Early Admissions Notification

Early Admission, Early Notification of Admission, College Likely Letters

Need-blind admissions is a farce. You heard it here first (photo credit: Bryan Y.W. Shin).

When students apply for Regular admissions, the deadline is typically January 1st and the decision letters are generally received during the first week of April. While many of Ivy Coach students were accepted in the Early Decision round, some students only applied Regular Decision and so for them the waiting game continues. Now at the beginning of March, we’re hearing that many of our students who applied Regular Decision are getting earlier notification or likely letters. While an early notification letter is a formal acceptance, a likely letter tells the student, “We can’t tell you officially yet, but we love you, and you’ll most likely be admitted.” Of course anything is possible, but we have never had a student receive a likely letter and then get rejected. So this is a great stress reliever for some very worried applicants.

With unemployment rising, the economy on the skids, and colleges anxious about producing the yield that they expect, we’re not surprised that our students who are considered by the college as “full-pays” and who applied Early Decision got accepted, and we’re even less surprised that our students who applied Regular Decision got early notification and likely letters from these highly selective colleges. We’re also beginning to understand why selective colleges are not only sending out acceptances months before they normally do but that they’re offering merit money to full-pay students who probably would not have been awarded this last year. One might conclude that these colleges are attempting to entice students by offering a financial incentive because a partial-pay is still better than an empty seat.

It seems to us that the year that we anticipated to be the most competitive in history may be evolving into a buyer’s market. We don’t envy admissions deans who are concerned about their yield. We still expect them to rate their applicants on demonstrated interest and if they determine there has been little interest on the student’s part, we expect that those students will be waitlisted. Oh, and we anticipate much longer waitlists than in previous years.

So for full-pay students who are still waiting to hear from the colleges to which they applied, hang in there. If you’ve played by the rules and demonstrated the interest, you might be getting better news than you expected.

Stay tuned for our April newsletter entitled, “Need Blind Admissions – Does it Really Exist?” If you’re not yet a subscriber, please do sign-up. Our newsletters are FREE and we try to make them most informative.

For those who would like to see a “likely letter,” here’s a sample of Columbia University’s received by two of Ivy Coach students last week. It’s not as mushy as some others, but it makes the same point – stop worrying, you’re in.

Dear ________,

I am writing to inform you that your application to The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science at Columbia University has been carefully evaluated and that you have earned the designation as a likely candidate for admission. As long as our midyear review finds that you are maintaining your current level of academic progress and good standing, you can expect to receive favorable word when admissions packets are mailed on March 31st.

The Committee on Admissions was deeply impressed with your scholastic and personal achievements and with your demonstrated interest in the fields of engineering and applied science. I offer you my sincere congratulations on your accomplishments thus far and eagerly anticipate those that lie ahead.

If we can be of any help to you, please do not hesitate to contact the Admissions Office at ugrad.ask@columbia.edu or 212-854-2522. If you have any questions about studying engineering and applied science at Columbia, feel free to contact the professors in the departments listed below. Please save the date for Columbia Engineering Days on Campus on April 17th and 18th, which will include an overnight stay, a chance to visit classes and labs, tours of New York City and much more. I hope you can join us, and all of us here wish you the best during the exciting months ahead.

Sincerely yours,

Jessica Marinaccio

Dean of Undergraduate Admissions

Read another blog on Likely Letters.


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