This is a segment of Bautis Financial’s college planning series, which includes webinars, podcast episodes, blog posts and downloadables to aid college-bound students and families in the admissions process. Visit our college planning hub for more valuable resources.
High school students have just a few weeks to decide which college they will attend ahead of National College Decision Day on May 1, which is the deadline many higher education institutions set.
But this year was another tough college admissions season: A record-breaking increase in applications pushed acceptance rates to all-time lows. With more students rejected or waitlisted at their top-choice school, college-bound seniors have a tough decision to make, some having to pivot to back-up schools.
Related: How to Build a Better List of Colleges Using Safety, Target and Reach Schools
Here’s what to do if you’ve been waitlisted, according to experts.
As a refresher, waitlisted applicants have neither been outright rejected by a college, or have been extended a formal offer of admission.
Instead, a waitlisted student could be considered for a seat between now and September, depending on whether there’s sufficient space for them in the incoming class, among other factors.
The first thing prospective students should do when they are waitlisted is write a letter of continued interest to the college, letting them know why the student wants to attend.
Then, it can be beneficial to provide an update of the student’s progress since the application was submitted. This could further demonstrate what the prospective student would bring to the table.
For example, perhaps you took classes or completed a research project that helped solidify why that school is now an even better fit.
Lastly, be ready to make a decision if admitted.
The timeline for being admitted off the waitlist varies, but many schools try to let applicants know before June 30, according to experts. If that admissions offer comes, the prospective student should be prepared to act fast, because colleges want a quick answer – often within 24 to 72 hours.
That means families need to be ready for the possibility and discuss in advance what they can afford and other factors in the final college decision.
Begin your journey of mastering the college admissions process with Bautis Financial. Whether you’re a parent or guardian, student or school counselor, book a free consultation to discuss how our financial advisors can be a college planning resource.
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