The Ivy Coach Daily

May 11, 2021

Avoid Pestering Colleges

Students should not be checking in regularly once placed on waitlists (photo credit: Kenneth C. Zirkel).

It’s the knee-jerk reaction of so many waitlisted students and their parents — to check in with admissions. They want to write to admissions officers weekly or even daily to let them know what they’ve been doing, what they’ve accomplished, and how they still so very much wish to attend. They think it’ll improve their case for admission. They think it’ll move them to the top of the pile. They think they’ve developed a connection with an admissions officer and that by checking in frequently, they are cultivating that connection. But, in almost every instance, they are not cultivating that relationship. Rather, they’re hurting their chances of admission because pestering admissions officers — and that is precisely what checking in more than once is — will only hurt their case for admission.

We are all about helping students submit a powerful Letter of Enthusiasm to a university that has placed a student in waitlist limbo. That letter is vitally important in the waitlist process as it’s the best way to continue to demonstrate interest in the school, to prove to admissions officers that you love this particular school over all others. But once that letter is submitted, other than asking a school counselor to lobby on a student’s behalf, there is nothing more that can be done and doing anything more will only undercut one’s case, drowning out the power of the letter that was previously submitted.

As Joanna Nesbit writes for Money in a piece entitled “With College Waitlists Overcrowded, What to Know About Accepting Your Spot at School,” “But don’t pester them every day or even every week, [Georgia Institute of Technology’s director of undergraduate admission Rick] Clark says.” And, yes, that means you who wish to email them a short update on a recent accomplishment. Yes, that means you who wish to call them to find out about whether they think they’ll be reaching deeper into the waitlist soon. And, yes, that means you who think that by not reaching out you’re all but giving up. On the contrary, by pestering admissions officers, you’re all but giving up. If you submitted a powerful letter to the institution that placed you in limbo, all you can do now is let that letter breathe. And you should breathe too.

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