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From Waitlisted to Accepted: Strategic Moves to Get Into Your Top College

Getting placed on a college waitlist can feel like you're in limbo, but there are proactive steps you can take to improve your chances of being admitted. While there are no guarantees, these strategies can help you demonstrate your commitment and potentially secure your spot.

1. Understand the Waitlist Process

Firstly, understand that being waitlisted is not a rejection. It means that the college considers you an admissible candidate, but they don't currently have a spot for you. Waitlist policies vary by institution, so familiarize yourself with the specific college’s process.

2. Confirm Your Spot on the Waitlist

As soon as you’re waitlisted, respond according to the college's instructions to confirm that you wish to remain on the list. Some schools require a simple online form, while others may request a letter.

3. Express Your Continued Interest

Write a letter of continued interest to the admissions office. This letter should be concise, well-written, and express your genuine interest in the school. Reiterate why you believe the college is a good fit for you and update them on any new achievements or awards since your application.

4. Update Your Application

If you have any significant updates since you submitted your application, such as improved grades, new extracurricular achievements, or any awards, let the admissions office know. These updates could positively impact your application.

5. Get an Additional Recommendation Letter

Consider asking for an additional letter of recommendation. Choose someone who can offer new insights into your character and accomplishments that weren't previously highlighted.

6. Stay Engaged with the School

Attend any virtual or in-person events for waitlisted students. This shows your interest and helps keep you informed about the school.

7. Consider Your Options

While you're on the waitlist, don't forget to consider other options. Make sure you have a spot secured at another institution in case the waitlist doesn't pan out. This can also reduce stress as you'll know you have a solid plan regardless of the outcome.

8. Be Patient and Polite

Admissions officers deal with hundreds of waitlisted students. While it’s important to stay in touch and express your interest, be mindful of their time. A respectful and patient approach is always best.

9. Be Prepared to Act Quickly

If you're accepted off the waitlist, you may have a limited time to respond. Have a plan in place so you can act swiftly.

10. Reflect on Your Fit with the School

Use this time to reflect on why you want to attend this college. If you're admitted, you want to be certain that it's still the right fit for you.


Navigating the waitlist requires a blend of persistence, patience, and tact. By taking thoughtful steps to reinforce your interest and update your application, you put yourself in the best possible position for admission. Remember to stay positive and proactive, and no matter what happens, there are many paths to success and finding the right college fit for you.


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