Successful Waitlist Strategies

Application Strategy

Successful Waitlist Strategies

Getting off a university's waitlist is challenging so the right strategy is essential. I have used the following tips to earn admission to UChicago (after being deferred) and to Cambridge (after failing to meet initial standards for admission). I hope these tactics and email template are useful for you too.

A concise email to admissions is vital. Your email should include:

  • You are still interested in attending.
  • How your application has strengthened since initial submission.
  • Specific contributions you can make to the campus community.

Additional considerations:

  • Addressed to Director of Admissions or (even better) the admissions officer you've previously corresponded with.
  • Keep it short. You want your message to be read and to persuade. Long letters are likely to be deleted.
  • Only one or two sentences on why the school is your top choice. No need to waste space on this.

A persuasive recommendation should include:

  • What's changed since your original application.
  • How you have positively shaped your current campus community.

Additional considerations:

  • Better if the letter comes from someone that's supervised you or worked closely with you and can speak on you as a person.
  • Letter should be sent to the Director of Admissions or the admissions officer you've corresponded with previously (and referenced in your email).

Here is a sample waitlist appeal email template to help you get started:

Subject: Note on Jack Sparrow's Waitlist Candidacy

Email Text: University of Cambridge Judge Business School

Office of the Director of Admissions

Dear Dr. Lawson,

I write today to thank you for your continued consideration of my candidacy and to update you on the merits of my application.

Since my original submission in December of 2012, my application has strengthened considerably. I have recently been elected Secretary of the campus investment club, been promoted to Research Assistant in the economics lab and completed an English essay on Chinese monetary policy (please see attached). I have successfully juggled these extra curricular commitments while also earning a 3.7 GPA during the Fall semester.

I believe my passion for business and insights on macroeconomics will make me a real contributor to the University of Cambridge's academic environment and social culture. I look forward to being a leader in the business school economics club and trade simulation project. Cambridge is still my top choice and I will attend if admitted from the waitlist.

Many thanks for your continued consideration.

Very respectfully,

Jack Sparrow

Yale '13

B.A., Yale University 2013


Remember, when the going gets tough, the tough get going :-)


Greg Nance

ChaseFuture CEO