Secret Sauce of College Waiting Lists
But, Ivy Coach, we’re tired of reading about what to do if you’re waitlisted. We know, we know. We’re tired of writing about it too. But so many folks keep reaching out to us hoping to get off college waitlists, so we feel obliged to write just a little bit more about dreaded waitlist limbo. This post isn’t so much about what to do if you’re waitlisted (contact us and if you sign up for our service, we’ll help you craft a powerful and compelling Letter of Enthusiasm that will give you the best shot possible of admission off a waitlist). Rather, this post is about who tends to get waitlisted in the first place.
So who gets waitlisted, Ivy Coach?
Students with high grades but low test scores are prime candidates for the waitlist. So are students with high grades and high scores with no admissions angle, with no hook. Maybe they’re well-rounded, a college admissions no-no. There’s the legacy or development candidate…why outright reject a student whose parents donate in big ways to a university? At least let those parents think the school’s still considering their kids! What’s it to them? Colleges want those alumni parents to keep those donations coming. They can always use a new library. And, no, to that parent with no affiliation to a particular school who annoyingly calls and asks if their donation of such and such dollars will help their daughter’s case for admission, you’re not even near the ballpark of the figure that will help. In our experience, people significantly underestimate the size of a donation that actually matters to colleges (oh — and how you donate matters too…donating after a student has been waitlisted makes your motives way too transparent and will likely lead to your daughter never, ever getting off that waitlist). You think you can buy your way in? They’ll be happy to show you otherwise. That’s what’s going through their heads.
So who else gets waitlisted, you ask? Underrepresented minorities are prime waitlist candidates. Maybe their scores or grades fell a bit short. There’s the kid with great grades and great scores from a high school in which someone with lower grades and lower scores was offered admission (maybe the student with lower scores was an athletic recruit – hint hint). Colleges need to show that high school they didn’t simply admit that other student because of his athletic abilities. And while nobody buys that for a second, it’s the reason that student with higher grades and higher scores was likely placed on the waitlist.
You’ll never know for certain why you were placed in waitlist limbo. But this can give you a good idea so you don’t focus so much on why you were waitlisted in the coming days and instead focus on what you can do to effectively get off those dreaded waitlists.
Curious to read more about waitlist limbo? Read our Founder’s piece on “The Huffington Post” entitled “The Secret Sauce of the College Waitlist.”
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