5 Proven Strategies to Get Off CRNA School Waitlist

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.

But, how do you get off this dreaded waiting list? It’s a question I’ve 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!

Right now your one and only focus once you are placed on the waiting list is simple… To get off the list! Pretty basic stuff, right? So how does one do that? First, let’s discuss reasons you may have been waitlisted.

Reasons why waitlisted 

I know you are wrecking your brain trying to figure out what exactly happened that resulted in you wait listed for CRNA school. Honestly, I bet you have an inkling as to why you were waitlisted. But here are usually the main reasons.  

  1. You may have applied late in the application process so they’ve selected their core incoming class.  
  2. You didn’t do great at your interview but did just enough to get placed on the waiting list. 
  3. Other applicants were more competitive than you although you must have been better than the others rejected. 
  4. The admissions committee is still waiting for you to complete their requirements such as finishing up your Bachelor’s degree, obtaining your CCRN, etc. 

It’s important to know what led to you being waitlisted so you can begin working on those things to increase your chances of acceptance. 

Only 3 ways you will get off the list 

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 more competitive since they were placed on the waiting list. 
  2. Other accepted applicants do not accept their offer to attend the program.
  3. Other wait-listed candidates do nothing to increase their chance of acceptance, therefore you move up the list and ultimately get accepted. 

There is only one variable which you have total control over, which is to gather new evidence that you are worthy of a spot in the program. 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 proven strategies that actually work. Again, the key to getting off the waiting list is to provide CRNA programs with more evidence that you are the person they are looking for and will be an excellent candidate.

Continue your involvement in all activities

I know firsthand how disappointing it is to sit on the waiting list just 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 and career. 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. Better yet, think of other things you can do to grow even further while you are waiting to get that call.  

Let it be known you are serious

As soon as you’re placed on the waiting list, reach out to the program director to see if there is something specific you should be doing in order to be accepted into the program. When I was on the waiting list, I reached out to the director to let her know I would do whatever I needed to do to get in the program. That was how determined I was. During those calls I was informed I was the only person on the waiting 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, I will say you don’t want to just hound them or over communicate. Checking on your application status every week is probably too much. This may leave a negative impression with the admissions committee. But every few weeks using a mixture of email and phone should be fine. 

Contact current students from your interview

Every time I participated in interview day, I was asked who I felt should be admitted into the program. At first, I just kind of laughed because I didn’t feel they would listen to me given how terrible my experience was there up to that point. But going into my last year, I was told they value my opinion and everyone I chose was admitted. Now I’m not saying they wouldn’t have been accepted either way but it shows just how much weight the current cohort could possibly have.

So, just keep this in mind. This is why it’s always a good idea to get out of your shell at your interview and begin making connections with whoever will listen. This would be a good time to reach out to some of the current cohort and see if they have any useful information. Also the faculty may share when a decision will be made about the next incoming class in addition to some clues as to who will be accepted.  

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! Some may say this is overkill but to me it was about doing whatever it took to get in the program. 

Become even more competitive

Also, look for other ways to stand out even while wait-listed. If time permits, take a graduate level course and get an A. Better yet, take a course at the school in which you are waitlisted because they can track your progress and they will get the final grades quickly. Therefore, you don’t have to waste time waiting on transcripts coming in from other schools. This basically shows you can handle the rigors of their CRNA program. Also finish the research project you were working on or join another committee at your facility. Become a preceptor. 

Other things to think about- Did you get any additional critical care experience, participate in any new activities such as any speaking engagements, or any further shadowing. Regardless of what you do you need to get a letter from someone stating you completed this activity. From there send this information to the admissions committee to add to your application. 

Bottom Line

You are so close to becoming a future CRNA! I know how stressful it is, but  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. While you need to be more competitive than other applicants, I believe at the end of the day It all boils down to grit and perseverance. And if you can get this across to the admissions committee then you have a great shot at being accepted.  There is always a chance you will get accepted into the CRNA program you wish to attend. I am proof of that!

P.S. Are you anxious, worried or just need someone to talk further about being on the waiting list? Book a call today to discuss other ways you can show you are worthy of a spot in the CRNA program in which you are waitlisted. 

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