I got waitlisted this weekend.
Being put on a school’s waitlist is about the most confusing thing in the world. Because no matter what you feel, it doesn’tfeelright. You get excited: heck, they’re considering you and you’re on the list and you could get a letter any day this summer having them tell you to sign up for classes - you’re in!
But that doesn’t feel quite right because it’s definitely not a guarantee. The odds of admission are different for every school and for every academic year. So there’s also the possibility that you take the glass-half-empty approach and all you can think is: “I didn’t get in.” Which is technically not true because there’s always the possibility that…
And see how it goes round and round in this sort of alternatingly encouraging and self-deprecating cycle of emotional turmoil? Being waitlisted is its very own emotion, I would say. It’s a whole process, and I feel like it - more or less - goes like this:
1. Cry. This one is entirely optional and given your state of mind when you find out, crying is a very real possibility.
2. Rage (also, an alternative to Step 1). Again, if you’re in the appropriate state of mind, you might need to go outside and let out a really primal scream in your driveway.
3. Wallow. Grace period of between 12-36 hours (after that it just gets patently unhealthy) wherein you convince yourself that you are a complete idiot and were stupid for applying in the first place. Or alternatively, you are convinced that your education has plateau’d and without the advantage of this school, you will never get to where you want to be in life.
4. Alternating patterns of denial (“I’ll hear from them, they’re bound to let me in, my application was rockin’”) and something akin to acceptance.
5. Make shit happen. Realize that instead of passively laying on your bedroom floor/kitchen table/neighbor’s lawn/best friend’s couch and waiting for the academic deities to take you from this world, it might be best to actuallydo something. Respond to the letter/email confirming that you want to stay on the school’s waitlist. Call the admissions office, tell them you got waitlisted but you still really love the school and want to come and take a tour. Or if it’s too far away, ask to speak to an admissions representative and ask some pertinent questions about the school. Make your interest known. The amount of stories I have heard of people having their waitlist turn to an acceptance after showing a proactive interest in the school is vast.
So suck it up and realize that you’re going to have to play nice and talk yourself up, and maybe kiss some butt.
I’m currently at Step 4 and at the beginning of the week I will take my own advice and call admissions to reassert my interest and I will ask for a tour. Because even though I live rather close to this school, I have never been and I really should if I want to go so bad.
Wish me luck. I shall keep y’all posted.law school waitlist waitlisted grad school
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