The application process is not over for waitlisted applicants. You’ve still got a chance of getting into your dream school. Now’s not the time to slack off, and it’s certainly not the time to give up. Continue fighting for that acceptance!
Your waitlist updates (you write those) and letters of support (other people write these) should focus on three areas: your growing list of qualifications, steps you’ve taken to ameliorate shortcomings, and how you are the perfect fit with the school.
Your step-by-step guide to writing a waitlist update
Here’s what you need to do to create a waitlist letter that will get you OFF the waitlist:
1. Begin your letter by briefly thanking the school for considering your application.
Don’t talk about your disappointment; instead, focus on how the school’s philosophy and approach fit your educational goals.
2. Discuss your recent accomplishments.
Choose achievements that you did not address in your application and try and tie them back to key themes in your essays. These could include a recent promotion, freshly minted A’s, a new leadership role in a project or organization, a recent volunteer experience, initiatives you’ve taken in your department, business, or club, additional work responsibilities, etc. What is new and improved since you submitted your application?
You want to prove to the adcom that while you were a responsible, accomplished, impressive candidate before, now you are even more so.
3. Talk about the measures you’ve taken to ameliorate your weaknesses or shortcomings.
Focus on the specific actions you’ve taken rather than on the actual shortcoming. For example, if you have or have had weak communication skills, discuss how you enrolled in Toastmasters and how the experience influenced and inspired you. Examine, identify, and address weaknesses in your education, career, and community life.
4. If you are sure that upon acceptance you would attend, inform the school of your commitment.
The message you want to get across is this: You were born to attend this school and this school was created just for you. Your fit is as perfect as a cozy glove on a cold hand.
Stay positive as your letter will reflect your attitude. Adcoms do not want to read a bitter and angry letter, nor will they want that writer in their classrooms.
Waitlisters: 2 additional points to consider
A few things to look out for when creating your waitlist update:
1. Before you start writing, be sure that your target school is open to receiving waitlist letters. If the school states explicitly that it doesn’t want to hear from you, then do not contact them – doing so will only hurt your case.
2. When you’re at the brainstorming stage of the letter, and then again once you’re done writing, check and then double check that you haven’t repeated material already in your application – you don’t want to waste anyone’s time!
Where do you go from here?
Accepted’s admissions experts are ready to help you get off the waitlist and into the school of your dreams. We’ll help you identify areas you can highlight in your waitlist letter, assist with strategy, and help you edit your letter so that you can be sure it makes the best possible case for your admission. Check out our waitlist services and contact us to get started.For 25 years, Accepted has helped applicants gain acceptance to top undergraduate and graduate programs. Our expert team of admissions consultants features former admissions directors, PhDs, and professional writers who have advised clients to acceptance at top programs worldwide including Harvard, Stanford, Yale, Princeton, Penn, Columbia, Oxford, Cambridge, INSEAD, MIT, Caltech, UC Berkeley, and Northwestern. Want an admissions expert to help you get Accepted? Click here to get in touch!
• Fitting In & Standing Out: The Paradox at the Heart of Admissions, a free guide
• Help! I’ve Been Waitlisted!, a podcast episode
• What is an Accomplishment?