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The Ivy Coach Daily

May 3, 2020

Early Returns Indicate Colleges Are Going Deep Into Their Waitlists

It’s the year to be waitlisted to elite universities.

While the number of students admitted off waitlists at our nation’s highly selective colleges is typically hard to come by since these schools don’t like to advertise their lower than anticipated yields (though some data is available, including Cornell offering admission to 99 students last week), our forecast that these schools will be reaching deeper into their waitlists this year than any year in recent memory seems to be proving true. A number of students who came to us after being waitlisted have already earned admission to the schools at which they’ve been waitlisted.

The First Wave of Waitlisted Admits

We’ve had students admitted off Ivy League waitlists to the Class of 2024. Heck, we’ve had students admitted off waitlists within a day of submitting their Letter of Enthusiasm. Yes, a day! Of course, there will be more students admitted off Ivy League waitlists in the weeks to come — this was merely the first wave. At many highly selective colleges, there are three waitlist waves. And this year, we wouldn’t be surprised if there were four waitlist waves since we do anticipate many students will be taking gap years next year and some international students will not be able to attend. These schools are thus going to have to fill these empty seats…with waitlisted candidates.

The Year to Be Waitlisted

Typically our message to waitlisted candidates goes like this, “You don’t have a great chance of getting in after being waitlisted. If anyone should suggest that you do, run. All we can do is give you the best chance possible.” Our message was no different this year. But, this year, we also asserted that this is the year to be waitlisted. In fact, while we never like to give students hope, we went so far as to tell one student who had been waitlisted at a ridiculous number of schools that we anticipated the student would be earning admission to several of these schools. That prediction has already proven true.

When colleges turn to their waitlists in advance of May 1st, it’s a harbinger of just how deep they’ll go down their lists. Early returns indicate our crystal ball’s prediction that our nation’s elite colleges would be admitting a historic number of students off their waitlists this year seems to be right on.

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