I can wholeheartedly say that anyone who chooses to work with Wendy will have the same door-opening opportunities as I did.
Louis-Franz
Louis-Franz
Bridge House School
Wendy's personal touch unlike other companies made me feel at peace with the entire process. Personally, writing essays and preparing for SATs were the most daunting part as the writing style is incredibly different from the type of essays I would usually write. Wendy's editors made this process a breeze. ...
Connor M
Bishops Diocesan College
Wendy's personal touch unlike other companies made me feel at peace with the entire process. Personally, writing essays and preparing for SATs were the most daunting part as the writing style is incredibly different from the type of essays I would usually write. Wendy's editors made this process a breeze. Coming from the NSC curriculum, SAT questions are asked in a different manner and Wendy's comprehensive SAT prep course was a lifesaver. As daunting as the process might be, trust the process and most importantly, trust Wendy. She knows what she is doing and will do everything in her power to aid you through this process.
Connor M
Connor M
Bishops Diocesan College
I applied to universities in both the UK and the US. Wendy knew both systems inside out & structured a complete project plan around my applications. We met regularly which helped me select the colleges I wanted to apply to and then always kept me focused on the...
James Willcox
Curro Durbanville
I applied to universities in both the UK and the US.  Wendy knew both systems inside out & structured a complete project plan around my applications.  We met regularly which helped me select the colleges I wanted to apply to and then always kept me focused on the key next steps.  Wendy encouraged me throughout but also pushed me in those moments when I needed it most. Wendy took away so much of the complexity, stress, and uncertainty in the process.  It’s a lot of work and it can be quite daunting, but the structure and advice Wendy provided kept me on track and helped me improve the overall quality of my applications.
James Willcox
James Willcox
Curro Durbanville

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