So You’ve Been Waitlisted…Now What?
You make a copy of your test scores, you carefully write your essays, you make sure every “i” is dotted and “t” is crossed on your VSA application, put it in an envelope, give it a kiss for good luck, and send it off to Programs for Talented Youth. Maybe this will be your first VSA, or maybe you are a veteran who has spent several summers living (kind of) like a college student, but, chances are, you are filled with the same anxiety, excitement, and hope at the prospect of spending 1-3 weeks in an accelerated class with people who are as smart, clever, and creative as you.
Then you get an e-mail telling you that you are on the “Waitlist.” All the classes you wanted are full. Bummer!
So now what?
You could rub your lucky rabbit’s feet, dance around a four-leafed clover, and hope somebody else backs out.
But there are also some more constructive, less superstitious things to try.
Wait. Here is how the Waitlist works: When a space in a class opens up, we go to the next person who selected it as one of their choices, no matter how high it was ranked! This means that when you apply, it helps to be a bit generous with the courses you choose. Only select classes you can see yourself taking, but know that if you only select one, two, or three classes, not only is your chance of getting into VSA lower, but so are your chances of moving off the Waitlist.
Naturally, this means when you apply, you’ll have a better shot at getting in if you apply early and don’t treat the course offerings the way a toddler treats her dinner plate. Be selective, but don’t be too picky!
Before joining PTY as a Program Coordinator, I was a VSA instructor for five years, straight. At the end of a session, it was not at all uncommon for a student to confess that my class was not their first pick. For some, it was their very last pick, but they were surprised at how much they liked my class, thrilled at how much they learned, and encouraged by all the friends they had made.
Call. You can always call and ask how long the Waitlist is. Knowing your shot of getting in will help you plan your summer. Naturally, there are no guarantees no matter where you are on the Waitlist.
You can also call and suggest a few other courses you can see yourself taking. Maybe in hindsight you realized you were a bit too picky. Maybe you can take Biomedical Engineering, even though you really want Med School 101. Don’t worry! If a space opens up in your top course, we can still move you into it, but it would be a shame to deprive yourself of the VSA experience just because you did not get your top pick.
Start planning for next year. Maybe you will not make it to the Vanderbilt campus this summer, but if you really want to come to VSA, start planning now. We release the catalog in late December and start accepting applications in early January. Read our newsletter (because that will give you exact dates), mark your calendar, set a reminder on your iPhone, or tie a string around your finger! Do whatever will help you remember not to put off submitting your application as soon as you possibly can.
Don’t forget about WAVU either! Maybe it is not the weeks-long experience you were hoping for, but it can still be a lot of fun!
VSA keeps growing, year after year. This summer we are offering more courses than ever before! Chances are, we will offer even more choices next summer! But do not put off sending your application in. We keep expanding our course offerings because our pool of applicants keeps growing! We hate telling bright people like you that you maybe can’t come to our program. We will probably never be able to accommodate everybody, but we do our best. We want everyone who wants the VSA experience to be able to benefit from what we have to offer: accelerated classes, taught by experts in their fields, in a college environment, with a community of their true intellectual peers.