The Ivy Coach Daily

March 26, 2021

The Waitlist Dance

Letters of Enthusiasm are an Ivy Coach family recipe. And our recipe is delicious (photo credit: Namkota).

We anticipate our nation’s elite colleges will waitlist more students this year than in typical years. We also anticipate our nation’s elite colleges will accept more students from their waitlists this year than in typical years — not as many as last year but nonetheless quite a lot. And why? Because while these schools maintain data-driven methods of forecasting their yield, or the percentage of admitted students who will ultimately choose to matriculate as members of the Class of 2025, some of the inputs for these models are missing this year. As an example, whether a student took the time to physically visit a college campus and attend the tour/information session is a meaningful predictor of whether they actually have any intention of attending if admitted or if they just submitted an application along with 17 other applications to top schools. “Dartmouth? It’s in Rhode Island, right?” Yet we firmly believe our nation’s elite colleges will still be able to fairly accurately forecast their yields this spring, inputting instead whether the student took the time to attend a virtual tour and information session. Of course, a physical visit takes more energy than a virtual visit. So this replacement input is still worthwhile for colleges as they forecast their yields, but it won’t be as accurate as the typical data. Hence, longer waitlists and more acceptances off waitlists.

Regular Decision Applicants Should Have A Waitlist Plan in Place

Regular Decision elite university applicants to the Class of 2025 should thus have a plan in place in the event they are waitlisted at one or more universities this spring — which is quite likely. And the plan they put in place should be simple: send in a powerful Letter of Enthusiasm to each school that places them in limbo. Of course, each letter they send must be specifically tailored to the individual university since the task of a waitlisted candidate is to fool each school into believing that school — and only that school — is the student’s first choice. And you don’t fool them with hackneyed lines like, “Cornell University is my first choice. If admitted, I will absolutely attend.” No, Cornell admissions officers weren’t born yesterday. They know you can cut and paste that same sentence, replace Cornell with UPenn, and what do you know…it still works! The game is in the specifics. It’s a big part of the secret sauce of the Letters of Enthusiasm of Ivy Coach’s students, which include students who first come to us after receiving a waitlist notification.

Earning Admission Off College Waitlists Is a Dance and We Love Dancing

And if you don’t think getting off the waitlist is a game — one that can absolutely be won, think again. In fact, Melissa Korn of The Wall Street Journal said it best in a recent piece she penned entitled “Expect College Wait Lists to Be Obnoxiously Long This Year.” As she wrote, “College counselors say they also anticipate that even more will engage in a dance that has hints of a seventh-grader telling a classmate, ‘I like you, but only if you say you like me too,’ confirming applicants would come if they got off the wait list before making the offer.” Indeed! Remember, colleges — even our nation’s most elite colleges — want to be loved. They don’t want to admit students off the waitlist who aren’t going to attend. They want to admit students who are highly likely to say yes not to the dress but to matriculating to their university. So send in a Letter of Enthusiasm. Even if a university explicitly says not to send in a Letter of Enthusiasm, send one in anyway! We wouldn’t suggest it if we haven’t helped so many students over the years — including at universities that say not to send in letters — earn admission off waitlists.

How to Dance with Ivy Coach

If you’re interested in Ivy Coach’s assistance in crafting a powerful Letter of Enthusiasm, the secret sauce for which is a decades-old family recipe, fill out our free consultation form and indicate Letter of Enthusiasm at the bottom. We’ll then be in touch in short order. And, yes, we fully understand that many elite universities won’t be notifying applicant of decisions until April (the Ivy League universities will release decisions on April 6th). But here’s your opportunity to sign up for our waitlist services prior to peak season since our fees are indeed variable. After all, we can only work with so many waitlisted students each year! And while many students who first come to us after their waitlist notification are waitlisted at multiple universities, we typically encourage them to work on only one letter with us. Once they have their own unique approach to demonstrating their love to the one school, they’ll have a reasonable idea how to research and change all of the specifics for subsequent schools. In our experience, before they come to us, applicants just don’t get what truly counts as specifics. And it’s all in the specifics.

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