#6 – Think like a marketer. Think of yourself as a new, unproven product that’s just been released to the public (your first-choice college). You’re an unknown quantity who has to prove him/herself beyond the confines of the official application.
Think about how you can ratchet your interests and achievements to a higher level. For instance, if you’re already the movie reviewer for your school newspaper perhaps your local city or regional newpaper might welcome a monthly column providing the teen perspective on new films.
If you design t-shirts for yourself or friends, how about combining this talent with your volunteer work at the soup kitchen and launching a fund-raiser, creating new tees for the cause?
If you have “show and tell” examples of these new undertakings (e.g., newspaper clips, photos of you in your custom tee), send these to your admissions-office contact.
#7 – Be persistent in your passion. We’ve talked a lot about passion because it’s an important part of an applicant’s profile. As you execute your self-marketing campaign, be it to clinch admission after deferral or to jump off the waitlist into a dorm, don’t forget to show your admissions rep that you are passionate about their college. How do you do this?
Well, you don’t do it by begging to let get in. Don’t pander, whatever you do. It makes you look desperate. The positive way to show your passion is to let them know that you know a lot about their school-your school-and you’re not afraid to show it. Take the time to investigate the school’s Web site and student newspapers (both official and unsanctioned). There’s a huge amount of information available from these sources. Another source we’ve mentioned before is the students. Check out the student Web pages and pick a couple of likely candidates for contact. You might even want to ask a student if s/he knows anyone there who was admitted after deferral or from the waitlist. If so, ask what that person did to get in. You never know what secrets you might learn. Bottom line: Don’t put your brain to bed. Use it.
All this new information, then, can be worked into your regular contacts with admissions. The overall impression you’re trying to project is that here’s a young man or woman sitting on the fence who is showing one heck of a lot of spirit, energy, and intelligence about getting into this school. You’ll stand out from the crowd because the majority of deferred and waitlisted applicants are content to just sit and wait, which often turns out to be the death knell for their chances. Persist in your passion; press for the payoff.
#8 – Be humble in victory and defeat. Finally, at some point, you will reach the end of your quest. For those who are deferred, the final word will come in late March or early April. For those on the waitlist, things are less specific. Sometimes, waitlisters can find out where they stand on the list, if the school ranks its list. You may be able at least to find out how many are on the list. Sometimes it’s many hundreds. Obviously, if you choose to hang in there indefinitely on a waitlist, you’re going to have to enroll somewhere else in the meantime. This can happily lead to the loss of an enrollment deposit if your waitlist marketing pays off.
In any event, you’re eventually going to learn your fate. When you do, I suggest that you remember the lesson of the words emblazoned over the entrance to Wimbledon stadium’s famous grass center court. They tell us to treat victory and defeat the same, as the imposters they are. What does that mean? Well, in the context of college admissions, it all goes back to what I said at the top of this article-in general, things tend to work out for the best.
Accordingly, whether you get the fat envelope or the thin one in April and whether or not you ever hear from the waitlist doesn’t mean that you’re any better or worse than anyone else. Accept it all as good fortune and, if you come up short, don’t pout and go negative, blaming this person or that circumstance-or worse, yourself. On the other hand, if you get in, don’t gloat. It might have gone the other way just as easily. Be humble and gracious regardless of the outcome. In either case, the best days of your life are yet to come. Trust me on that point.