What to do if you’ve been waitlisted by your dream school

What to do if you’ve been waitlisted by your dream school

July 14, 2020

So, you’ve been waitlisted at your dream school. It’s a little disheartening, isn’t it? So near, yet so far. For what it’s worth, congratulations are still in order. A very small fraction of those who apply actually make it far enough to get on the waitlist. Now, coming to the important part – crafting documentation that shows your continuing interest. Before we get into how to think about creating these documents, it is worth noting that every school has different preferences and guidelines on what they expect once you’ve been put on the waitlist. Please review those guidelines and submit documentation accordingly. For some schools, submitting additional documentation can actually be detrimental to your chances of getting accepted. However, for schools that accept additional documents, there are a few things you can do to communicate to your dream school that you are still interested in attending:

The first step is to take some time and reflect

There is no doubt that you are a stellar applicant, but something must have been lacking for you to end up on the waitlist. It’s a painful realization but one that is absolutely necessary to draft an honest and compelling letter of continuing interest. The shortcomings in your application could have ranged from obvious indicators such as low test scores to more nuanced factors such as subpar work experience. Put yourself in the shoes of an admissions committee member and write the top three reasons why you would be hesitant to accept an applicant such as yourself.

The second step is to list out the actions you might have taken to address some of these shortcomings

This is easy to do for objective criteria such as your test scores. If your GMAT score was an issue and you re-took the test and got a higher score, that’s a pretty straightforward narrative. However, you should spend some time to think this through for more subjective factors. For example, you might feel that you lacked strong leadership experience in your application. In this case, you can talk about any recent projects you’ve been on where you assumed a leadership role.

Finally, tie this all together by stating what you learned and reiterating why you’re a good fit

Be as specific as possible. In the previous example, it would be more impactful to talk about specific leadership skills such as persuasive communication or time management that you picked up through your actions. This will give you an opportunity to tie these skills and experiences back to your long-term goal and ultimately your desire to attend your dream school.

When writing this letter, be direct. Make sure you re-iterate the fact that the school where you have been waitlisted is your dream school. And avoid making it sound like another application essay – that’s not what the admissions committee wants to read. Above all, be genuine and give it your best shot. Good luck, we hope you get the acceptance that you’ve worked so hard for!


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