How To Get Off A College’s Wait-List (with video)

No college is worth the agony of being wait-listed. There! I got it off my chest.

Getting wait-listed is when smart students have a real case of Dumb. What do they do? They wait!

Typically 1/5 of wait-listed students get in, but don’t go by my figure because each college has its own rule. Some colleges accept no one off a waitlist, thereby making the waitlist a total scam by the college.

To the point. A student must ask if the wait-listed college is really worth going to. Of nearly 3,000 4-year colleges, if a student feels he or she would crawl on broken glass for 50 miles to attend that school, the student has a real problem with perspective.

And any parent who buys into that perspective is part of the Dumb and Dumber team. Some parents need to feel validated through their children by applying to so-called “elite schools” (whatever that means). That’s so they can feel good about themselves for being smart parents. Yawn.

No college earns the typical teen-exaggerated perspective, but it exists.

So what do we suggest to the student who would crawl on that broken glass?  I can’t believe I’m actually writing this, but it’s worked for a handfull of my students over the past ten years. The video says it best, but here are my bullet points:

1. Call the college to find out when the admission director is in the office.

2. Go to the college unannounced.

3. Ask to see an admission person (if director is nowhere to be found) for just 2-3 minutes (Tell the receptionist how far you’ve traveled).

4. Chances are good you’ll see an admissions person.

5. Thank the admission person for the 3 minutes you’re asking for.

6. If you have to, READ 3 statements about why the school will be better for accepting you – what will you contribute to the freshman class?

7. Hand the piece of paper to the admission person, thank him/her for their time, and ask when you can expect to hear from them.

8. If the answer is in a week, hand-write a “Thank you” note for the brief meeting; if in a day, email your Thank you.

9. Guess who the college will remember when they review their wait-list candidates?…

Now work hard on some perspective that’s reasonable. And be a fan.



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