Advice on Waitlist Offers

Right now, I’m 99.9% sure that I’ll be enrolling at Occidental (the 0.01% is if I get into Stanford). It wasn’t really a school that I absolutely loved when applying, but I think that the location, research opportunities, liberal arts education, and small size is the best current option for me (the other schools that I was accepted to are all large state schools). I also got a $20,000 per year merit scholarship, which is pretty significant. It’s the cheapest option other than my state school.

I was waitlisted at three schools: Pitzer, UCLA, and Carleton. I’m kind of struggling to decide what to do.

I’m thinking that I probably won’t accept my spot on Pitzer’s waitlist because after some reflection, I honestly like Occidental more. I love the Claremont Consortium, but I don’t know if that’s a good enough reason to write up a LOCI. I was rejected to Pomona and Harvey Mudd, both of which I liked more. I applied to Pitzer because of their focus on environmental sustainability/justice, which is important to me.

UCLA is a great school, but I’m really torn on whether I should accept my spot on the waitlist. I wouldn’t be able to compete on the varsity XC/track team (which I will at Oxy), but it’s definitely more “prestigious”. I try to tell myself that this doesn’t matter to me, but the sad reality is that it does (even if it shouldn’t).

Next comes Carleton. This school wasn’t near the top of my list at first. I decided to apply last minute, and was literally editing my supplements minutes before the deadline. I decided to apply because it’s a liberal arts college and isn’t on the East Coast (as I want to move away). However, the more I look into it, the more I fall in love with the school. Their undergraduate teaching is top-ranked, their academics are rigorous (and it’s one of the best LACs for physics, which I intend to major in), and I truly feel like I’d be incredibly happy at this school.

My dad brings up a valid point that it’s in the middle of nowhere (even though I pointed out that the Twin Cities are quite close, he argued that they aren’t big cities, as we live in NYC). He also mentioned that it gets extremely cold, and weather was something that I did consider when applying (which is why I applied to so many California schools). I personally don’t think that these are valid reasons for not attending (if admitted off the waitlist), since it’s my college experience.

The one thing that bugs me is the price. I am not eligible for any need-based aid at any school, which is why Oxy’s merit scholarship is appealing. I’m incredibly grateful that my parents are able to pay for the full cost of my undergrad education without loans, but I’d feel guilty attending a school where I have to pay the full price when Oxy would be cheaper.

Any advice on what I should do? Should I accept all three waitlist offers? Just Carleton’s? Or just commit to Oxy and decline all the waitlist offers?

You got into a school you like (Oxy) and you’ll be able to do track, plus a generous scholarship. I’d take it and not join the waitlists. I’m not seeing a school you clearly prefer to Oxy where you get on the waitlist in hopes that fate smiles on you; if you had a Stanford waitlist offer that would be different.

Unbiased Occidental track alum here :). I’d accept as well, seeing as you don’t seem head-over-heels in love with the other waitlist offers. And I can understand the inclination to chase ‘prestige’ - I faced a similar situation where Oxy gave me merit money and I had waitlists at (marginally) ‘better’ schools, but I couldn’t have been happier with my time there (and FWIW, I knew many who chose Oxy over UCLA for a variety of reasons). At the end of the day, they’re all excellent institutions - listen to your gut and assess what’s truly important to you in a college experience.

Occidental is a great school. If you want to go on a wait list, it’s fine. Do it but don’t think about it. A WL is a rejection but a hedge for the school.

Occidental is prestigious, gave you money, and you can do your sports.

You deposited. Just assume you are going there. If you want to see if you can get into Carleton, then sign on just for that. If you get in, it will not have money unless you have need. You’ll still go Oxy but you can say you got into a top 5 LAC.

What not to do? Fall in love with anywhere…but Oxy. They want you and it’s prestigious and nice. You should be pumped !!

My daughter is on the Emory waitlist. She turned down William and Mary’s WL.

She’s going to College of Charleston…a lot lower ranking drop than you are talking about. Her tuition after scholarships is $1k. She’s going even if Emory let’s her in…wanted to stay on the WL but she truly loves her school and you need to as well. She hasn’t mentioned Emory since the day she signed up. You should try that too. If you sign up ok but then forget about it. If they come to you and the chance is small they do then worry.