Moving from the Wait List to Acceptedby Patti Brugman

By Patti Brugman

The hardest calls for us are from students who applied on their own and have been wait listed at all their colleges. It happens to good students who write lousy application essays.  Luckily, we can help create a plan of admission success.

To move off the wait list and receive an offer of acceptance, the first thing you should do is return the response card or answer the e-mail request.  Let your school know that you would like to stay on the wait list. In addition, consider writing a short, well-researched letter to Admissions that adds new information to your application. (Note: Students admitted off the wait list will be still be offered financial aid, but rarely merit aid.)

One of the most common questions that colleges ask and students fail to answer is:  Why are you applying to Perfect U? Now, as you’re trying to move from the wait list, it’s time to reconsider that question. Go to the school’s website and brochures. Remember back to any contact you’ve had with the school, and write a few sentences that reveal your knowledge of their campus and programs. Let’s look at a few successful student responses:

·      “I love the fact that I will be able to study for a year abroad without losing any time from the sequence of my engineering classes. At Perfect U, a semester in Spain includes all the classes I’ll need to stay on track. I’m now certain that Perfect U is my first choice college.”

·      “On a recent visit to Perfect U, I talked with a student about what he liked and disliked about the campus. This student told me that he found the number of student protests to be disruptive. I look forward to the chance to speak freely about my concern for Proposition 8.  What bothered that student, inspires me. Perfect U is perfect for me.”

·      “When I talked to Dr. Kuhn at my interview, he agreed that my ambition to pursue both economics and international relations would work well at Perfect U. I also told him that I want to study both Chinese and Arabic. He loved the idea. Perfect U is my first choice school because of Dr. Kuhn’s great encouragement.


Moving off the wait list is most successful if you let a school know that they are now your first choice school.  You can make a difference by stating the level of your commitment. Do your research, keep it brief, and end with an honest promise:  If I am admitted, I will attend.