The Ivy Coach Daily

April 1, 2022

The Game Plan for Waitlisted Students

At elite universities, on average, about 10% of students who are waitlisted ultimately earn admission. At Ivy Coach, over the last 30 years, about 40% of students who first come to us after being waitlisted earn admission out of limbo.

It’s March 31st, which means it’s Ivy Day! Today, Regular Decision notifications for the Ivy League universities and other elite institutions will hit inboxes and admissions portals across the country and around the world. One parent of a prospective client said to us today, “You must be so busy on Ivy Day.” No, we’re not. In fact, we’re baking an apple pie with Granny Smith apples. And why aren’t we busy? Because the vast majority of Ivy Coach’s students earn admission in the Early Decision / Early Action round of admissions — as 100% of Ivy Coach’s students who completed applications with us did this year to Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, Dartmouth, Brown, MIT, Duke, and more. Unlike companies that hide behind statistics like 90% of their students earn admission to their top choice colleges, we wouldn’t be able to write that 100% of our students got into these specific schools in an Early cycle on our website if it weren’t true. A client would call us out in a heartbeat. Think about it. Yet for those students who did not work with Ivy Coach as they navigated the churning waters of the admissions process and find out today that they’ve been waitlisted by the college of their dreams, know that we can help give you the best shot possible of earning admission off that dreaded list. But only if you follow our game plan to a T and act with expedience.

The Knee-jerk Response to Waitlists by Most Students is Wrong

When most students are waitlisted to the college of their dreams, their first instinct (or maybe it’s the first instinct of their parents) is to bombard that university with updates and brags on all they’ve achieved since they first applied all of three months ago. But what has a student truly achieved in the 90 days or so since they first applied and how is bragging about one’s accomplishments a likely strategy to woo an admissions officer, to inspire that admissions officer to root for a student over other candidates? It’s why our students at Ivy Coach never brag. It’s why our students don’t include updates in Letters of Enthusiasm (any significant updates — and most updates are not significant enough to mention — should come from the school counselor!). It’s why the Letters of Enthusiasm of our students so often stand out and dare admissions officers not to offer them admission.

The Secret Sauce of Ivy Coach’s Letters of Enthusiasm

So what’s the secret sauce of Ivy Coach’s Letters of Enthusiasm? That’s cute! You want our recipe! Well, much like our apple pie recipe, Ivy Coach’s Letter of Enthusiasm recipe, which has helped so many students over the last 30 years earn admission out of dreaded waitlist limo, is a secret family recipe and it’s absolutely delicious. In short, it’s a love letter to the university that placed the student in the in-between. But our students don’t tell. Admissions officers weren’t born yesterday. Do you really think, “Brown is the school I most wish to attend. If admitted, I’ll absolutely go!” works? You don’t think they know your child is cutting and pasting that sentence for every school that placed them in waitlist limbo, changing only the name of the institution? Rather, our students at Ivy Coach show. They demonstrate their passion for attending the university through their remarkable storytelling that is specific to the institution, by reframing their narratives to showcase how they’re going to contribute a singular hook — and certainly not well-roundedness — to the school.

Ivy Coach’s Process for Waitlisted Students

So how do we get started? Simply click on our orange button, indicate your child has been waitlisted, and we’ll then be in touch in short order to set up a free consultation in which we’ll outline our service. But just so you know, it’s a two-step process: a Postmortem Strategy Session followed by assistance crafting a powerful Letter of Enthusiasm. We begin with our Postmortem Strategy Session in which we go through every section of the Common Application as well as the waitlist school’s supplement and offer feedback (not so that your child kicks themselves but so we know what we are focusing on and what we’re not focusing on in the Letter of Enthusiasm since the narrative can’t be out of left field). After the Strategy Session, we read aloud Letters of Enthusiasm that have worked for Ivy Coach’s students in the past to the university that placed your child on the waitlist. One comment we often hear after reading these letters goes, “That is not at all what I thought should be a Letter of Enthusiasm. But now I get it! It makes total sense.” Then we offer paragraph by paragraph direction for how your child should approach the letter. Your child writes that letter over the next day based on that direction. We make major revisions to it the subsequent day so it’s as powerful as can be and so it can be submitted promptly. We’ll never understand why students burn time after being waitlisted. The Letter of Enthusiasm needs to go in promptly to demonstrate one’s continued interest in attending. We at Ivy Coach are firm believers in the primacy effect of social psychology: admissions officers get behind those students they fall in love with first.

Waitlisted Students Never Have a Great Chance, But We Give Them the Best Chance Possible

If anyone should tell you that your child has a great shot of earning admission after being waitlisted, we encourage you to run, run fast, and run for the nearest set of hills. A student never has a great shot of admission after being waitlisted. All we at Ivy Coach can do is give a student the best shot possible as our track record over the last 30 years so indicates. Over the last 30 years, around 40% of students who first come to us after being waitlisted get in as compared to about 10% of all waitlisted candidates to elite universities. So we can’t give you a great chance. All we can do is give you the best chance possible — and we will only work with families at this time of year who fully understand this set of facts. If you’re interested in Ivy Coach’s assistance with a Letter of Enthusiasm, fill out our free consultation form, indicate the waitlist, and we’ll be in touch in short order to set up a free consult.

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