What should you do if you are waitlisted?

Being waitlisted at college that you applied to can be disappointing, but it does suggest that there is still a chance to get in. In addition, a student applicant being placed on a school’s waitlist doesn’t have any guarantees that he or she will get into that school, since it is difficult to predict the number of students who get off a school’s waitlist in any given year.

Chances of getting off a college or university waitlist:

 According to an annual survey conducted by US News and World Report on the admission class of Fall 2015, the average number of students accepted off a school’s waitlist was 20%. Only 14 ranked National Universities reported that they did not accept anyone off their waitlist for the school year 2015-2016, which they included Stanford University, University of Delaware, Lehigh University, and Suffolk University. This survey also revealed that out of the 132 ranked National Universities that submitted waitlist information to U.S. News reported that they do have a waitlist policy, while 161 indicated that they do not.

National Universities Where Wait-Listed Applicants Get In

Link: https://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/the-short-list-college/articles/2017-04-18/10-national-universities-where-the-most-wait-listed-applicants-get-in

Note: This article contains information about the annual survey conducted by US News and World Report about college waitlists.

What you should do if you are waitlisted:

Many experts recommend that students should do the following if they have been waitlisted at their school:

1)  Accept the spot on a Waitlist- Students who have been notified online or by mail from their school that they are on the waitlist, usually have the option to accept or reject being placed on their school’s waitlist. If a student accepts being placed on a school’s waitlist, the student must pay a deposit to be added to that school’s waitlist. In addition, paying a deposit does not guarantee that you will get off the waitlist for that school. However, I recommend that before you pay a deposit to be placed on a school’s waitlist that you check that school’s specific waitlist policy and procedures. I also recommend that before you pay the deposit for a school’s waitlist that you check into the number of students who were admitted off the waitlist for that school last year or in previous years.  

2)  Express Continued Interest and provide updates to Waitlisted school- You should write a Letter of Continued Interest to a school that you have been placed on a waitlist. In addition, you should focus on things that the college did not see in your profile when you first applied. Do you have any new activities to share? Or perhaps new accomplishments coming from your existing activities? It is also important that you do not repeat any information already mentioned from your waitlisted college’s application and essays that you submitted before. Keep in mind that you should not wait a week before your waitlist deadline to submit your waitlist letters, since this could seem that you are not interested in their waitlist offer. However, you should also check a school’s waitlist policy before you start writing your Letter of Continued Interest, since some schools will not allow you to submit additional materials after you have submitted your application such as the University of Washington. Some schools also have their own waitlist essay prompts in which they can be accessed through the student applicant portal after they have applied and/ or paid a deposit for a place on their school’s waitlist such as UC Berkeley, UCLA, or UC Davis.

3)  Submit SIR and Deposit to Another School – You should submit your Statement of Intent to Register and deposit to another school before May 1st, if you have been placed on a waitlist. In addition, this will ensure that you have a school to attend in the Fall, if you do not get off the waitlist.

If you are given a spot off the waitlist, you can cancel your Statement of Intent to Register (SIR) and deposit at that other school. Once you have canceled your SIR and deposit at your previously chosen school, you can enroll in your new school after you have accepted that waitlisted school’s offer and paid the deposit to register for the Fall.

4)  Maintaining grades- Make sure to maintain your course grades during this time, since college admission officers like to see you improve your grades.

5)  Patience- You should wait to hear back from your waitlisted schools, since the time it takes for you to hear back can range from May to July. In addition, the news about your waitlist status can vary from college to college.

What you should not do if you are waitlisted:

- Do not have your parents contact the admissions office and pretend to be you or contact them on your behalf.

- Do not call the admission office to check-in when you will get off the waitlist or visit them to ask why you were waitlisted. Pestering an admissions office typically won’t help and can potentially even hurt your chances.

- Do not tell them of things that you have already reported in your college application and essays to them.

- Do not sit on an offer to remain on the waitlist. If you want to be placed on the waitlist, then you should reply back right away.

- Do not neglect putting in enough time or effort into your Letter of Continued Interest.



Top CSUs and Their Best Majors

By: Anne Johnson, Head Counselor, HS2 Irvine

The California State University (CSU) system is comprised of 23 campuses across California. The CSUs offer students affordable access to undergraduate and graduate education. Based on reputation and selectivity, these are, in my opinion, the top 6 Cal State Universities:


6. San Jose State University - the school is located in Northern California’s Silicon Valley, making it the ideal college for students pursuing careers in computer science, information technology, business management, marketing, and finance. SJSU is also known for its excellent engineering program, which is ranked #18 for non-doctorate programs by US News and World Report.  


5. Cal State University, Fullerton - CSUF’s Mihaylo College of Business and Economics is the largest accredited business school on the West Coast, and includes one of the largest undergraduate accounting programs in the US. The nursing program is extremely competitive and offers unique specializations in midwifery and anesthesia. Additionally, Fullerton boasts strong programs in engineering (#45 in non-doctorate engineering programs, US News), kinesiology, communications, and teaching.  


4. California State Polytechnic University, Pomona - As a polytechnic institute, Cal Poly Pomona specializes in science and engineering fields. Its engineering department is one of the best in the country, reaching #11 for non-doctorate engineering programs, and #5 in the nation in civil engineering, computer engineering and electrical/electronic/communications engineering by US News. In addition, the Collins College of Hospitality Management is one of the best in the world and was ranked #19 for Best Hospitality and Hotel Management Schools in the World by CEO World Magazine. Other strong programs include business administration, graphic design, and architecture.


3. Cal State University, Long Beach - CSU Long Beach is ranked #26 by US News for Best Regional Universities West. With its ever-growing reputation for strong programs in business administration, nursing, criminal justice, and teaching, Long Beach State continues to be more and more selective each year, admitting less than 32% of applicants in 2018.  


2. San Diego State University - SDSU’s Fowler College of Business is ranked in the top 10 best business schools in California by US News. With the Lavin Entrepreneurship Center and the Zahn Innovation Platform Launchpad, SDSU is recognized as one of the top universities for entrepreneurship. Additional popular majors include psychology, criminal justice, and kinesiology.


1. California State Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo (SLO) - Cal Poly San Luis Obispo is ranked #12 by US News for Best Regional Universities West. With a record low acceptance rate of 25% in 2019, Cal Poly SLO is by far the most competitive and most exclusive Cal State University. As a polytechnic institute, SLO specializes in science and engineering fields. Its engineering program is one of the best in the nation, ranking #8 overall by US News for Best Non-Doctorate Undergraduate Engineering Programs. In fact, SLO ranks in the top 3 for non-doctorate schools for the following engineering specializations: aerospace/aeronautical/astronautical, civil, computer, industrial/manufacturing, electrical/electronic, and mechanical.