The Unintentional Benefits of the Waiting List

By Anderson Nelson on September 15, 2013
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What are the characteristics that define a great college? Is it the academic reputation, ranking, alumni success, or prospects for employment for its graduates?

Originally, I had all these factors in mind when I was selecting an institution to attend. My experience has taught me that college should not only possess those qualitative factors, but it should provide you with a platform to become a better person. My college decision process took an unexpected turn, and that led me to a college that I call great.


During the spring of my senior year, I began receiving acceptance letters from a majority of the colleges that I applied to; however, the most important college to me, Georgia State, had not sent me an acceptance letter yet. I had my sights set on attending Georgia State -- I was impressed by their reputation in the South as a business school, and I enjoyed not only the atmosphere but also the ambiance of living in the city.

I started panicking as the months progressed with no response on the status of my application. That panic soon transformed to terror when I received a letter saying I was waitlisted.

I thought to myself: I had done everything right; I applied early, had an SAT score above their average, and had a GPA that was above their average.

It became clear to me that housing and financial aid would not be available by the time that they accepted me. At that moment I decided to begin the process of enrollment at institutions I had originally never imagined attending.

Unexpected outcome

I went undecided until the last two weeks of high school and found myself rushing to choose an institution. I chose Kennesaw State University, mostly because my peers were declaring their institutions and I felt the pressure to have one ready. I had also missed the deadlines of the other schools that accepted me; I had waited until I received the letter from Georgia State to take action. In the end, ironically, I did receive an acceptance letter from Georgia State.

I came to Kennesaw with one thing in mind: “Get back to my dream school.” I even began creating a plan that would allow me to transfer there within a short period of time.

However, one thing happened that I never foresaw -- I began enjoying my experience. I was forced to come out of my comfort zone and enter an environment that challenged me on numerous levels.

After getting involved in numerous activities, I could see myself changing into a new person. I was introducing myself to strangers and not only having a conversation but also leaving a lasting impression, which is something that has always challenged me.

I formed friendships with many people who had similar aspirations. I soon realized that I could grow immensely as a person, and I began debating whether I should transfer to my dream college.

College is an extremely important decision in your life. While it is extremely important to know what the college offers, it also important to know how the institution will allow you to grow and overcome your weaknesses.

I learned that things will not always go as planned, and it is how you handle unexpected events that define who you are. In my opinion, I dealt with that unexpected event well, even though when it surfaced, I panicked. I turned an unforeseen event into positive results, and I’ve used all of Kennesaw’s resources to my advantage.

It is possible for someone to attend a college that is nationally renowned and be miserable. I, on the other hand, am extremely happy with where I am at.

About the Author

Anderson Nelson

Anderson Nelson

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