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Ivy League Waitlists – What you Need to Know – Part 1

Posted by admin on in College Advice |

It’s that time of season again: waitlist season. If you’re currently waitlisted by an Ivy Little league school (i. e., a member of the most famous sports conference in the world), here are a few things to keep in mind:

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  1. You have a lot of company. With huge applicant pools filled with many qualified learners, one of the toughest parts of the process is saying no . Statistics gathered in 2012 by New York Times’ “The Choice” blog show that two years ago, Dartmouth admitted 2, 180 students and put 1, 726 on the waitlist. The particular numbers were similar at other schools: 2, 095 admits and 1, 472 waitlists at Princeton and 1, 975 admits and 1, 001 waitlists at Yale. Do the math: at each of these establishments, the number of students on the waitlist has been more than half the number admitted.
  2. The odds are not in your favor. One of the reasons the particular Ivies are so selective is the variety of students who want to attend. According to the Business Insider , 43, 041 students applied to Cornell this year, while 35, 788 and 34, 295 submitted applications to the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard correspondingly. When admission is heavily contested, acceptance offers are coveted. Though the process has gotten crazier over the years ( see this child , who applied to all the Ivies and actually got in), these establishments are still pretty good at predicting produce. That means that they send out enough provides to account for students who select other schools, and they rarely under or over-enroll the incoming class. That means fewer holes to fill up once the May 1 deposits are usually in.
  3. You may have even less of a shot than you realize. Within this article , I actually outlined the ways in which waitlists have become over the years to include a large number of applicants just for whom the offer is simply a better way of saying no . How to tell if that is the case with you? It is a little tricky, but one indication would be your other acceptances. In case you weren’t admitted to any similarly picky schools, the waitlist may be a politeness.
  4. There is absolutely no rhyme or reason to the waitlist. Sort of. By that I mean that the waitlists on these institutions aren’t ranked numerically, so there’s no way to know in case you are at the top or bottom of the listing (see courtesy waitlist above). Just how likely—or not—you are to make the reduce will depend, ironically, on the students who were admitted and decide to attend. As those deposits come in, any holes in the class will begin to emerge. Those people holes will decide your destiny. Low on female engineers? If that’s you, welcome to the top of the list. But if they need more feminine engineers from Oregon and you’re from Connecticut? Not happening.
  5. Sometimes no one goes from waitlist to acknowledge. You know what happens when no holes emerge in the class? No one gets off the waitlist.

Still have some wish? Come back tomorrow and read part two of the blog, where I actually share some thoughts about steps to take—and actions to avoid—to improve your odds of going from a WL for an A.



Elizabeth Heaton is a member of College Coach’s team of college admissions experts . Before coming to College Coach, Beth worked as a mature admissions officer at University of Pennsylvania and an alumni admissions ambassador on Cornell University.

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