Waitlist Victory Part 1

I haven’t seen the official numbers yet, but rumor has it that Ross took very few people from the Waitlist of Perpetual Limbo.  Does this inflate my ego slightly?  I’d be lying if I said no. 🙂  Of course, in about two months all 430+ of us will care less how we got admitted — we’ll be too mired in course waivers, pre-interview workshops, and happy hours to really even care! 

However, I can confidently say that I navigated the eleven weeks successfully — and I’m sure some of my e-colleagues would say the same thing.  So to prepare future applicants for what may come, I’ll present a couple of suggestions, sample documents, etc. over the next several posts (Note: This may follow some of accepted.com’s advice but not to the letter).

1. Respond to the waitlist invitation immediately.

If you’ve received an offer to remain on the waitlist, don’t hesitate.  The longer you wait, the less time you have to prepare your waitlist strategy.  I responded, literally, two minutes after I received my decision.  The next morning, I promptly moved on to Number 2.

2. +1 DAY POST-DECISION: Schedule your updates and get to [indirectly!] know your AdCom. 

This sounds anal because it is. 

One of the first steps I took was to schedule various tasks in my Outlook calendar.  By following the “Persistent, but not a pest” philosophy, I put about 16-20 days in between each of my updates.  And I got detailed: Update 1 includes blahblah, Update 2….and so on.  Everyone knows that a good project will start out with a baseline schedule, so this will encourage you to treat this experience as a project, not a struggle.

Of course, these updates are contingent on the updates AdCom WANTS.  Ross is somewhat vague on what they require, but they certainly are big fans of significant updates.  New opportunities at work = good.  New books you’ve finished = bad.  New essays and recommendations = probably not gonna help.  These options vary, and this is where the next step may come in handy (if the admissions websites and your decision letter haven’t helped already).

3. +1-5 DAYS POST-DECISION: Notify your contacts.

“Contacts”, you ask?  Have you spoken to anyone at the school outside of the admissions committee?  Did you exchange emails with a current student or professor?  How about alums and other MBA graduates?  Now’s the time to let them know of your situation.  They probably won’t be able to sway the AdCom, but the discussions you’ve had with them will be beneficial in an upcoming update (keep reading, buddy. 🙂 )

4. +2 WEEKS POST-DECISION: Update #1.

I sent my updates directly to the admissions director who signed my decision — and I was fortunate to get a good one, as she responded to my questions within a day or two.  However, the shrewd waitlister will be able to accommodate any staff member with whom he/she communicates, so don’t see it as an obstacle if the admissions staff doesn’t respond promptly (or at all!). 

So, what did I send initially?  I sent a letter in the following format (with professional headings, including the school’s address):

Dear [name of Admissions Director],

[Insert a couple sentences of greetings and confirmation that you’re still hooked on the program {and don’t lie. 🙂 }]

Career Advancement: [Use this space to explain new opportunities at work, especially those that pertain to your intended field of study and how it further crystallizes your ‘fit’ at the school]

Official Campus Visit: [Even though I spent four years in Ann Arbor, a visit during the application period affirmed that I wasn’t just applying because I liked UofM.]

[Close it up with a re-confirmation of your commitment to the program.  And again, don’t lie, punk!  Include contact information just in case it’s not clear already.]

….now, breathe.  You’ve got one update in.  Just remember not to stretch what you send, be a good evaluator of what you’ve done since you applied.

Next: Update #2 and #3 and Schmoozing with the Current Admits


5 Responses to Waitlist Victory Part 1

  1. t-test says:

    m@ – It is a great achievement to have gotten off a waitlist this year. All the top schools noticed a huge increase in applications (who knows whether the yield will match) so it’s great news.

    I have switched onto wordpress now (as below). I actually worked by viewing the code on your page and learning that way….

  2. Robin says:


    Congrats on your admit to michigan. I have been placed on the waitlist for Michigan. Can I ask you a few questions regarding the waitlist? This is my email id. rantony@gmail.com.


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