College Waitlisted What to do Next

College Waitlist

One of your biggest worries is for the second half of your senior year to see if you actually get into your top school. Some schools are easy to get into if you at least have good grades in high school, get a good ACT score and stay involved.

However, some of the more academically rigorous schools will be much harder to get into.

Obviously, if you’re someone who is smart enough to be able to apply to anything near an Ivy League school then you’re going to be anxiously waiting for an acceptance letter.

You applied to a school that may be a tough one to get into. Things can happen that is why all college freshman apply to more than one school. This is in case you do not get the top few picks you still have someplace to go to college.


It is important to talk about being waitlisted.

This has happened to many of my friends and it really upset them because they never really thought it would happen to them. I personally just think it is a really good idea to look at all your different routes and alternatives, especially when it comes to admissions.

You probably have a few colleges that are at the top of your list to go to. If you apply to a college and put on a waitlist, then the college admissions have decided to put you in a holding pattern.

This means they have not approved or denied your admissions.

  • Being waitlisted means you are going to have to wait longer to see if you will be accepted.
  • You need to check with the school to see if they have gone to the waitlist in the past. I would also check how many students they admitted from past waitlists.
  • If a school has rarely or never admitted waitlist students, then time to go with other school options.
  • Do not flood admissions with calls, emails or recommendations to sway their decision. This will do the opposite and you will get rejected.

First Choice Declined College Admission

I had one of my friends that had his heart set on a specific school. He decided to hold out for that school’s acceptance, and he turned down a few scholarships to play sports at a few well-known colleges.

Big mistake, because he learned that he got denied from his top school because of the way he went about things. He not only lost out on going to his top school, but he lost out on amazing scholarships and other colleges as well.

He was not even put on a waitlist just flat out denied.

This is a terrible but perfect example of why you need to plan for every scenario and situation. When he got denied from his top school is probably going to seem like the end of the world.

But not to sound like everybody else, things always work themselves out. No matter where you end up, if you think long and hard about it, you’re going to find friends, be happy and get your degree.

Alternatives if you Have Been Waitlisted

Nowadays, there are even many schools that have satellite campuses.

Satellite campuses are otherwise known as off branch campuses which are smaller versions of the main campus of the University. Many times, if you can’t get into the main campus you can get into these smaller branch campuses.

Many schools if you go to the off-branch campuses for a year, you are even automatically admitted into the main campus after that year. This is an awesome opportunity that allows you to attend your university even if you don’t get in on the first try.

These are the types of things that you need to investigate, research, and think about when applying for schools. You want to make sure that you have a backup plan for every situation so that you’ll end up happy and with a degree in the end.

Apply to Multiple Schools

My biggest piece of advice to seniors in high school is to seriously apply to as many schools as you can. If you’re not spending a ridiculous amount on application fees then, apply everywhere. This way if a few schools waitlist you there are back up schools you applied to.

You never really know how your mind is going to change and what you’re going to end up getting with school admission acceptance. Go on as many visits as you can, talk with as many current students as you can, and research the colleges.

The worst thing that you can do is only apply to one or two schools and then not be able to go to either of them. You are always going to have a backup plan you always want to have more options.

Believe me, I applied to many schools that I wasn’t even really considering just in case something else happened.

Most of the time if you’re planning on filling out the common application all you must do is fill out a few extra questions to apply to each college. This means that it’s not really taking up too much of your time anyway. You just want to have all avenues covered.

I have heard way too many bad stories about not getting into their top schools and the students had no backup plans.

If you know that all the schools, you’re applying to have a high acceptance rate then maybe you don’t need to apply to as many schools. This is just for if your top one or two schools have lower acceptance rates than usual.

Applying to extra schools is not going to hurt you. It will give you information about other universities and provide a safety net if you get waitlisted or rejected at your top schools. It’s kind of a win-win situation.

Have Waitlist a Plan

After you have gone through the entire process of applying to all the schools that you’re going to. You need to come up with a plan. Basically, you want to figure out which college do you want to go to the most. So basically, this is going to be your top school choice and if you get in this is where you’re going to go.

You want to major in nursing, and your top school is Ohio State, then your plan is to major in nursing at the Ohio State University. However, what do you want to do is have a few backup plans just in case it doesn’t work out. So maybe you plan on going to a satellite campus like OSU Newark branch for the first year and then transferring to the main campus.

You can plan on attending Kent State University if you can’t get into Ohio State.

A different back-up plan is to attend Youngstown State University for a year or two until you can transfer into Ohio State University. Basically, you just need to think through all the different scenarios and figure out which ones would best work for you.

I’ve had friends work through all the possibilities so if your first plan does not work then you go with the second plan. I have many friends who attended a branch campus and are now transferring to the main campus to attend school.

I also have many friends who transferred schools in general and ended up loving where they ended up. If you have everything figured out, then you really have nothing to worry about.

It’s all about getting a degree.

It is definitely just better to plan this out before getting a letter saying you were waitlisted or denied. Basically, if you’re waitlisted you want to follow your plan of applying at a bunch of universities to cover yourself.

To learn more about college acceptance, graduation and retention rates check out this article.


Overall, it is important to realize that life is not perfect. Things don’t always go as planned. I know it is upsetting when things don’t go as we want them. You can always be prepared with having a backup plan.

Even if you are waitlisted at the number one university pick, you can still pursue the other schools you applied to. I will be completely honest with you, you’re probably going to like the college you had selected second, third or fourth. College is what you make of it no matter where you go.

You don’t really know as much about college when you’re in high school as you think you do. College is a lot different once you actually get there. If you have an open mind, you can enjoy any college.

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