The Ivy Coach Daily

March 21, 2024

How to Write a Waitlist Appeal Letter

A panoramic of Harvard University's campus on a sunny day.

Previously Published on March 26, 2023:

Some call it a Letter of Continued Interest. Others call it a Letter of Enthusiasm. And still others call it a Waitlist Appeal Letter. Whatever you choose to call it, if a highly selective university has waitlisted you and you want to get off that waitlist, you have to submit a powerful letter that sways admissions officers to root for you. So what exactly is this Waitlist Appeal Letter, and how should you approach it?

What Is a Waitlist Appeal Letter?

It’s a note to express your continued interest in attending. It’s a — hopefully compelling — letter designed to inspire an admissions officer to want to pluck you from the waitlist and offer you a spot in the incoming class.

How to Approach Writing an Appeal Letter for a Waitlist

So how should you craft the letter to give yourself the best chance of admission?

What Should Be Included in a Waitlist Appeal Letter

A Waitlist Appeal Letter should be between 500-650 words (the length of a Personal Statement) and include the following:

What Should Not Be Included in a Waitlist Appeal Letter

A Waitlist Appeal Letter should not include the following:

The Distinction Between Waitlist Appeal Letters and Appeal Letters

Even though we’ve coined it a Waitlist Appeal Letter in this post (since some folks call this letter by this name), it should not be confused with an Appeal Letter.

Most highly selective universities do not accept Appeal Letters (or letters written after a rejection hoping to overturn the verdict). The University of Southern California, the University of California schools, and the University of Texas at Austin are the top schools that allow the submission of an Appeal Letter after a denial.

Your Chances of Admission Off a Highly Selective College’s Waitlist

Below are the waitlist acceptance rates for the Classes of 2027 and 2026 for America’s top national universities of 2024. For schools that have yet to publish their corresponding Common Data Set (most schools have yet to publish the data for the Class of 2027), we report “Not Yet Released.” For schools that have already published their corresponding Common Data Set but have failed to include waitlist statistics, we report “Not Published.”

College/University2024 US News Rank (“Best National Universities”)Class of 2027 Waitlist Acceptance RateClass of 2026 Waitlist Acceptance Rate
Princeton University#1Not Yet Released0%
Massachusetts Institute of Technology#2Not Yet Released0%
Harvard University#3Not Yet ReleasedNot Published
Stanford University#315.02%1.75%
Yale University#5Not Yet Released1.15%
University of Pennsylvania#6Not Yet Released5.86%
California Institute of Technology#7Not Yet Released8.98%
Duke University#7Not Yet ReleasedNot Yet Released
Brown University#9Not Yet Released15 Students Admitted (# of Waitlisted Students Not Published)
Johns Hopkins University#9Not Yet Released0%
Northwestern University#9Not Yet Released83 Students Admitted (# of Waitlisted Students Not Published)
Columbia University#12Not Yet ReleasedNot Published
Cornell University#125.87%4.7%
University of Chicago#12Not Yet ReleasedNot Yet Released
University of California, Berkeley#15Not Yet Released0.95%
University of California, Los Angeles#15Not Yet Released3.29%
Rice University#17Not Yet Released0%
Dartmouth College#180%2.3%
Vanderbilt University#18140 Students Admitted (# of Waitlisted Students Not Published)221 Students Admitted (# of Waitlisted Students Not Published)
University of Notre Dame#20Not Yet ReleasedNot Published
University of Michigan#21Not Yet Released0.51%
Georgetown University#22Not Yet Released2.22%
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill#22Not Yet Released7.1%
Carnegie Mellon University#24Not Yet Released0.92%
Emory University#24Not Yet Released3.16%
University of Virginia#24Not Yet Released0.14%
Washington University in St. Louis#24Not Yet Released4.87%

Below are the waitlist acceptance rates for the Classes of 2027 and 2026 for America’s top liberal arts colleges of 2024. For schools that have yet to publish their corresponding Common Data Set (most liberal arts colleges, unlike the national universities, have published the data for the Class of 2027), we report “Not Yet Released.” For schools that have already published their corresponding Common Data Set but have failed to include waitlist statistics, we report “Not Published.” For schools that don’t waitlist students, we report “Not Applicable.”

College/University2024 US News Rank (“Best Liberal Arts Colleges”)Class of 2027 Waitlist Acceptance RateClass of 2026 Waitlist Acceptance Rate
Wiliams College#10.47%0%
Amherst College#27.85%3.99%
United States Naval Academy#3Not Applicable (No Waitlist)Not Applicable (No Waitlist)
Pomona College#410.56%2.12%
Swarthmore College#423 Students Admitted (# of Waitlisted Students Not Published)0%
Wellesley College#41.61%3.37%
United States Air Force Academy#7Not Applicable (No Waitlist)Not Applicable (No Waitlist)
United States Military Academy at West Point#8Not Applicable (No Waitlist)Not Applicable (No Waitlist)
Bowdoin College#929 Students Admitted (# of Waitlisted Students Not Published)10 Students Admitted (# of Waitlisted Students Not Published)
Carleton College#9Not Yet Released5.08%
Barnard College#11Not Yet Released4.13%
Claremont McKenna College#1111.11%2.04%
Grinnell College#11Not Yet Released4.07%
Middlebury College#11Not Yet Released0.54%
Wesleyan University#1114.79%5.2%
Davidson College#161.97%Not Published
Harvey Mudd College#1614.04%4.06%
Smith College#16Not Yet Released3.27%
Vassar College#1611.98%5.02%
Colgate University#21Not Yet Released0%
Haverford College#21Not Yet Released0.66%
Washington and Lee University#210%1.07%
Bates College#247.95%0%
Colby College#25Not PublishedNot Published
University of Richmond#2594.44%0%

Your Chances of Admission Off a Highly Selective College’s Waitlist with Ivy Coach’s Assistance

Below are the waitlist acceptance rates for schools that reported the data to The Common Data Set for the Class of 2027 and Ivy Coach’s corresponding waitlist acceptance rates for the last 30+ years.

Top National Universities

College/University2024 US News Rank (“Best National Universities”)Class of 2027 Waitlist Acceptance RateIvy Coach’s 30+ Year Waitlist Acceptance Rate
Princeton University#1Not Yet Released40%
Massachusetts Institute of Technology#2Not Yet Released40%
Harvard University#3Not Yet Released39%
Stanford University#315.02%38%
Yale University#5Not Yet Released40%
University of Pennsylvania#6Not Yet Released50%
California Institute of Technology#7Not Yet ReleasedInsufficient Data
Duke University#7Not Yet Released43%
Brown University#9Not Yet Released40%
Johns Hopkins University#9Not Yet Released50%
Northwestern University#9Not Yet Released42%
Columbia University#12Not Yet Released41%
Cornell University#125.87%40%
University of Chicago#12Not Yet Released57%
University of California, Berkeley#15Not Yet ReleasedInsufficient Data
University of California, Los Angeles#15Not Yet ReleasedInsufficient Data
Rice University#17Not Yet Released33%
Dartmouth College#180%50%
Vanderbilt University#18140 Students Admitted (# of Waitlisted Students Not Published)25%
University of Notre Dame#20Not Yet Released44%
University of Michigan#21Not Yet Released46%
Georgetown University#22Not Yet Released37%
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill#22Not Yet ReleasedInsufficient Data
Carnegie Mellon University#24Not Yet Released33%
Emory University#24Not Yet Released40%
University of Virginia#24Not Yet ReleasedInsufficient Data
Washington University in St. Louis#24Not Yet Released33%

Top Liberal Arts Colleges

College/University2024 US News Rank (“Best Liberal Arts Colleges”)Class of 2027 Waitlist Acceptance RateIvy Coach’s 30+ Year Waitlist Acceptance Rate
Wiliams College#10.47%25%
Amherst College#27.85%20%
United States Naval Academy#3Not Applicable (No Waitlist)Not Applicable (No Waitlist)
Pomona College#410.56%100%
Swarthmore College#423 Students Admitted (# of Waitlisted Students Not Published)100%
Wellesley College#41.61%Insufficient Data
United States Air Force Academy#7Not Applicable (No Waitlist)Not Applicable (No Waitlist)
United States Military Academy at West Point#8Not Applicable (No Waitlist)Not Applicable (No Waitlist)
Bowdoin College#929 Students Admitted (# of Waitlisted Students Not Published)100%
Carleton College#9Not Yet ReleasedInsufficient Data
Barnard College#11Not Yet Released62%
Claremont McKenna College#1111.11%Insufficient Data
Grinnell College#11Not Yet ReleasedInsufficient Data
Middlebury College#11Not Yet Released47%
Wesleyan University#1114.79%Insufficient Data
Davidson College#161.97%Insufficient Data
Harvey Mudd College#1614.04%Insufficient Data
Smith College#16Not Yet ReleasedInsufficient Data
Vassar College#1611.98%Insufficient Data
Colgate University#21Not Yet ReleasedInsufficient Data
Haverford College#21Not Yet ReleasedInsufficient Data
Washington and Lee University#210%Insufficient Data
Bates College#247.95%Insufficient Data
Colby College#25Not PublishedInsufficient Data
University of Richmond#2594.44%Insufficient Data

Getting Started with Ivy Coach on Waitlist Appeal Letters

If you’re interested in Ivy Coach’s assistance in crafting a compelling Waitlist Appeal Letter, fill out our complimentary consultation form, and we’ll get back to you with an immediate response.

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