How do my recent accomplishments look for Columbia, Rice, and WashU's waitlists?

These are the accomplishments I’ve had since January. In each waitlist response, I also provided a true evaluation of the school, why I’d see myself there, and what I would do there. I also printed everything out, used my real signature, and added my own drawings for their schools. Each of these schools are dreams of mine. Would I fare highly on the waitlists?

–Advancing to Nationals in Lincoln-Douglas Debate
*Undefeated record, 1st-place in State’s district for NSDA - advancing to NSDA Championship in June for my main public speaking event!
-Led my Novice Team in Public Forum Debate to top 5 Novice PF teams in the State
*They did all of the work! Yet, they say my endless work as Captain - in scrimmaging with them, building their cases and blocks, and teaching them the debate structure virtually - helped them lead their way to their successes.
-FIRST FTC State Robotics Tournament Advancement; Winning 1st place Connect Award
*As a third-year team, the Welded Warriors have won 1st place for the Connect Award in the largest division in Illinois history. The Connect Award is given to teams that undergo bringing more STEM opportunities into their communities, and show the most advancement from their previous seasons throughout mentorship and communication. Myself, as Lead Engineering Documenter and Team Founder, have led the mission that’s entitled to receiving this award through outreach opportunities. We’ve had design reviews with Lead Boeing Engineers, reviews with SWIC and SIUE, produced PPE for St. Louis healthcare workers, made a community discord for teams across Illinois to discuss competitions and provide help with each others’ robots, we’re starting an upcoming First Lego League team with Jr. High students, and we’re currently making a robot for our high school’s Marching Band’s upcoming season (band being x2 grand champions of the State in 2017 and 2018). There are plenty of other things as well! Very proud of the outreach opportunities we have provided for our region.
-The FIRST Robotics Team earned 2nd Place Motivate Award at the Illinois State Championship!
*Out of 32 teams that advanced to the State Championship, 15 teams earned recognition for an award. As the only team there who have advanced for the first time, we were excited to be one of the 15 teams that received an award! The Motiviate Award is an award for a team that encourages STEM progression in the community and community involvement for the successes within that community. I’m proud to say that I led the community involvement for this team, and it was well deserved for everyone involved!
-Student Advisor Position on the School Board helped bring us back to a full-hybrid schedule in Quarter 4
*I solely produced surveys for parents and students - asking questions about student safety, how they feel with a full-hybrid option, and receiving any opinions on potential student activities. This feedback allowed the school board to see the responses from many families, which greatly introduced their decision to move to a full-hybrid schedule during Quarter 4. We were previously the only local district that was remote. Through these responses, the Board also allowed me to plan homecoming coronation, potential prom, potential graduation, and plenty of events to come soon (ex. award banquets) - and I’d be leading this with our Student Council.
-Hosting the first-ever Teacher Choice Awards at GCHS!
*I’ve been working with our Superintendent, as the School District’s Student Advisor, to give something back for our teachers and staff in the school district during an unprecedented year for our staff. I’m organizing and finding the funds to allow senior students to each recognize a staff member of their choice. We will be giving them sashes, promoting their name and background, and giving individual gifts in a ceremony that unveils which student picks them for Teacher/Staff Member of the Year. It will be an exciting opportunity for our teachers!
-Organized “Senior Sendoff” events for every Friday of May!
*Following COVID guidelines, we will be hosting a Senior Sunset, ‘Distant Sand Volleyball’, among other events for our seniors. I’ve led this implementation as well, and Student Council is backing the funds to make this happen!
-During Spring Break, March 28th - April 4th, I undertook an environmental research initiative in Baja California Sur, Mexico
*With my mentor and teacher Mrs. Amy Heath, I traveled (for the first time!) via plane to Mexico (first time out of the country!) to gain research on the environmental studies from Mexico. We were snorkeling with sea lions, exploring Los Puertos’ grey whales before migration season, undergoing research on La Vaquitas - the most endangered marine animal in the world (nearly 10 left!) - among other research subjects. This initiative was not only for myself to learn more about biolife species, but also for me to report back to the community about these species and what we can do to make a difference. (Several things - like shopping for shrimp with the Marine Stewardship Council label, never using balloons, and preferring Aldi’s for grocery shopping because no plastic bags are allowed.) It was a successful, and fun trip! I plan on making this report at the end of this semester.
-Once again invited to Girls’ State for the Summer of 2021, after the event was cancelled last summer due to COVID-19.
-Madison County Youth Board Accomplishments
*We are continuing our expansion for members of EVERY high school, both public and private, to join the board. Continuing our website and job-shadow opportunities with careers from various backgrounds - colleges, trades, and military. Continuing Anti-Vaping Video Campaign. Continuing to introduce the Counselor-Student Questionnaire Packet to more counselors as more schools are coming back full-time. Making a TikTok account to spread awareness on COVID-19 and vaccination updates (coming out in late April.) Many more opportunities underway!
-Continuing Research on two topics: RNA sequencing vs. DNA sequencing (including CRISPR); Rocket Reusability - and Space Advancement - in Private Enterprises (including SpaceX)
-Math Team, Drone Team, NHS, and Science Club are all introducing new events and opportunities under my leadership in April/May.
-I’ve been given many awards in the community for my outstanding leadership and character! Many exciting things are still happening over the next few months that will help students in the community.

So these were things not on your initial application?

I think you have to be smart about waitlists. I don’t mean to sound mean - but you were rejected. The waitlist is a hedge for the university. It is not reflective upon you but they chose others.

Since they have no clue, especially this year, how their yields will be, they are all building huge lists. For example, UGA accepted 2K more students than last year knowing the yield will go down due to test optional. On top of that, their wait list is 2K - which is insane!!

I assume you put in a deposit elsewhere. My advice - get excited for that school. I’m sure it’s a great school and they will be proud to have you. And get jacked up for it.

Let these go. If they come back and offer you, worry then.

If you submitted new items, perhaps it looks great. Perhaps they were not looked at. Schools typically either rank WL or more likely will pick and choose based on geography, major or otherwise.

One year Rice picked one student.

Don’t focus on a wait list. Focus on where you are enrolling.

You are asking how they look to the schools? No one on CC can truly tell you - but it doesn’t matter. Don’t give it a second thought - get excited for where you are headed.


Where have you been accepted?

I’m planning on attending Duke! I’d just prefer the bigger cities, and I’ve considered the three above schools my dream schools for forever.

Hmmmm. That’s a nice fallback And closer to the city and more pedigree than wustl…granted a small city. That’s an outstanding choice. Goes to show you how wacky admissions is as Duke is much higher rated than wustl and similar to the other two

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This was such a strange admissions year and schools seemed to waitlist more than normal. In a normal year it’s unpredictable how many will be taken off waitlists. This year, even more so. And sometimes it’s not the “top” student who gets taken off the list but those that fill a gap after decisions come in, such as gaps in major, gender, etc.

Your list of accomplishments is great and if you have not already sent them to the schools, do so asap - like today. That’s assuming these are all updates since you submitted your application.

Duke is a great school and I agree that you should at this point assume that’s where you’re going and embrace it. If your name comes up off the waitlist at one of the other schools, AND you’re still interested, then it will be a nice surprise. You might find out at that point you don’t want to change courses. My D came off WashU’s waitlist 2 years ago they day after decision day and she declined her spot. Making the decision of where to attend had been stressful and once she made it, she was unwilling to pivot.

Admissions is funny. My D got into Rice, waitlisted at WashU and denied at Duke. Impossible to predict!


Your accomplishments are impressive but even with that it is a long-shot to get off the waitlist of any of those schools. All you can do (which you have likely already done) is send a letter of continuing interest briefly describing your new accomplishments.

If you want to spend time in an urban area in the foreseeable future there are ways to do it including: 1) take a semester or a year in a city abroad or at a US urban school that has a program with Duke; 2) look for summer internship in an urban area; 3) get a first job or go to grad school in an urban area.

FWIW I would not give up Duke for Wash U. While Wash U is an excellent school the population of St. Louis MO (308,174) is roughly the same as Durham NC (269,702) and IMO Duke is more selective and has more school spirit.

At this point I suggest you embrace the amazing school that has embraced you. Duke is a fantastic outcome – an academic powerhouse in a beautiful part of the country with great school spirit. Buy a Duke hoodie and rejoice.