Waitlist/Deferral Strategies

Strategies When You Have Been Deferred or Waitlisted

When you have been deferred or waitlisted, you shouldn’t just sit back and hope that the school changes its mind.

It can feel utterly disheartening when you receive a notice from your top-choice university that your application has been deferred or that you have been placed on a waitlist. Deferrals occur when applicants who applied via early decision or early action are told that they will not be admitted early but instead must wait until the schools release their application decisions for the regular application period to find out whether or not they have been accepted or denied. Waitlisted students receive their notifications in March, and the school may or may not open up a spot for you later. If you are like most students, you’d much prefer to receive an outright decision so that you can move on rather than receiving a notice that you have been deferred or waitlisted. There are several things that you can do to increase your chances that you will be ultimately accepted into the school.

Handling Deferrals and Waitlists with Going Ivy

Going Ivy is a team of educational experts and tutors, and we have attended the top schools in the country, including the Ivy League colleges. We help students to prepare for college, and we also are able to help you to employ strategies in order to change your deferral or waitlist decision into an acceptance. Some of our students have ultimately gained acceptance to their top-choice schools after being deferred or waitlisted. We can assist you with updating your application to improve your chances.

Understanding Deferrals and Waitlists

Most students who apply via the early application or early decision process do so because they are absolutely certain about the school being the one that they want to attend. Early decision applicants have a better statistical chance of being admitted because they are not able to attend other schools if their early decision school accepts them. Early action candidates are not forced to attending the schools, so they may not receive similar boosts in their odds of admission as do early decision candidates. Either way, sometimes colleges don’t want to accept a candidate early, but they don’t want to deny them early either. They will defer the candidate to the regular applicant pool and consider them then.

When you are waitlisted, it happens when the regular decision notifications are sent out, and instead of an acceptance or denial, it is like receiving a maybe without an end date. It leaves you sitting and waiting for a decision about acceptance that you might never receive. Waitlists are used when not enough of the accepted students choose to enroll, and the waitlisted applicants are then sent admission offers. Because the top colleges have high yields where most accepted students enroll, waitlists are infrequently turned into acceptances. It is important to understand that schools use waitlists for their own benefits rather than for yours. If you have been deferred or waitlisted, it is important that you take some steps to turn your maybe into a yes.

Waitlist and Deferral Strategies

When you have been deferred or waitlisted, you shouldn’t just sit back and hope that the school changes its mind. Instead, you should implement a carefully designed strategy to market yourself in order to enhance your application. This makes sense because a school that isn’t interested in you would have simply denied you outright. But, since your school deferred you or waitlisted you, it has expressed some interest in you, giving you an opening to increase that interest.

In order to do so, you will need to make yourself known to the school’s admissions office without being an annoyance. You will also need to show the school more about your passion for attending the school as well as more about who you are. You can do this by implementing your strategy as soon as you learn that you have been deferred or waitlisted. Here are some steps that you should consider:

Talk to the admissions office

You need to let the admissions office know that you are still interested in attending the school. You can do this by sending an email or a letter. The best person with whom you might want to communicate is likely the representative for your region, so you will need to find out his or her name and address. You can get this information by calling the college’s admissions office.

In your letter, make certain to clearly state that you have a continuing interest in attending the college. You’ll need to explain why you believe that the school is well matched to you, using highly specific reasons. Include information about the things that you have achieved since your application was sent. After you have sent this initial email or letter, you can continue to send updates as you have additional news to share. You can also create new updates by entering contests, getting jobs or engaging in other worthwhile activities.

Be realistic

It is important that you understand what your chances are and that you are realistic about them. This may include carefully reviewing your second-choice schools in order to determine which one you might choose if you are not ultimately accepted by your first choice. If you are deferred in an early round, you are likelier to be accepted than if you are placed on a waitlist. For example, Mildred Johnson from Virginia Tech notes that approximately half of the students who are deferred are ultimately accepted during the regular application period. By contrast, very few students who are placed on waitlists are ultimately accepted by the elite schools.

Avoid gimmicks

Some students think that standing out may require them to use gimmicks to get the attention of the admissions office. Don’t do this. Admissions officers are often annoyed by gimmicks, and it is likelier to leave the wrong impression than to help you.

Get Help from Going Ivy

In order to get your application from a deferral or waitlist into the acceptance file, you will need to engage in a lot of diligence and care. If you truly want to attend the college, you may need help with planning and implementing a strong strategy. At Going Ivy, we understand the types of information that admissions committees like to see. Contact us today so we can help you in your quest to gain acceptance into your first-choice college.

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