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You’re on the Waitlist: Now What?

What to write to a College When You’ve Been Waitlisted

In between rejection and acceptance sits a form of purgatory known as the waitlist. It’s where you go if your transcripts, test scores and admission top college essays can help you get off of the waitlist.essays are great, but they’re just not good enough to gain you instant admission. Similar to how you apply to different colleges because you know not all will accept you, colleges know not all of their accepted choices will choose to attend, leaving spaces to be filled. Instead of doing nothing, take an active role by keeping in contact with the university. If they know you’re interested, you’re more likely to get in when a spot opens.  Here is our guide to improving your chance of getting accepted off of the waitlist.

Express Interest

write a winning college essay.As soon as they let you know you’re on their waitlist, thank them and explain how you are still very much interested in attending. A great approach is to express understanding in student population limitations but that you’re still very excited there’s a chance you’ll get to join them in the fall. This sets you apart from those that don’t reply to their status update. Articulating excitement is a means to show them that if admitted, you’ll take advantage of all of their opportunities to advance yourself and the school’s name.

Keep them Updated

Just because your application has been processed, it doesn’t mean that you should stop working toward your dream.  Keep your possible future school updated on any achievements, awards, joined clubs, activities and even improved grades that occur after you have been waitlisted. Always remember that colleges and universities are looking to bring in students who will expand their prestige. The more proof you have that you’re willing to work hard, the more they’ll see you as an asset.

Offer to Interview

Personalities do not translate well on transcripts or essays. That’s why if you are a very charismatic individual, offer them the chance to interview you either on campus, over the phone or on a video chat. Even if you don’t base your success on personality, giving your name a face sets you apart from the tens of thousands of other faceless waitlisters. Should they decline an interview, follow this up with the fact that you’re always free should they have any further questions to keep communication open.

Be Understanding

Colleges and universities have limited space on their campuses, and this is no fault of yours. Each and every year applications pour in from around the world as students work their hardest to get into a program that will help them realize their goals. Even if you put your best foot forward throughout the entire waitlist time period, there is a very good chance space just won’t open up. So long as you don’t let this defeat you, you’ll excel no matter where you end up.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Writing the College Admission Essay

The college admission essay can be the most important piece of high school writing.  For some students, it can make the difference between the thin envelope and the thick envelope.  Knowing that it is far too important to wait until the last minute to write this essay, we thought we would give you a list of do’s and don’ts for writing that perfect college essay that you can use to get started over the summer.


  • Be yourself
    The best essay is intensely personal and is something that only you could have written.  When reading the essay, the college admission officer wants to answer the question, “What makes this student tick?  Why does he or she get out of bed in the morning?”  They want to learn about what motivates you and ultimately why they should accept you to their school.
  • Write with passion
    Many colleges are looking to craft a well-rounded freshmen class.  That doesn’t mean they want well rounded students.  Quite the opposite, they are looking for students who bring a particular skill or talent to their campus.  They want angular students.  So, write about the things that you are most passionate about.  That will help them to learn what you will add to the college campus.
  • Have someone else read the essay
    The best essay is one that someone who doesn’t know you reads and then gets a sense that they know you as a person, and even better, that they would want to be friends with you.  It is also important to remember, that while spell check may tell you if a word is spelled incorrectly, it can’t tell you if it is the right word.  Almost 20 years later, my father still maintains that the reason my brother was wait listed at Notre Dame was because he wrote, “…and that is why I want to go to your collage.”
  • Tell how you have grown and what you have learned
    It is important to remember, that ultimately, your college essay isn’t about an event, it is about you.  So, don’t just describe an obstacle, tell how you overcame it and what you learned from it.  If you made a mistake, admit it, and take ownership.  Colleges are looking to see growth.


  • Write about an overdone essay topic
    Often students want to write about how they won the big game, or how their summer travel changed their outlook on the world.  These essay topics have become trite.  Unless you can write about them in a fresh way that brings the essay to life for the admission officer, you may want to avoid these topics.
  • Use overly flowery language
    You only get 250 to 500 words to present your case to the admissions office as to why you should be accepted into their incoming freshmen class, so don’t waste any of them.  The best writing for a college admission essay is journalistic.  That is crisp and concise.  It is ok to be descriptive in the opening paragraph to try and grab the readers attention, however, after the introduction, you should be overly descriptive of things, instead you should describe your feelings, emotions, and motivation.
  • Tell them what you think they want to hear
    Too often students tell admissions officers what the student thinks the admission officer wants to hear.  However, that often leads to an essay that isn’t authentic.  Instead, you should focus on what you want the college to know about you that they won’t be able to find anywhere else except in your essay.
  • Be afraid to take risks
    One admission officer told me that not enough students take risks. While you shouldn’t write anything that is too crazy, you do want to take calculated risks.  Don’t be afraid to tell a story that will reveal some of your personality and allow the admission officer to learn what motivates you, even if the story may seem to be a little unusual.
  • Write like you speak
    The college admission essay is a formal essay, it shouldn’t include slang, colloquialisms, or cliches.


The vaunted college essay or personal statement causes much consternation. However, it isn

Using Essay Examples to Improve Your Personal College Essay

Students often think that they have little help writing their college admissionNichols College
essays because the sample essays and essay examples offered by books and websites don