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Thread: Navigating wait lists

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    monetary
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    Navigating wait lists

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    I would love to hear some advice from people about how to navigate being on a waitlist, especially for a school you have a strong preference for. Particularly interested in:

    1. Should you reach out to the school?
    2. How strongly should you communicate your preference? If it's true, is it worth saying something like "If you make me an offer, I will accept it"?
    3. What is the ideal time to reach out? March 15th, April 1st, April 14th?
    4. Should you talk about other offers you're considering, or wait until they ask?


    I imagine most schools have their waitlists in some kind of rough order of who they want to make offers to, but they don't communicate that. Just wondering what the best way to handle this situation and maximize chances of getting an offer is, especially that could lead to an offer before the very last minute.

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    Re: Navigating wait lists

    I run admissions in our program. If you haven't heard from a school yet, you are on the waitlist (even if their admissions system doesn't explicitly say this).

    It's fine to reach out to schools. I wouldn't wait until April 1st. Now is fine, or wait until mid-March.

    I think prospective students overestimate the value in concealing their other offers. Most people apply to a range of schools, so telling me that you are admitted to a place that we (should) dominate doesn't signal anything negative. It just tells me that you got into another program and have to make a decision by April 15th. Are people worried that it might look bad if they aren't able to say that they are admitted to a peer program?

    You should only say that you will accept an offer if you are sure about it. My advice is not to say that, even if you think it is true. Once admitted, you want to get to know the program a little bit and make sure it is a good fit for you. You may change your preferences. You don't lose anything by toning it down a little bit and saying that a program is an especially good fit for you would love to go there.

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    Re: Navigating wait lists

    Quote Originally Posted by Wahasky View Post
    I would love to hear some advice from people about how to navigate being on a waitlist, especially for a school you have a strong preference for. Particularly interested in:
    Should you reach out to the school?
    Yes, please please do.
    How strongly should you communicate your preference? If it's true, is it worth saying something like "If you make me an offer, I will accept it"?
    As strongly as you can...while staying completely truthful.

    What is the ideal time to reach out? March 15th, April 1st, April 14th?
    As soon as you can. And nothing wrong with contacting again if circumstances change.
    Should you talk about other offers you're considering, or wait until they ask?
    That would be helpful.

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    monetary
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    Re: Navigating wait lists

    Thank you tbe and startz, this is super helpful advice.

    One more question: at the school that I'm interested in, I received a letter letting me know I was waitlisted as an attachment sent to me by a program assistant (not a professor). The letter itself is from a professor and chair of the adcom, but it says that if there's any change to my circumstances I should email the program assistant -- there's no invitation to reach out to professor themselves. When I'm ready to check in, should I do so with the program assistant or with the professor?

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    Re: Navigating wait lists

    I was waitlisted at Michigan, I replied to both the assistant and the program director, and got a reply from the director. I have been corresponding with the director ever since (I have declined).

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    Re: Navigating wait lists

    Quote Originally Posted by Wahasky View Post
    Thank you tbe and startz, this is super helpful advice.

    One more question: at the school that I'm interested in, I received a letter letting me know I was waitlisted as an attachment sent to me by a program assistant (not a professor). The letter itself is from a professor and chair of the adcom, but it says that if there's any change to my circumstances I should email the program assistant -- there's no invitation to reach out to professor themselves. When I'm ready to check in, should I do so with the program assistant or with the professor?
    Include both people on the email.

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    monetary
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    Re: Navigating wait lists

    Quote Originally Posted by tbe View Post
    Include both people on the email.
    Do you think addressed to the staff member with the professor CCed, or vice versa? Sorry', I know it probably doesn't matter too much I just want to make sure to get this right.

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    Re: Navigating wait lists

    Quote Originally Posted by Wahasky View Post
    Do you think addressed to the staff member with the professor CCed, or vice versa? Sorry', I know it probably doesn't matter too much I just want to make sure to get this right.
    It doesn't matter. I would just include both on the "to" line.

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