A Must Read for Waitlisted Students

Waitlisted Students, College Waitlists, Waitlisted to College

Were you waitlisted to the college of your dreams? If so, you’ve still got a shot if you play your cards right.

If you didn’t receive a flat rejection or an offer of admission in the Regular Decision round, you were placed in waitlist limbo. Oh, the dreaded waitlist. Maybe you’ve been refreshing your inbox every day for weeks even though you knew the precise date and time the college of your dreams would release its admissions decisions. Maybe you’ve been boiling water just for the purpose of watching it boil, to burn that time. And after all this time, the college of your dreams chose not to render a final decision on your candidacy. It’s frustrating, we know. But it’s your reality. So what exactly are you going to do about it?

Assistance with Crafting a Powerful Letter of Enthusiasm

The Do-Nothing Strategy

Many years ago, we at Ivy Coach coined the term Letter of Enthusiasm. In the world of college admissions, it’s now the commonly used name for that letter waitlisted students send to colleges to articulate their continued interest in attending. And just as the name we coined continues to echo across the homes of high school students placed in waitlist limbo, so too do our letters continue to help students earn admission off those same lists. You see, when most students are placed in waitlist limbo, they do nothing. Doing nothing is never the option. Doing nothing expresses to a college that you’re not all that interested in attending. Doing nothing doesn’t make that college feel special one bit. The do-nothingers are unlikely to earn admission off waitlists.

The Throw Things at the Wall Strategy

The other batch of waitlisted students know better than to do nothing. These students do something. They just tend, overwhelmingly, to do the wrong things. Maybe they know to submit a letter to express their continued interest. That’s great. But submitting a letter and submitting an outstanding, powerful letter are two different things. What most students — and their parents — think should be in a letter, well, it’s actually quite the opposite. A Letter of Enthusiasm should not be used as real estate to brag. It should not be used to tout all of your achievements since you first applied at the beginning of January. And what really has a student achieved in the less than three months since first applying? …Bueller. Bueller. A line we hear so often from students and parents after signing up for our assistance with crafting a powerful Letter of Enthusiasm goes like this: “I never would have guessed that’s how the letter should go, but now I get it.”

Ivy Coach’s Winning Strategy of 25 Years and Counting

Our students articulate what they hope to contribute to that university with such specificity. You won’t find a line about the school’s strong liberal arts education in the letters of our students. You won’t find a line about the school’s rich diversity in the letters of our students. Which school doesn’t offer a great liberal arts education? Which school doesn’t value diversity? Duh. Our students don’t state the obvious. And they don’t state things that can apply to any school in America. Every single line in the letters of our students is tailored to the school at which they’re waitlisted — and to the singular talent the student hopes to contribute to that university because, as our regular readers know all too well, colleges don’t wish to admit well-rounded students. Rather, they seek out singularly talented students who together will form a well-rounded class. So that Letter of Enthusiasm sure does need to showcase that singular talent in a unique, wonderfully weird way. And, yes, our students always present as wonderfully weird.

Our Process for Waitlisted Students

Our process for waitlisted students takes but a few days because, yes, time is of the essence. Waitlisted students should of course submit their letters as soon as possible. We start with a Postmortem Evaluation in which we will go through your entire application to that school. We will let you know what you did right and we will let you know what you did wrong. You may kick yourself for some of your mistakes but you’ll get over it in a few days and you’ll learn from these mistakes. “But, Ivy Coach, I don’t need a Postmortem Evaluation. I just need help with a Letter of Enthusiasm! So what’s the cost for just that,” asks a parent. Ivy Coach, are you talking to yourself? Why yes we are! Hey, we’re weird just like our students.

And what you’ve said is nonsense. You do need a Postmortem Evaluation. And we won’t help you with a Letter of Enthusiasm if you’re not interested in completing a Postmortem Evaluation. Because — think about it — how could we? You want us to be blind to what you submitted to the college that waitlisted you? We need to see every component the college saw when reviewing your candidacy so we know precisely what to focus on…as well as what not to focus on in your Letter of Enthusiasm. So you bet that Postmortem Evaluation is necessary. And if you’re really unhappy with your school choices at this point, then it can be even more helpful should you ever intend to transfer colleges. Why make the same mistakes in the transfer process as you made this time around?

After we complete the Postmortem Evaluation, we will have a follow-up session in which we will read to you Letters of Enthusiasm that have worked for students who first came to us after being waitlisted. And we will brainstorm a structure and direction for your Letter of Enthusiasm, offering you paragraph by paragraph direction. You will then write the first draft. We will then revise that draft until it’s in outstanding shape for submission so the letter gives you the best possible odds of being one of the select few to be chosen off the waitlist.

A Letter of Enthusiasm to Optimize Your Admission off a Waitlist

To reiterate, we help students — who were not previously our clients — each and every year earn admission off college waitlists. We help them submit outstanding Letters of Enthusiasm that optimize their case for admission off waitlists. Does a student ever have an amazing shot of getting in off a waitlist? No. All we can do is give the student the best possible shot of being one of the select few to be chosen off that list. And if a parent (it’s almost always the parent) asks for a guarantee of getting off that waitlist, well, they might notice that their phone line went dead. We have zero interest in working with students and parents with unrealistic expectations. We give students the very best shot of getting off a waitlist. No college counseling firm can give students a better chance than Ivy Coach. But even we can’t tell you that you’ve got a great chance. Once again for good measure, we can just give you the best chance possible. That’s all we can do. And, by the way, that’s a whole lot! Because our students and their parents can rest assured they’ve done all they can and so often all they can, well, it works.

If you’re interested in Ivy Coach’s assistance with earning admission off a college waitlist, fill out our free consult form and indicate waitlist at the bottom. It would be great if you could also include the name of the school(s) at which you’ve been waitlisted.


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