Will Contacting Coaches, Professors Help Me Get Off the Waitlist?


I was just rejected from my first choice, and my second choice has had me on the waitlist since January. I sent them a brief note back in January saying I wanted to remain on the waitlist, but didn't put a lot of effort into it since I was expecting to get into my first choice. So now I REALLY want the second choice. What can I do besides keeping them updated on my accomplishments? Can I contact the professors from my intended major to make connections? Should I reach out to the track coach? I ranked top three at all-county for winter track.

There are lots of articles on College Confidential (and most everywhere else you turn these days) about how to get accepted after landing on a college waitlist. Here's one of those oldies from “The Dean."

In your case, you should email your regional admissions rep right away (that's the staff member who oversees applicants from your high school) to say that you will DEFINITELY enroll if accepted. Be sure to first read the article cited above for other tips on what your message should include such as specific reasons that this school is right for you ... and vice versa.

At the same time, contact the track coach, provide your GPA, SAT or ACT scores (if you submitted them when you applied) and your track stats and highlights. Again, emphasize that this is your top-choice school. Ask the coach if he or she can advocate with the admission office on your behalf.

I would recommend that you NOT try to connect with professors. This is their busy season as finals loom, and they won't be thrilled to add your needs to their to-do lists. The exception, however, is if you've done extensive research or have atypical experience in a field that intersects with a professor's area of expertise, and thus the opportunity to work with this professor was a key factor in your decision to apply to this college in the first place. But this isn't a common situation for high school students.

If you take the steps explained here, you will certainly improve your odds of getting chosen from the waitlist. But do keep in mind that many colleges puts hundreds (or even thousands) of students on these lists and then eventually accept just a handful (or even none). So snagging a spot from the waitlist is somewhat akin to buying a winning Powerball ticket. In other words, make sure you're not counting on it!


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