About That College Waitlist

College Waiting List, College Waitlist, University Waitlist

There is a right way and a wrong way to approach trying to get off a college waitlist.

Maybe your child was just waitlisted at her dream college. Or maybe she’s about to be in a few days. She’s waited all these weeks to learn of her admissions decisions and now she has to wait longer? It seems totally unfair. But it’s a reality. And at most highly selective and selective universities, students are placed on waitlists each and every year. They’re placed in continued, uninterrupted limbo. Not fun, not at all.

Our floodgates open around this time every year with free consult forms completed by parents and students we’ve never before worked with who now seek Ivy Coach’s help working their way off those dreaded waitlists. In many instances, parents and students write in the ‘comments’ section of our free consult form how they’ve done x, y, and z since they were placed on the waitlist and they’re wondering if there’s anything else they can do. We politely wish those folks good luck. Because 99.9% of the time, these parents and students have already made major mistakes. They’ve already jeopardized and, in many cases, ruined their chances of earning admission off these waiting lists. But the damage has already been done so what are we going to say…you’ve already killed your chances? No. We’re just going to wish them the best of luck.

After being waitlisted, did your son send in a list to the school of all the things he’s accomplished since first applying? If so, we can’t help you but we wish you all the best.

The folks who haven’t done anything since being waitlisted are those we can help and that’s because there is a right way and a wrong way to approach the waitlist. We help our students craft powerful and compelling Letters of Enthusiasm, a term we at Ivy Coach happened to coin years ago (it’s since become a part of the vernacular in college admissions). Submitting any ordinary letter won’t do. Stringing 600 words together on a page that boasts of a student’s accomplishments won’t do (yikes is right!). What a student submits once waitlisted must be exceptional because the vast majority of students who are waitlisted won’t ever earn admission. At most highly selective colleges, about 10% of students earn admission off waitlists. Do 100% of students who retain us once they’re waitlisted earn admission off waitlists? Absolutely not. But we get a whole lot more than 10% in. We give students the best shot possible of getting off those dreaded lists and earning admission. At the end of the day, that’s all one can do.


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