College Trends 2014: Transfers and Waitlists – The New Norm

The envelope arrived, and it wasn’t a big one. You’ve been waitlisted or denied to your number one school. Now all your dreams of sitting on the quad and being part of that college’s legacy are dashed, right? Not in 2014, where this year waitlists and transferring are becoming realistic strategies to obtain an education at some schools. The belief that a spot on the waitlist is the same as being denied admission is only true at some institutions. Although not all schools utilize their waitlist and accept applicants, some schools do, such as The University of Pennsylvania, which admitted 100 students off of the waitlist in 2013. A waitlist decision on your application is a neutral stance from admissions officers, and a position on the waitlist is all about turning that maybe into a yes. In the a future blog post, we will discuss methods on how to change a waitlist position into an acceptance.

What if you aren’t one of the lucky ones on the waitlist? Being denied means that you will not be able to attend that college next fall, but it doesn’t have to mean you won’t attend that college next spring or the following fall. Students used to stay put, locked in one institution for four years, but 2014 has seen that this trend has given way to the age of transfers. Going to your second choice college for a year, doing well, and then applying to your first choice school has become a popular strategy for students who didn’t shine in high school but do exceptionally well in college. It’s a second chance to bring something to the table for that one reach school, a second chance to show how you will contribute to their community. By being active at your second-choice school and doing well academically, you show the admissions committee the positive impact you could have on their campus. The point is this: a thin envelope is not the end of the world. A thin envelope can be a final decision or a second chance according to how you choose to define it, and 2014 trends say there has never been a better time to make it your second chance.

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