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Pushy Waitlister


peppermintgal
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I recently heard that I was waitlisted at my first choice school. I immediately emailed the professors to tell them it was my first choice and asked if they wanted any additional material from me. They responded saying they were impressed with my application, but did not ask for anything from me. I am now feeling that perhaps I should have been more specific and asked if I should send more recommendations or writing samples...or if perhaps I should simply go ahead and send those along. I do not want to annoy them and seem overly demanding and pushy, but I also want to be sure they know how enthusiastic I am. What should I do?

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I wouldn't. If they truly are impressed with your application, they don't need any more material. The reason you are on a wait list is because there all the slots for this year are currently full, and there isn't one available for you. Therefore, you need to hope and pray that someone who's already been admitted decides to go elsewhere, because there's no other way you're going to get in. Enthusiasm can only take you so far. You've already expressed your interest, and that will probably be enough to help you out if a slot opens up.

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If you've been waitlisted...that's pretty much the end of it.

Depending on the university you have one of two options (1) you're on the list in an order -or- (2) you're randomly on there and they choose by lottery.

This piece of information is more important to find out. They're not going to accept anything else paperwork-wise from you because they'd have to basically reopen the application process to everyone and that is a hellacious endeavor no one wants to go through. If they need more info from you, they'll ask.

If you're on the list in an order and you're near the top, your odds may still be good (unless you were waitlisted for Yale, in which case you need to just figure that everyone accepted said 'yes' and move on with your life). If its a lottery, move on anyway because your chances are not improved by the quality of your application but rather by sheer luck that they choose your name to fill the "potentially" open spot.

Don't irritate them. Not a good idea. If they were impressed, they were impressed. I know its hard but let it be at that.

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Thanks for your replies! Who exactly do I direct questions to about how the waiting list works at a particular school?

I would call the administrative assistant for the department--since they are usually the key to all things. Just politely say that you're trying to make plans for the future ("I'm sure you can sympathize"...) and that you are curious as to how the wait list for XYZ university works. If they're really chatty, they may tell you where you are or in what area of the list you are so that you can have a more clear idea of how this works...you'll get more good responses with honey than vinegar so I'd be really, super-duper nice.

Once you've got that info, take a deep breath and move on.

Good luck!!

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Hey,

I, too, am doing to waitlist dance and wanted to put in my two cents. One of my M.A. profs recently reminded me that this is not a bad year to be waitlisted. Essentially, funding was cut so much this year that there has been a profound impact on admissions; this means that many people who would have been admitted in a typical year are now waitlisted or, in cases, rejected. In short, the dept. probably wants you, it just doesn't know if it can have you yet. Keep your spirits up, be patient, and try to look on the bright side: you're halfway in!

Good luck :D

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I would say that the only thing you might be able to do to help your case is that, if it's geographically feasible, you might be able to swing some kind of stopping-by-office-hours routine. "Hi, Prof. X, I see you have office hours on Mondays at 3 p.m. and I will be on campus [or visiting Y other campus in the area, which has accepted me]. I wonder if I could stop by to discuss your research project Y which has influenced me greatly and also to get your feedback on the definite offers I've received," or whatever. Show up, be very well-informed about the person's work, demonstrate if possible that you are Very Wanted by other programs and express excitement and interest about them but make it clear that you are not committed to them, apply no pressure whatever. Hint that you'd be very excited about their program, too, but show no stress whatever. Basically, do the academic/jobhunting version of flirting.

However, if this not feasible geographically, I'd wait. I wouldn't drown 'em in paperwork.

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I thought that if you have been waitlisted,that means that your rank has already been assigned. So there isn't much that a specific professor can do for you to get you in. If there are no more spaces, he/she can't make one for you. Deadline is April 15th for everyone, so you have plenty of time to wait for the wait list, and then plenty of time to prepare for the September start date.

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Thanks Lizzie for that information. I have also read that there will be an exceptional number of waitlisted students this year because schools are still unsure how the economic situation is going to affect them and so do not want to over enroll. However, for me it is healthier to assume that I will not get in and perhaps be pleasantly surprised come April or May.

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Hey Peppermintgal,

I'm right there with you! Best to try to be mellow and ride it out for the next 4-6 weeks and, if waitlists work out, crack open the champagne. In the mean time, my days revolve around trying not to think about things too much (I did that for a week and it was killing me!) and keeping my spirits up. I have a sneaking suspicion that it's going to come down to the school where I'm waitlisted, in part because the program seems to be my best fit. As such, gotta distract, distract, distract in the mean time :)

Good luck!

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