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The Ivy Coach Daily

February 5, 2024

What NOT To Do After Being Waitlisted

Waitlist, College Waiting List, Waitlist Limbo
Avoid calling the admissions office after being placed on a school’s waitlist.

Previously Published on March 1, 2019:

There’s a right way and a wrong way to approach an elite college’s waitlist process. Over the last 30 years helping students earn admission to America’s most selective universities, including off their waitlists, it’s our experience at Ivy Coach that most students and parents are inclined to approach waitlists the wrong way — until, of course, we correct their approach.

As our readers can imagine, we’ve heard some pretty crazy stories over the years about how students hope to stand out after being placed in limbo. Many of these students and their parents must think no one’s ever thought of such a tactic before, but it’s all been done. Admissions officers have seen it all.

So, without further ado, what are ten things never to do after being placed on a college’s waitlist if you hope to earn admission out of limbo? Here goes!

10 Things to Avoid After Being Waitlisted

  1. Don’t call the admissions office to check in and tell them what you ate for breakfast. Admissions officers don’t want to hear from waitlisted students via phone. And they certainly don’t care what you had for breakfast nor do they care about the recent award you won. If it’s such a significant award, it should be relayed by your school counselor since you bragging about an award isn’t exactly going to make you come across as likable in any case.
  2. Don’t pay a visit to the school’s admissions office. They don’t want to see you. Don’t pitch a tent outside their office, either. That’s creepy! And, yes, many years ago, a student pitched a tent outside of Yale’s admissions office and even cooked bacon in the morning.
  3. Don’t inundate them with updates on everything you’ve achieved since you first applied just a few months ago. News flash: you probably haven’t achieved all that much in just a few short months and, again, bragging isn’t exactly going to inspire admissions officers to root for you.
  4. Don’t bake admissions officers a cake. Or a pie. No baked goods! You think we’re kidding. Students do it!
  5. Don’t ask your mom to ask her very important friend to ask a senator or governor to call the admissions office on your behalf. They’re not going to be impressed by this over-the-top phone call from someone you think will impress them. It won’t impress them and you’ll hurt your chances of admission out of limbo.
  6. Don’t send the admissions office a family photo album. Don’t laugh. We’ve seen it! Did they really think some childhood photos would do the trick? 
  7. Don’t let your mom or dad contact the admissions office on your behalf, even if they’re pretending to be you. They don’t want to hear from your parents!
  8. Don’t write an email to the admissions office merely expressing that the school remains your first choice. Such a move isn’t going to convince them that you really mean it. Show, don’t tell by writing a powerful Letter of Continued Interest instead filled with specific after specific about how you hope to contribute to the school’s unique programs, institutes, culture, activities, and traditions.
  9. 9. Don’t sit on that form that asks if you wish to remain on the waitlist. Click yes immediately if you really want to get off the waitlist. Why wait? Don’t let them think you’ve got sour grapes.
  10. Don’t fill out the card stating that you wish to remain on the waitlist and then do nothing else. You need to submit a powerful Letter of Continued Interest as soon as possible.

Ivy Coach’s Assistance with Navigating the Waitlist

If you’re interested in optimizing your case for admission out of waitlist limbo to an elite university (or to multiple elite universities), fill out Ivy Coach‘s complimentary consultation form, and we’ll be in touch to outline our go-forward services for waitlisted students.

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