Each and every year, we receive emails from our students or their parents with a question that goes, “We got a Likely Letter. What does this mean?” First, we encourage them to jump for joy because it means they’re getting in! Yes, if a student receives a Likely Letter, it means they will absolutely be earning admission come the time Regular Decision notifications are released. It’s as good as an offer of admission. In fact, it’s even better because it means that the student was among the strongest applicants to the class of the entire pool. So it’s also a great indication that other elite universities will consider them great candidates as well since they not only got into a top school but were among that top school’s strongest applicants.
As we explained it to Business Insider in a piece by Abby Jackson entitled “Hundreds of thousands of college admission decisions drop Thursday — and ‘Likely Letters’ are the first wave,” “Likely Letters are notifications sent out to a small number of students before the formal decision date. And although they seem to signal that an acceptance is only likely, not certain, if you receive one of them your acceptance is guaranteed, Brian Taylor, director of Ivy Coach, told Business Insider. ‘Make no mistake, a Likely Letter means you’re getting in,’ he said. ‘It means you’re among the strongest applicants to the university that year,’ Taylor, whose New York-based company provides college consulting services, continued.”
So why do elite universities send out Likely Letters? That’s an easy one. Because these schools are competing with one another for the very best candidates. They’re trying to improve their yields. And in a competitive landscape, they want these students to know that they love them, they really do love them. These schools believe in the primacy effect of social psychology, that these students will wish to attend the first top school that shows their love to them. And they’re not wrong. Many students will indeed fall in love with the school or schools that send them Likely Letters. It’s why these schools continue to send out Likely Letters year after year, a practice we envision continuing for many years to come.
Congratulations to Ivy Coach’s students who received Likely Letters to elite universities this year! Know that you were among the strongest applicants in the entire applicant pool to these schools — even among the group of students who will ultimately earn admission.
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