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How to Get Off a College's Wait-List

This guest blog is from Paul Hemphill, a private college admissions coach and financial aid specialist. He has created six DVDs and written two books about strategies that make students stand out in the college application process. They are available from Amazon


No college is worth the agony of being wait-listed. And 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. However, if your child truly feels he or she MUST go to a certain college, here are my tips for how to get off the waitlist.

  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?
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