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  • Lilana Slater

PLAN B: Wait-Listed, Deferred, Rejected, Oh MY!

OK, so things didn’t go exactly as you had planned. DO NOT DESPAIR! It’s not the end of your future. We must always establish a PLAN B for such an inconvenient circumstance. Let us regroup and examine each possibility you may experience besides a letter of acceptance.

Wait-Listed or Deferred

UGH! Is there anything worse than a college’s indecision about your future? You would have almost hoped for a rejection letter than a wait-listed letter. At least with a rejection letter, you know where you stand. However, if you have been wait-listed, you have been placed in a holding pattern. The college feels you are too strong of a candidate to simply be rejected, so they wait-list you to see how many students with acceptance letters actually bite. Once the colleges know their yield for the next school year, they can proceed to their wait-listed candidates to fill-in the class. The percentage of wait-listed students ending up with an acceptance letter is small. With today’s competitive admissions scope, many schools do not need to revert to their wait-listed candidates.

What Can You Do?

The first thing you do not want to do is panic. The next thing you want to do is think long and hard about the college that deferred you. Was it really the college for you? Do you think there isn’t any school out there that would have been more perfect? If you feel it is worth pursuing, you have to find out some information.

1. Call the admissions officer personally to find out why you were wait-listed. Were you missing information? You must do this, NOT your parents.

2.Try to read between the lines. If you feel you still have a shot, ask your guidance counselor to call on your behalf to find out more.

3. You need to decide on your college of choice as it stands and send in the deposit on time. You don’t know about the deferred college, but you do know which colleges want you. Work with those to guarantee your place.

4. In Spring, write a follow-up letter and send to the admissions department expressing your continued interest in their school and if they want additional information sent to them like improved grades and test scores.

5.Follow-up the letter with a phone call directly to your admissions officer expressing your interest.

6.If accepted, respond quickly and follow-up with a note of appreciation to the admissions officer. Express your change of plans to the college you sent your deposit to and thank them for their opportunity.

7. If no acceptance letter follows, don’t burn bridges. Send a thank you note for their time and consideration. You never know where you will end up.


If you have been working with College Driven, chances are likely you were accepted to at least 1 of your 7 choice schools (yes, 7! This is the maximum number  of schools to which you should have applied, if you did your planning efficiently). Rejection letters happen. It may be an indication that you would not have fit in well with the upcoming class. College admissions offer no guarantee and there is no secret formula for getting admitted. Shrug it off, move on, and consider the wonderful years ahead of you at the colleges that did select you.

It Matters Where You End, Not Where You Begin

Get excited about the school that chose you. Take solace in the fact that there is no one perfect school for you. If you hired College Driven to help you along the way, know that all the schools to where you applied were right for you so be happy you got into one of your top 7 schools. Out of over 3,000 schools in the country, it’s quite an accomplishment to have narrowed it down to 7; any of which would have been a “perfect” fit for you. If this hasn’t been your experience, call College Driven TODAY! There may still be some time to get you on the right path for you!

These are only the undergraduate years. If it really means that much to you, then you can always apply for transfer to your wait-listed school and see what happens. It doesn’t really matter where you begin your studies. It’s more important where you end.

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