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How to Improve Your Chances of Acceptance If Waitlisted at Your Favorite College

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Written by CB Community

Did you know that, despite performing well in your final exams, and meeting the entry criteria to your favorite college, you may end up on the waiting list? How so? Well, colleges use the waiting list for many reasons. For example, they may set the enrolment target to attract the best of the best, hence use the waiting list as a backup plan in case they fall short of their goal. Or, the college may want to portray an image that it is a highly selective institution. So, what happens when your name lands on the waiting list? Here are some quick tips to increase your chances of acceptance:

Get to know why you were waitlisted

There are dozens of explanations why your name can end up on the waiting list. Hence, don’t speculate. Instead, contact the college administration and find out the reasons. It could be that they have limited space in student housing. Then, find out when the rooms will be available next. Or it could be your application was not outstanding. Then, find out when the college will be accepting more applications to make an impressive college application.

Do You Want To Wait?

Now that you know why your name is on the waiting list, do you want to wait? Or, would you instead pursue other college placements? It is crucial to decide your next move early so that you have ample time to get a slot in another college as a last resort. Indeed, you are now at the mercy of the college. You may want to put a deposit in another college so that you secure another slot as you wait for this one. But, if you prefer to wait a little bit longer, then here is your next step:

Emphasize Your Interest: Did the college have the impression that you chose it as a backup? Then, prepare yourself to prove that you are eager to study at this college. Discuss your plans with the college. Explain how their coursework and certification will propel you to achieve your dream.

Be Proactive: Don’t wait for things to happen. Follow up. You could find out if the college ranks those students who are on the waiting list. If so, find out where you stand. Then, find out how to scale up to a particular position. Or, for example, are you planning to enroll at Princeton? Then, visit the Going Ivy website for detailed information on what more you can do to increase your admission chances.

Request for an Interview: Yes, get a one on one session with the college admission board. More so, if the initial application process did not include an interview session. Ensure you prepare adequately for this interview. Talk to your counselor. Or, liaise with your school alumni or current students in the college. Inquire about what to expect during the meeting. Plus, always review your studies in readiness for a quick test.


If you get waitlisted by your favorite college, don’t be quick to give up. The college may have achieved its target applicants. Still, there can be available spots later on. Now is the time to prove that you deserve the slot. Is there any skill you did not mention in your college application? Prepare to show it. Then use the above tips to increase your chances of getting the open slot.

For more great college tips, check out the other blogs on College Basics.

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CB Community

Passionate members of the College Basics community that include students, essay writers, consultants and beyond. Please note, while community content has passed our editorial guidelines, we do not endorse any product or service contained in these articles which may also include links for which College Basics is compensated.