The Ivy Coach Daily

February 4, 2022

Ivy League Waitlist Acceptance History

There are some years in which Princeton reaches deep into its waitlist. There are other years in which Princeton doesn’t turn to its waitlist at all.

Wondering what your chances are of earning admission off of an Ivy League waitlist? To understand your chances, you might be inclined to take a gander at the historical waitlist data at each of the eight Ivy League institutions. The data is reflective of something we’ve said at Ivy Coach for many years — it’s fairly unpredictable just how deep an elite university will go on their waitlist in a given year. There are some years, like during the 2020-2021 admissions cycle when many elite universities, as we correctly predicted, would reach deep into their waitlists to fill the slots of students who opted to take gap years due to the onset of the pandemic. And there are other years when a given elite university may not turn to its waitlist at all. It’s why when someone asks us what their chances are of earning admission off an Ivy League school’s waitlist, we tell them that all we can do is give them the best shot possible. Spending time guessing one’s chances is fruitless. So what exactly do the waitlist admission rates look like at the eight Ivy League schools in recent years?

An Inside Look at Recent Waitlist Acceptance Rates at Four Ivy League Schools

As Sam Kagan report for The Daily Princetonian in a piece entitled, “We looked at waitlist acceptance rates for Princeton and seven highly selective schools. Here’s what we found.,” Princeton University’s waitlist acceptance rate has ranged from a low of 0% (2005, 2006, 2018) to a high of 16.37% (2010) since 2002. Dartmouth College’s waitlist acceptance rate has ranged from a low of 0% (2007, 2014, 2017, 2018, 2019) to a high of 13.4% (2015). So, yes, there was a three-year streak in which Dartmouth did not admit even a single student from its waitlist. The University of Pennsylvania’s waitlist acceptance rate has ranged from a low of 0.35% (2018) to a high of 16.34% (2020 as a result of all those gap year student openings). Cornell University’s waitlist acceptance rate has ranged from a low of 0% (209, 2010, 2011 — another three-year streak) to a high of 14.12% (2007).

Stop Analyzing Waitlist Acceptance Rates and Just Give It Your Best Shot

So what’s the underlying message? If you’re waitlisted, you have to think you have a chance — if you play your cards right. And how do you play your cards right? By submitting a compelling Letter of Enthusiasm, by demonstrating your love for that particularly institution! Now does that mean you’ll necessarily earn admission off that school’s waitlist? Of course not. It might very well be a year in which that school doesn’t turn to its waitlist. But you just can’t predict how deep a school will reach to its waitlist — if at all. So all you can do is give it your best shot possible. No bragging. No updates on all the things you’ve done since you first applied all of a few months ago. No boasting that you already got into such and such school. Yikes!

If and when you’re waitlisted and you’re interested in Ivy Coach’s help preparing an outstanding letter to give yourself the best chance possible of earning admission out of limbo, fill out our free consultation form, indicate that you’ve been waitlisted at the bottom, and we’ll then be in touch in short order.

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