Waitlisted Students Should Keep the Faith

Ivy Coach has a crystal ball. Yes, oh yes we do.

Are you dreading the possibility you’ll be stuck in college waitlist limbo? Stop worrying so much! Drink some tea. Meditate. In, out. In, out. Yet for all those folks wondering what the deal will be with college waitlists this year, as we inch closer to April notification dates for Regular Decision, we thought we’d issue a crystal ball forecast. As our loyal readers know all too well, we’ve got a crystal ball at Ivy Coach — and its predictions of what’s going to happen in the future in college admissions are historically quite accurate. So does Ivy Coach’s crystal ball forecast long college waitlists this spring? Will waitlisted students have a real shot of earning admission out of limbo?

We Forecast Longer Waitlists and Lots of Offers of Admission Out of Limbo

The crystal ball reading is in and the answers are yes and yes: we predict that our nation’s elite universities will create long waitlists this year and we also predict these schools will admit many students out of limbo this spring. So it’s good news indeed for waitlisted candidates. And if you’re wondering why our crystal ball has made the forecast it has, we believe that our nation’s elite universities are struggling this year more than most other years in predicting yields or the percentage of admitted students who will ultimately choose to matriculate. Why? Because campuses were closed for tours and information sessions this year. Were there virtual tours and information sessions? Yes. Were there, of course, other key ways to demonstrate interest? Absolutely. But absent the datapoint of whether a student took the initiative to actually step foot on the campus prior to applying, it’s hard to argue that it will be more difficult for admissions officers to forecast their yield data. And when admissions officers are fuzzy on how to forecast their yield, well, it just means they’ll waitlist more students. So anticipate long waitlists.

The Vast Majority of Applicants Who First Came to Us Last Year After Being Waitlisted Got In

But if college waitlists are anything like last year — and we believe they will be, though to a lesser extent since there won’t be as many students taking gap years — students who are waitlisted will have a real shot. Last year, the vast majority of students who first came to us for assistance after they were waitlisted ended up earning admission out of waitlist limbo. Will that happen again this year? Who knows. Typically, around 10% of students who are waitlisted end up getting in, though that statistic was a whole lot higher last year at many elite universities. We suspect it will be up a lot this year too. Just how much remains to be seen. Stay tuned!


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  • Sharon Nastoff says:

    Ivy Coach, have you gotten any students of the UChicago waitlist in the last few years? My daughter did not get off neither did 5 of her friends. I think they are the worst abusers of the waitlist in the nation. I think maybe 1or 2 in 5000 get off the damn thing! And those are Z listers!

    • Ivy Coach says:

      Hi Sharon,

      We sure have. Some have called us University of Chicago whisperers ;). Also, we do not agree: UChicago is not the worst abuser of the waitlist. Far from it.

  • Barney says:

    Are you trying to say is that elite institutions will admit more students this year or will they admit more students from waitlist?

    • Ivy Coach says:

      They will admit more students from waitlists because they will not be as effective at predicting yield as in years past. Most highly selective universities will NOT be expanding their incoming class sizes.

  • AR says:

    What are you seeing with respect to Notre Dame yields from REA? I was deferred, sent an LOCI and confirmed I would accept an offer of admission immediately. What chance do I have of getting in? 98.2 GPA, 1500 SAT, 300+ Community service hours, 15 hr/week job, Lots of leadership positions, extracurriculars and awards.

  • AR says:

    You are accepted! I just spoke with the admissions director. They said there was no need to read your essays and recs or anything0 they said with the 1500 and the 300 hours of community service that did it- Hands down a Golden Domer through and through- pick out some merch!

  • Amala says:

    What are you predicting about the University of Michigan waitlist? I was deferred and then waitlisted, so it’s been a really long journey, but it’s my absolute dream school; I have pretty good stats as well, so I’m really pulling my hair about what more I could have done

    • Amala says:

      I also forgot to mention, I wrote an LOCI both when I was deferred and when I was waitlist and said outright that I would not hesitate to commit immediately if given the chance

      • Ivy Coach says:

        Hi Amala,

        Your cake is baked if you’ve already sent in two Letters of Enthusiasm. What goes in those letters matters tremendously. If you’ve already submitted them, there is nothing more we can do.

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