The Ivy Coach Daily

March 28, 2024

Harvard University Waitlist Acceptance Rate

A panoramic of Harvard University's campus after a snowfall.
Over the last 30 years, about 39% of students who come to Ivy Coach after being waitlisted by Harvard earn admission (photo credit: Chensiyuan).

If you’ve been waitlisted to Harvard University’s Class of 2028, you might wonder if you’ve got a legitimate chance of admission. You might internally debate if it’s even worth getting your hopes up and crafting a Letter of Continued Interest.

Does Harvard pull a significant number of students each year from its waitlist? Is being waitlisted by Harvard meaningful? It’s time for some inside scoop on the Harvard waitlist.

Harvard Does Not Release the Waitlist Acceptance Rate

While many highly selective universities release the number of students offered a place on their waitlist each year along with the number of students who opt-in to the waitlist and the number of students accepted off the waitlist, Harvard University keeps these figures close to the vest.

Without the number of students who accept a spot on the Harvard waitlist and the number of students admitted off the waitlist each year, any figure you find online that purports to represent the Harvard waitlist acceptance rate is false — because Harvard neither publicizes these figures nor releases them to The Common Data Set like many other schools.

Instead, it’s mere conjecture, conjecture typically based on Harvard’s yield (or the percentage of admitted students who enroll). In a typical year, Harvard’s yield exceeds 80%. For the Harvard Class of 2027, Harvard’s yield was slightly over 84%.

If Harvard’s projected yield dips, there’s a good chance the institution will turn to its waitlist. If Harvard’s yield is spot on or under-projected, there’s a good chance the institution will not turn to its waitlist.

Harvard’s Waitlist Acceptance History

So what do we know about the Harvard waitlist? In some years, we know that Harvard has reached deep down its waitlist — admitting more than 200 candidates out of limbo. In other years, Harvard has not turned to its waitlist.

As Harvard’s admissions committee states, “Our wait list includes the applicants whom the Committee might still wish to consider for admission if spots in the entering class open later. The wait list is not ranked. In some years, we have admitted no one from the wait list; in others, we have admitted more than 200 candidates.”

How to Improve Your Chances of Admissions Off the Harvard Waitlist

To optimize your chances of earning admission off the Harvard waitlist, after informing Harvard that you wish to join its waitlist, you should:

Ivy Coach’s Track Record with Waitlisted Harvard Applicants

Over the last three decades, there have been years where several students who first approached Ivy Coach after being waitlisted by Harvard have earned admission. There have also been years in which no students who first approached Ivy Coach after being waitlisted by Harvard have earned admission because Harvard admitted no students from the waitlist that year.

For example, for the Class of 2024, almost every student who came to Ivy Coach after being waitlisted earned admission to Harvard. Yet there are other years when no student who came to us after being waitlisted by Harvard got in.

Regardless, our approach is always the same. It’s just a question of how deep Harvard will reach down its waitlist in a given year — if at all.

So we always want students’ (and parents’) expectations in check. We believe in underpromising and overdelivering. A student never has a great chance of earning admission off the Harvard waitlist. All Ivy Coach can do is offer a student the best opportunity. And if that’s insufficient, we’re not the right fit and are not interested in taking the student on as a client.

That said, over the last 30 years, about 39% of students who first come to Ivy Coach after being waitlisted by Harvard have earned admission. Some students have earned admission within a few days of submitting a compelling Letter of Continued Interest, while for others, it took months.

We even once had a student who had already moved into their dorm room at the school they committed to attending, only to be told they got off the Harvard waitlist. They promptly moved out.

Getting Started with Ivy Coach on Approaching the Harvard Waitlist

If you’re interested in Ivy Coach’s assistance in optimizing your chances of admission off the Harvard waitlist to the Class of 2028, fill out our free consultation form, indicate that Harvard has waitlisted you, and we’ll respond.

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