Q: Help! I don't think I am going to get into my dream school. I applied early action and was waitlisted. I have sent them updates, and also filed for other schools, but I am so worried about the volume of applications. What if I don't get in anywhere?
A: Not getting in anywhere is every senior's nightmare. It's also the college counselor's nightmare! If you have been advised well (and have listened to that advice), you will have applied to a range of schools: some will be extremely competitive, others ought to be a good target for you and a few will be almost definite. Nothing is "safe" today, so the term "safety school" doesn't really apply.
Even though there is a larger number of applications today, just about everyone will get in somewhere. It might not be your "dream" school, or even your #2, but it will be on your list, so you have already decided it would be a good place to attend. It is very, very rare for a senior not to have any place to go.
And remember: It's only March, so some schools are still accepting applications (go to NACACnet.org for more information about this). Also, students will be admitted from the waitlist usually until June or even early July.
Being waitlisted is not a comfortable place to be, but it's not an outright denial and so it offers possibilities. Schools never want to fill up all their enrollment spots with Early Decision or Early Action applications—colleges always save places because they know that most applicants will apply in January. You have already sent them updated information.
Your final decisions ought to arrive, if they haven't already, by early April. Try to stay calm. You may be puzzled, disappointed, thrilled—or a mixture of all of these! Bring your questions to your college counselor first, not to the college admissions office itself. Your counselor ought to be able to explain the decisions. You can follow up on those that are still puzzling, but unless there has been an actual mistake, colleges rarely change decisions.
Or perhaps your biggest problem will be deciding where to enroll from all the places that do accept you. Good luck!
Got a question for the college counselor? Submit it to [email protected] with the subject line "Ask the College Counselor."