The Other March Madness: College Admissions Results

It’s that time of year! March Madness is here, and we are well on our way to the Final Four. While some will be celebrating successful brackets, high school seniors will be celebrating college acceptances.

However, for many, that decision will be far less cut-and-dried than a simple “Yes.” After months of waiting, a number of students will be playing the waiting game a little longer. Schools across the country are reporting longer-than-usual waitlists, leaving some very competitive applicants unsure about where they will attend school in the fall.

What To Do If You Have Been Waitlisted
Whether or not you get off the waitlist depends on how many accepted students decide to attend the school. As a student or parent of a child on the waitlist, you may feel that there is not much you can do. That is not the case. It is important to know you don’t have to be stuck in this limbo—let the school know right away whether you will accept or decline your position on the waitlist. Even if you opt to remain on the waitlist, be sure to make plans to attend a college that admitted you. By May 1, you will have to make a deposit at another school in case the school that put you on the waitlist doesn’t call you.

Next, if you want to improve your chances of turning a “maybe” into a “yes,” here is what you should do:
  • As soon as possible, make an appeal: Send a follow-up letter or email to the school (to your regional representative if you have one) and let them know why you would be excited to attend and the reasons their college is still the best-fit school for you. Include any updated information, especially any new grades, accomplishments, and awards. If the school is your #1 choice, include that in your message. You need to convince the school that you will attend if admitted.
  • Get the best grades possible for the rest of the year.
  • Resubmit higher SAT/ACT scores, if possible.
  • Get comfortable with the idea of attending a different college and think carefully about the schools at which you’ve been accepted; it’s normal to be disappointed, but you can also be proud of yourself for all of the hard work you have put in to get here.
May 1 is the “universal reply date” in the college admission world, meaning that, by this date, you should have chosen a college, filled out their enrollment form, and sent in a deposit. (However, this year that date has been extended by some colleges in light of the pandemic. Read your admission letters carefully.) Once the colleges across the country begin to get a sense of what their enrollment numbers look like, they may go to their waitlist if they have fallen short of their enrollment goals. Therefore, you likely won’t hear from a college where you’re waitlisted until that first week in May, and, given waitlist movement around the country, it’s possible you could hear as late as July. That said, a college that has finished with its waitlist, or doesn’t need it, will typically notify the remaining waitlisted students that it is thus “releasing the waitlist,” which means there will be no more admissions for that year.

For further insight, we suggest checking out Rick Clark’s most recent blog here; Mr. Clark is the director of undergraduate admission at Georgia Tech.

We wish all of our students the best of luck with their admissions decisions. No matter what happens, after the madness, there will be a calm as you settle in and get ready for the next chapter of your life.

For help with application acceptances, waitlists, deferrals, or denials, visit http://www.internationalcollegecounselors.com or call 954-414-9986.