Waitlisted at Private Schools – Now What?


Since March 2nd, my firm has been inundated with continuous inquires (phone calls and emails) from stunned and stressed-out parents because their children are wait-listed.  Many of the inquiries are from parents whose children have been wait-listed from ALL schools to which they applied!

One of the effects of COVID-19 on private school admissions is that more families are choosing private school for their children; thus, the competition has increased. Private schools that were competitive are now hyper-competitive and schools that were marginally competitive are now competitive. We have observed an increase in applications (and therefore waitlisted applicants) in schools in the tri-state area, especially the “Fairchester” area (Westchester and Fairfield Counties) and Northern New Jersey

WAIT-LISTED means that “we love your child, but we don’t have spot available today, tomorrow or perhaps never”.  Two factors are important to consider:

  • SOMETHING WASN’T RIGHT in your child’s application process.  Parents make a lot of mistakes on their child’s application.
  • In this hypercompetitive environment, in many cases, wait-listed may be “forever”. Top schools rarely “reject” students outright.  The outcome, however, remains unchanged…a perpetually waitlisted student has not been accepted and will not have a place in their private school of choice.

Many parents are mistakenly drawing from their skills as corporate executives, tiger moms, financiers, etc. rather than accepting the benefits of a consultant’s professional skills and years of experience in private admissions diplomacy. An understanding of real-time changes, as well as nuances particular to each school at a particular point in time are important for successful outcomes in private school admissions to top schools.  Many parents also fail to fully appreciate and understand the human element of diplomacy in the selection process and decisions in private school admissions.  As a result, after the waitlist, they reapply again only to be waitlisted AGAIN.

When parents call our firm to inquire about our services, they engage us because they understand the importance of investing in their child’s educational future.  The successful outcome is invaluable and preferable compared to the prospect of their child being waitlisted again and again and again.

Dr. Paul Reginald Lowe is the managing director and lead admissions expert at Pinnacle Educational Center Admissions Advisors Group’s Private School Admissions Advisors.  Dr. Lowe specializes in providing exclusive concierge-type admissions advisory services for U.S. and international students who are interested in applying to top U.S. boarding and day schools.  Dr. Lowe helps U.S. and international students gain admissions into top U.S. private schools even after they have been wait-listed and rejected.  Dr. Lowe and his team of admissions advisors also visit prestigious and elite private schools, where they have the unique opportunity of interacting one-on-one with heads of schools, directors of admissions and senior admissions personnel.   Dr. Lowe provides parents with the knowledge they need to decide where there children should attend and the admissions strategies they need to be admitted into their top-choice school.