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Ivy League Waitlists - What you Need to Know – Part 2

Elizabeth Heaton

Written by Elizabeth Heatonon April 5th, 2014

I began my admissions career at the University of Pennsylvania, where I chaired university selection committees, evaluated potential athletic recruits as one of the school's athletics liaisons, and oversaw the university's portfolio of admissions publications. I also served as second chair in the selection committee for the school's flagship interdisciplinary Jerome Fisher Program in Management & Technology. A frequent contributor to USA TODAY and The Huffington Post and a graduate of Cornell University, I bring exceptional skills to the craft of essay writing paired with experience reading and evaluating thousands of admissions essays. I can offer expert advice on a wide range of college admissions topics, from colleges' expectations for high school curriculum choices and standardized test scores to choosing the right extracurricular activities and essay topics. Prior to joining the University of Pennsylvania, I worked as a public relations professional and served for a decade as a member of the Cornell Alumni Admissions Ambassador Network.
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In part one of this blog series, I outlined the reality of the waitlist at Ivy League schools. Today I want to share some quick thoughts on acts that can help or hurt your odds of going from waitlist to admit. Hoping to take some action to support your application? Try these things:
  • Write a letter to reiterate your excitement about still being in the running, updating your admissions officer on any accomplishments (including grades, honors, awards, leadership roles, etc.) since you submitted your application and confirming your desire to attend if you are ultimately admitted. Send it now, before May 1.
  • Consider having your guidance counselor place a call to the admissions office on your behalf. He or she may be able to get more details about your status, including whether or not the waitlist offer was simply a courtesy.
  • Continue to investigate your other options and discuss the reality of accepting an offer of admission in June, July or even August. Decide how late is too late for you.
  • Prepare for the call from the college admissions office.
  • Deposit at another institution and get excited. They want you—who cares about the Ivy that didn’t?
Want to ruin any chance of making it into the class? Try these next steps (all of which have actually been tested by others):
  • Call and complain about being placed on the waitlist. Admissions officers love that.
  • Have your parents call and complain about the waitlist decision. Admissions officers love that even more.
  • Crash an accepted student day on campus.
  • Show up at the admissions office to plead your case in person.
  • Lie about who you are to get the admissions officer to come out and talk to you in-person.
  • Walk around campus with a sandwich board lobbying for admission.
  • Besiege the admissions office with phone calls, letters, gifts, and baked goods.
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