Accepted, Waitlisted, Denied

There was notable surprise when students who applied early action were deferred from colleges they regarded as their target and perhaps even as a safety school.  As colleges begin to release their regular decision outcomes to applicants, some students may again be astonished to discover they were denied or waitlisted at schools to which they thought they would be accepted.  This year selective private colleges and large public colleges saw a dramatic increase in applications.  Harvard reports an increase of 40% more applicants compared to last year and Virginia Tech received 42,000 applications for 6,675 coveted spots. 

 April 1st marks the date that colleges release all of their admission decisions.  Students will either be accepted, denied, or waitlisted.  Celebrations are a given with acceptance letters, especially if scholarship money is part of the package!  What do you do if your child is waitlisted or worse, denied? 

Heartbroken, your child may think their test scores weren’t high enough, their GPA too low, or that their essay could have been better.  This year, with so many applicants to choose from it is hard to say in some cases why one student was selected over another when they look exactly the same on paper.   

Whether your child was denied or waitlisted here are a few things your child can do:

  • Write a letter of appeal
  • Submit new grades or test scores
  • Inquire about position on waitlist
  • If denied, ask to be a waitlist candidate
  • Call/email admissions and ask about next steps
  • Apply to other colleges that offer rolling admissions

Not all colleges will reconsider their decisions or accept letters of appeal, however it doesn’t hurt to try.  If your child decides they don’t want to remain on the waitlist, please be sure to let the school know so that another student is closer to getting into their top choice.  Students should also contact colleges to which they were accepted but do not plan to attend.  

You may never know the reason why your child was waitlisted or denied from a school, and that’s okay.  Rejection is an opportunity to strengthen resilience and take advantage of opportunities that may not have otherwise been considered.


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