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For those of you with the "kind of thick but not really thick" envelopes

etondadetondad Registered User Posts: 1,122 Senior Member
edited March 2012 in Harvard University
I am writing to those of you who got the not yes but not no email today--you are in the "Purgatorio" called the wait list. First of all--congratulations, Harvard has judged you someone they would like to have in the class, that in of itself is quite an accomplishment and you should feel good about that--even though right now, you think that feeling good is the last thing you are experiencing. You could have gotten the electronic version of the "thin envelope" --and if you envy those people, just decline the wait list offer and your torture will cease-- a whole lot of students offered the WL do just that.

For the rest of you it will be a psychological equivalent of rubbing your tummy while patting your head--get excited about those schools that want you-- if that is where you end up attending you will have a wonderful collegiate experience and will hardly even think about Harvard--but at the same time will have to try everything you can to see if you can convert the WL to an A--which means you will still be quite emotionally invested in Harvard. It makes the inevitable question "so where are you going to college" uneasy to answer at best.

First the bad news for most on the wait list the experience will be like being on death row waiting for the warden to come to your cell to say "It's time" and put you out of your misery--all the while hoping against hope that the governor will call to save you--knowing in your heart that the call isn't coming.

Now the good news-- Dean Fitzsimmons has stated that this year in particular the Committee was conservative in the number of acceptances not knowing the yield for their first in many years SCEA admitted students. he spoke about a projected yield of well over 90% of these kids-- a number that seems to me to be quite high. Regardless, Fitzsimmons was as optimistic about going to the WL as I have read him in his annual comments on decision day to be. He even said that in recent years they have had unto 200 off the WL (suggesting that such MAY be the case this year). Unfortunately how large a number will not be clear until May 1st.

What to do-- well, first, say yes to whatever college you want to attend and accepted you before May 1. Don't forget or have some illusion that YOU are the shoo-in off the wait list so you won't waste the deposit money for College X. That deposit is at worst, the price of insurance and most likely the deposit to the college you want to go. Second go to that college's admitted student days and get very excited about being there-- don't mope or hold back your excitement (firstly, you will miss out on a great time, secondly you more than likely will be there and if you get known as the kid who told everyone that while he/she was at the admitted student day he/she was really just waiting for Harvard to say yes--and it doesn't you will be forever known as the snobby putz--not a cool way to start your college reputation...) Third, if you do want Harvard, write back and let them know in no uncertain terms that if you are accepted from the wait list you will absolutely attend.

I'm sorry that the waiting isn't over--but hey, more than likely some folks will be taken off the WL-- why not you?
Post edited by etondad on

Replies to: For those of you with the "kind of thick but not really thick" envelopes

  • Sprinter246Sprinter246 Registered User Posts: 217 Junior Member
    Thank you for writing this; it's encouraging. I was deferred EA, now waitlisted.
  • cahsparentcahsparent Registered User Posts: 334 Member
    @etondad A very thoughtful and well written piece of advice. I have to print this and hand it to my D. She gets into Cal and being wait listed in her top school of choice is like ....you said.... being on death row.

    Thank you for your post.
  • AllThingsGoAllThingsGo Registered User Posts: 19 New Member
    Thank you for this post, etondad. It is exactly what I needed to read.
    Personally, I am absolutely thrilled even to be considered for Harvard. It may seem silly, but I am outstandingly grateful and stunned to be on the wait list.


    Here is a quick question (I have a lot more questions, but this is a start!):
    Would it be beneficial to retake/improve standardize test scores to be a more competitive applicant for getting off the wait list if a spot opens?
  • arifxlr8arifxlr8 Registered User Posts: 87 Junior Member
    Nice to hear that more students will be taken off the waitlist this year>>> unfortunately (or mayb less confusing) i didnt get accepted anywhere elsee>>> so if i do get admitted off the waitlist, Ill b going there for sure... (should i illuminate da admissions office about dis?? or would it luk like im an undeserving candidate, coz i didnt get accepted anywhere else??_

    Bad news>> im an international student, so da chances are trulyy very very slimmm :( :(
  • jpegslayerjpegslayer Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    Does anyone know how many students were waitlisted?
  • wizkid94wizkid94 Registered User Posts: 598 Member
    Waitlisted. =/ Not seeking to get off, though. I'm taking it as a sign that Harvard is not where I'm supposed to be for the next four years. Congrats to everyone who got in.
  • Marmaduke513Marmaduke513 Registered User Posts: 23 New Member
    If someone is on multiple ivy waitlists, is it ethical to remain on all of those waitlists? And, if it is true that the applicant would absolutely attend ANY of the waitlist schools over the places where he has been already admitted, is is permissible/ethical to write that in the letter to every school? Or should he pick one school and tell them, you are my first choice?
  • etondadetondad Registered User Posts: 1,122 Senior Member
    ^ It's not, to my mind, an issue of morality as much as both emotionally being able to manage more than one WL and how can you marshall the resources (asking people to write on your behalf, etc) for more than one-- Only you know if you can with a straight face write that multiple colleges are "the college of my dreams and my absolute first choice." I couldn't do that, but I wouldn't pass judgement on someone else, given how badly stacked the deck is these days. Also, I think it unlikely that your college counseling/guidance office will support more than one WL, but again, maybe these days they would. For certain, the ad com wants letters that say that you want them most of all and writing anything less enthusiastic could very well doom your chances. Best of luck.
  • DescarteszDescartesz Registered User Posts: 1,740 Senior Member
    It is an acceptable practice to take a spot on waitlists of multiple schools. It would demonstrate a lack of personal integrity to tell each of the schools that it is your first choice, but you need not to do that because accepting a spot on a waitlist simply means that, at the moment, you would prefer to go to that school over the one you have selected. You are also free to change your mind later and go to your selected school, in which case you should ask to be removed from whatever waitlists you are on.

    If you do get a call offering admission from a waitlist you will be given a short period of time (a day or so) to commit to the offer. A waitlist spot is not an absolute commitment to the school, but they do need to move on if you don't want the spot. You should, of course, notify the school to which you previously committed ASAP if you accept an offer of admission while on a waitlist. Commitments are understood to have an exception for subsequent waitlist-admissions.
  • cloudless33cloudless33 Registered User Posts: 218 Junior Member
    I was also waitlisted. Given that I was fully expecting to be rejected and given that I have two really really awesome options, I'm not too upset! I'll probably be remaining on the waitlist, though.
  • nyboy22nyboy22 Registered User Posts: 16 New Member
    No Ivy League acceptances, 1 rejection (Columbia), and 3 Wait List offers (Harvard, Princeton, and Penn/Wharton)...Surprisingly, I was more honored than I was upset. I honestly only expected one acceptance if any, so I was surprised to find out that I was that close at three Ivies. Still, Harvard is definitely my number one choice, and I'll do whatever I can to get in there. I'm going to visit the campus in two weeks and I've contacted the admissions office to see if I can possibly meet with someone. In the mean time, I'll probably accept at Vassar or Boston College (if I can work out financial aid issues), but I'm really hoping for a lot of wait list admits this year!
  • lolToastylolToasty Registered User Posts: 475 Member
    What email should we send waitlist letters to?
  • etondadetondad Registered User Posts: 1,122 Senior Member
    Whatever the email the Admissions Committee's website states-- if you have a question, call their office. The receptionists are very kind and understanding.
This discussion has been closed.