So, you got waitlisted. There is a special feeling of overwhelming frustration that descends upon the students that are stuck in admissions purgatory (waitlisted), so here are a few do’s and don’ts to get yourself off the waitlist. To make things more interesting, lets examine how you should approach the 5 Stages of Waitlist Grief.

Denial –

Waitlist - Shock

You were top of your class. You kicked ass in your extracurriculars. Maybe the SAT / ACT could have been higher but you should have got it. Maybe you expected to get in and not seeing an obvious “Congratulations” left you staring at the computer screen in shock. It’s not you, admissions are getting more and more competitive each year.

Anger –

Waitlist - anger

“THIS IS SO UNFAIR!” That’s usually the reaction following the first foray into the blackhole of forums where people are discussing their successes (**cough** College Confidential & TGID **cough**) Anger is usually prompted by seeing other, in your eyes “undeserving” candidates get in to that school. This is the first experience where things aren’t always explainable. Each college is trying to build a “class-mix” – perhaps they had too many people with your profile, perhaps they had too many people for that major, perhaps, you really weren’t good enough.

Bargaining –


This is when you start drafting that begging email to the university that waitlisted you. Something along the lines of “I love you, please take me!” STOP. Do not beg. Do not stalk. Do not send them twenty emails in two days and call incessantly. Take control.

Be eager and creative, but not scary or desperate. What do you really need to do? Write one, maybe two well-written letters updating the college about your achievements and explaining why you should still be admitted. A letter from your counsellor / principal / teacher / supervisor also may help (ONE LETTER, NOT ONE FROM ALL OF THEM). Think about giving them a call or requesting for an interview to express your interest (may not work). Think about visiting (but have a plan for what the visit means). Don’t do something stupid.

Depression –

Waitlist - pain

You may be miserable, you may wallow for a while and that is ok. You worked hard, and admissions kicked your butt. Be sad for a day. Indulge in the chocolate / ice-cream / sad movie binge fest for a weekend. But remember, your life ISN’T OVER!! This is not a rejection, this is a maybe. So buck up!

Acceptance –

Waitlist - Acceptance

Warning, pun approaching. ACCEPT your situation and ACCEPT one school that you want to go to! Wait for the waitlist but realize, you got into college and that is pretty great.