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Help needed - no offers - two wait list places

(23 Posts)
Messedup2016 Sat 13-Feb-16 18:32:48


I desperately need advice on how to turn a wait list place into an offer.

Dd currently at a state primary so no prep head support. I've mis-judged her academic level and from four schools have two nos and two wait list places. It's heartbreaking after she has worked so hard. Her private tutor is surprised she didn't do better.

What can I do to make sure at least one of the wait list places turns into an offer? These are not top schools but schools typically used as backups.

Grateful for advice.

dietcokeandwine Sat 13-Feb-16 18:48:04

Write to head or registrar (whichever has written to you confirming the wait list place). Thank them for the wait list offer, stress (without going OTT) how keen you are on the school and what a good fit you feel it would be for your DD. Acknowledge that you appreciate they will have lots of DC on their wait list, but you really hope they might be in a position to make your DD an offer at some point, etc etc.

I took this approach when my eldest DS was wait listed for a school that we felt was ideal for him. The school had stated that they had set a deadline of date x for offer families to respond, and hoped to be able to offer more places after date x. DS got an offer on the evening of date x.

No guarantee of anything of course but it is worth a try op. Don't despair as there will be a lot of movement on wait lists between now and September.

Abracadabra10 Sat 13-Feb-16 18:49:16

Sorry to hear this Messedup - but it is better than 4 rejections, that's for sure! A waiting list place means your dd has met the criteria for admission and the school would like to offer her a place if possible. Waiting lists do move, but some schools more than others. Would you be able to say which schools you are considering? Definitely worth ringing the schools concerned every couple of days and sounding super-keen. Could you ask your head to ring and put a word in after half-term?

Mandzi34 Sat 13-Feb-16 19:13:37

Agree with Abracadabra10, possibly the Head of your current state primary could call?

LIZS Sat 13-Feb-16 19:13:59

Agree keep in touch with them, there may be movement in early March. Did you apply for state school places?

jeanne16 Sat 13-Feb-16 19:53:28

Send an email to the 2 waiting list schools outlining exactly why you really want a place at their school. Try to identify some specific aspects you particularly like about their schools and why this would really suit your DC. Schools are affected by this. They know lots of people are upset when they get a waiting list place and will actually take a dislike to the school because of it. It is useful for the school to know who on their waiting list genuinely wants a place.

keepcalmandthengiveup Sat 13-Feb-16 20:42:29

Also it might be worthwhile to get the tutor to write a letter, detailing her progress and attributes. It is horrible, but at least you are on the wait list, which I think is a foot in the door. Note also that lots of people will be waiting for grammar places, and schools like Tiffin, Lady Margaret and Graveny, and if they get those, they might take those up, so expect more movement after the state schools come in. It is sooooo hard! good luck

Lurkedforever1 Sat 13-Feb-16 21:25:40

If they offer bursaries, it's worth bearing in mind that with some schools, there will be kids offered a full fee place but a too low or no bursary that will give up their places once they've heard back from all they've applied to, and are currently holding onto a place whilst on the reserve list for a bursary. Many independents have more competition for the funded places than they do for the fee paying places, but until the parents know where they stand, they'll all be holding onto the place hoping a bursary becomes available.

Hippo2016 Sat 13-Feb-16 22:55:41

Hi messed up. I am sure it will work out. Do you want to say which schools as may help of people have experience from previous years. If the are back up schools perhaps the wait lists move quicker..

NWgirls Sun 14-Feb-16 08:54:36

OP: There will not be any movement until we are closer to deadline day, when cascading waves of "no thanks" will reach registrars.

I agree a quick email is important now, to ensure they know you are still (very) interested. One thing I believe registrars like to hear (and which may perhaps sway one) is "your school is our number one preference, and we would accept an offer immediately" - which I assume is true for at least one and perhaps both of your WL schools (jointly).

I also think you should call the registrar - in a week or 10 days - as you may then be told something about your chances, you can repeat the point above, and may be told when you should call again.

Was any of the 4 schools a member of the London girls consortium?

PM me if you wish. Stay cool and keen.

Bluelilies Sun 14-Feb-16 09:31:47

I'd do all of the above, but also consider a plan B. Did you apply to a state school as a back up? If not, you've missed the main deadline, but there's a later deadline ( in April I think) when they take more late applications and try to slot them in somewhere. Or else have a look more widely for less selective private schools that might still have places.

Gruach Sun 14-Feb-16 09:51:43

OP Did all the schools select purely on exam marks?

IME (but perhaps at very different schools) the Head's report from the current school and the interview are equally influential. Feedback regarding children placed on the waiting list may focus on a relative lack of extracurricular activities or over tutored and unspontaneous conversational responses. The advice then might be to step up these elements and the current school would make sure news of any creditable activities over the following year were relayed to the prospective school. But it seems your waiting times are projected to be much shorter so this may be irrelevant.

Messedup2016 Sun 14-Feb-16 11:15:58

Thank you so much for all your replies.

Here are answers to specific questions:

LIZS I have applied for three state schools. Two of these are very over-subscribed and we are unlikely to be offered a place. We should be offered our third choice state school and this is the ultimate back up.

NWgirls and Abracadabra10 Three of the schools were Consortium schools. We are on the wait list for Queen's Gate.

Gruach Dd is in Year 6 at a state school so must move to a new school in September. Feedback I have from one school is that English paper let her down. Maths, interview and school report were fine. I'm not sure how much attention private secondaries pay to school reports from state primaries, though.

Here is the plan so far to turn a waitlist into an offer:

1. During half term I will write emails to each school (and send hard copy letter directly to heads who signed the wait list place letters) thanking them for the wait list place and giving reasons why we think their school is a good fit for dd. I really do think these schools are a good fit so this will be easy.

2. For the school that is our preference of the two I will tell them that we would accept a place immediately if offered.

3. I will ask current head to contact both schools, get feedback and tell them what an asset dd would be to their school. As she is a state school head she is under no obligation to do this but I think she will do this to help us.

4. In ten days I will follow up with a phone call to both schools, ask about our chances and find out when to call again.

5. Keep my fingers crossed.

Is there anything else I can do?

Bluelilies Sun 14-Feb-16 11:20:09

The other thing your could consider is a prep school that takes up to agree 13. They often lose a few kids at 11 who decide to move on early, so have a few spaces. Would mean all the stress of entrance exams again in two years time of course, though she might be better prepared by then

Bluelilies Sun 14-Feb-16 11:20:34

age, not agree

Bluelilies Sun 14-Feb-16 11:23:13

Oh, and ask them where she is on their waiting list. She's probably ranked so knowing what number she is and how many waiting list kids they offered places to last year will help you know where you stand

Needmoresleep Sun 14-Feb-16 12:12:17

I am not sure at wait list stage children are definately ranked. And even if so, being likely to accept a place if offered will push you up any rankings.

Write. Add in any extra information, BF going, direct bus route, interest in key school sport, choir etc, and ask for feedback on the likelihood of them offering a place. Be clear you would take the place if offered.

As September draws closer, what schools will not want is to offer an available place to someone who does not take it, as each time they may lose a couple of weeks and thus increase the likelihood it will not be filled.

They will probably be fairly straightforward. If they are unlikely to go to wait list they should tell you. If they think they may have to, they will be encouraging.

After that phone every two weeks. The Registrar is your new best friend. (Note, most Registrars are helpful and will understand your anxiety.) A child who will take a place if offered is a useful commodity and so it is worthwhile continuing to emphasise this. (I also suspect the schools like children with nice, reasonable and organised parents.)

Wait lists will move:

1. When the deadline for acceptances passes
2. When state school offers come out
3. At the start of the summer term, when parents sitting on state and private offers become liable for a term's fees.

Beyond that there will be the odd place because of relocation etc. You only need one girl to drop out of somewhere like SPGS for it to trigger a cascade throughout SW London schools as various girls "trade up".

Accept the state place and also phone up a couple of 13+ co-ed preps. They lose girls at 11+ and will often have places. They go at a cracking pace through Yr 7 and so your DD would then be in pole position for an occassional place. There would be no need to apply until you know absolutely that neither the WLs nor the preferred state place will come through.

I am so glad we are almost at the end of this. All I need is DD to get a University offer.... Seriously though, your chances are good.

DramaQueen38 Sun 14-Feb-16 14:25:31

Re your point 2; I would be telling both schools that you would spring to action if offered a place.

Messedup2016 Sun 14-Feb-16 17:13:06

Thank you bluelillies and needmoresleep

I will bear the prep school in mind as another back up option.

Drama Point taken

Bashfulblue Sun 14-Feb-16 17:40:45

Just to say don't despair - in my DD's year several people got offered the schools they wanted from the waiting list. What they had in common was that they all felt strongly about the school in question, and made this very clear. So I do think that's important - let the school know, don't wait for them to get back in touch with you. Good luck!

Messedup2016 Fri 04-Mar-16 07:29:49

Thank you so much to everyone who offered advice and helped me put together a plan. It worked!!!!

Yesterday I got two calls offering wait list places. I'm so relieved and dd is very happy she has a definite school now.

Wishing good luck to everyone else who is still waiting. I've heard there will be more movement early next week when the deadline for acceptances passes.

friendofafriend Fri 04-Mar-16 22:19:45

Well done. So happy for you and your DD.
Lovely happy ending.

Needmoresleep Sat 05-Mar-16 00:38:11

Thats great news. Congratulations.

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