When students come to us for the first time as potential clients after being waitlisted at the colleges of their dreams, the first thing out of our mouths is usually something along the lines of, “Don’t get your hopes up.” And that’s because at most highly selective colleges, about 10% of waitlisted students get in. Do a whole lot more than 10% of the students we work with as they try to get off waitlists get in? You bet. But we still like to temper expectations. It’s all part of under-selling and over-delivering.
Just ask the student we worked with this year who got into one of the most selective colleges in America. We had encouraged him to apply to a little bit less selective of a school in the Early Decision II round — since he came to us after the Early Decision I round. But he didn’t listen to us. And, in a rare instance, he was right not to because he ended up getting into a much more selective school than any of us had anticipated. We didn’t give ourselves enough credit! It’s a good thing he didn’t make a binding commitment to the school with an Early Decision II policy because he wouldn’t have wanted to go after he got into one of America’s most elite institutions.
On May 1st, colleges have the full tally of who will be matriculating of those admitted and who will be attending other institutions. And while most students who get off waitlists don’t get off these lists in the first few days of May, we are so happy for our students who have already earned their way off waitlists. We love when they get notes from admissions officers letting them know that they’re in. We love when they personally call and cite things the students wrote in their essays. Congratulations to our students who have already started earning admission off those dreaded waitlists. And for those students out there who are still in waitlist limbo, know that we’ve had students earn admission off waitlists in early September. Which, we might add, is ridiculous.