Waiting on the College Waitlist

College Waitlists, Ivy Waitlists, Ivy League Waitlists

There is a terrific piece on college waitlists in “The Boston Globe.”

We’ve been critical of some recent articles in the press of late…like that article that suggested attending summer camp could help you get into a highly selective college. Yeah right! But today, we have only positive things to say about an article in “The Boston Globe” written by Beth Teitell entitled “Many applicants bide time on colleges’ wait lists.” If you haven’t had a chance to read it, check it out as it’s an excellent portrait about what it’s like to be on the waitlist, why students are waitlisted, and what students should or shouldn’t do while on the waitlist. The article makes several excellent points and we figured we’d share a few of them for our readers. If they read our college admissions blog regularly, it’s certainly nothing they don’t already know.

Some students are put on waitlists because they’re “overqualified,” Teitell points out. This is absolutely correct. A university may waitlist a student because that university suspected that he or she would choose a more selective university if admitted. This, of course, would hurt the university’s yield rate…and so they chose to waitlist the candidate. Once on the waitlist, that student can either demonstrate — or not demonstrate — his or her interest in attending if admitted. In this way, in many ways it’s a test. Some students are also put on waitlists because they’re “underqualified,” as Teitell points out. This, too, of course is true. As quoted in the article, “Underqualified students also make the wait list. ‘They’re there as a courtesy,’ said John Katzman, chief executive of Noodle, a New York-based education research company. It is the school’s way of keeping up a relationship with a guidance counselor, a high school, or parents who are alums. ‘It’s a much gentler rejection,’ he said.” Katzman is absolutely correct. A waitlist doesn’t sting quite as bad as a flat out rejection, right? Underqualified students can often also be the children of alumni. Why reject the child of a big donor if they can waitlist the candidate? What’s it to the college? Nothing.

We thought this tidbit in the article was funny from the piece: “In Back Bay, Sydney Gad has been waiting anxiously through two rounds of applications for an answer from her beloved Tulane University. ‘Part of me is like, couldn’t you just reject me?’ said Gad, a senior at Beaver Country Day School in Chestnut Hill. ‘I am so tempted to pick up my phone and call the admissions office. I just want to know, am I high up on the wait list? Am I on the bottom? Do you have an idea when you are going to let me know? I just want to talk to them, but I know I can’t.'” Oh but Sydney, you just did. Via “The Boston Globe” no less. Our students at Ivy Coach would never put out quotes like this in major news publications! Oy vey.

Oh and as for the title of the piece in “The Boston Globe,” students should not bide their time on highly selective college waitlists. They should be proactive…and be proactive the right way. If you don’t want to get off a college waitlist, bide your time. Go to the beach. See a movie. Play Monopoly.


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