So you’ve been offered a spot on a CRNA school’s waiting list. Congratulations!!! You are so close. Did you know only a small percentage of applicants ever get to the interview phase? Let alone make it to the waiting list.
How do you get off this dreaded waiting list? It’s a question I have been asked a lot since becoming a CRNA. Whenever I speak with these applicants, I remind them there is still hope. How do I know? Well, I have firsthand knowledge because I was one who was wait-listed and was accepted a few months later!
Your one and only job once you are placed on the waiting list is simple… To get off the list! Pretty basic, huh! So how does one do that? Applicants who succeed in convincing the nurse anesthesia admissions board they are worthy of a spot in the program, usually do so in one of 3 ways.
1.They either offer some new evidence which shows they are a strong and determined candidate.
2.Other wait-listed candidates do nothing, therefore you move up the list.
3.Other accepted applicants do not accept their offer to attend the program.
There is only one variable which you have total control over, which is to gather new evidence. So option number 1 is your best bet. If the other two occur, then this is just icing on the cake and you are one step closer to becoming a future CRNA.
Below I listed strategies that actually work. Again, the key to getting off the waiting list is to provide CRNA programs with more evidence which proves you are worthy of a spot in the program and will be an excellent candidate.
Continue your involvement in all activities
I know it is disappointing to sit on the waiting list and hoping to get the call stating you are ACCEPTED. But now is not the time to lose your head and begin making major changes in your life. Especially on your job and extracurricular activities. Stay in your current critical care unit unless the admissions committee has told you directly to make changes to better your chances.
Let it be known you are serious
As soon as you placed on the wait list, reach out to the program director to see if there is something specific you should do in order to be accepted into the program. When I was on the waiting list, I let it be known I would do whatever I needed to do to get in the program. I was informed I was the only person on the wait list who ever checked on their application.
This really surprised me because there is nothing which says you can’t contact the school. So why not do everything you can to become whatever you desire if it’s something you really want to do. However, do not overstep or over communicate. Checking on your application status every week is too much. This may leave a negative impression with the admissions committee.
Contact current students who participated in your interview
It’s possible the current students there at your interview may be asked their opinion about you. This is why it is important to get out of your shell at your admissions interview and make connections with those in attendance. This would be also be a good time to get the current cohort of students contact information if possible. It may come in handy down the road.
Create a professional nursing portfolio
I speak about this often. This is where the new evidence comes into play. In addition to checking on my status while wait-listed, I also put together a portfolio of everything I had done in my healthcare career. I included everything you could think of. This included copies of my many certificates, diplomas, degrees, licenses, volunteerism and continuing education. I found this great site on how to create a nursing portfolio.
Once I gathered all this information, I placed it in a binder with a professional looking table of contents. I then sent this new expanded EVIDENCE to the program director. And from there I prayed she would get it. My only advice is to send it by certified mail to show receipt of delivery and that it was received. At the time, I didn’t even think of that. I just wanted to get it in the mail ASAP!
Become even more competitive
Also, look for other ways to stand out even while wait-listed. You likely still have time. Take a graduate level course and get an A in it. This shows you can handle the rigors of their CRNA program. Finish the research project you were working on or join another committee at your facility. Become a preceptor.
If you have since gained additional critical care experience, participated in a new activity such as a speaking engagement or shadowed a CRNA, get a letter from someone stating you completed this activity. Definitely send this information if your previous application or recommendations were average or even weak.
You are so close to becoming a future CRNA! So, don’t be discouraged and give up just yet because you are wait-listed. Always remember your CRNA journey is definitely not a sprint, it is a marathon. Being on the waiting list can be stressful and one of the hardest things. Check out these ways to manage your stress. The worst case scenario is you have to reapply for the program next year. But there is a great likelihood you will gain acceptance into the CRNA program you wish to attend. I am proof of that!