Using Admission at one School to Gain Admission to Another

Hi Everyone,

I’ve been accepted into an Ivy League school as a transfer student. However, I’m also waiting to hear back from another Ivy—my first-choice school. Would it be helpful, detrimental, or neither for me to use the first Ivy as a sort of bargaining chip to get into the other?

In theory, I would say something along these lines to the second Ivy:

“I’ve been accepted into (first Ivy), but I really prefer your school, and I would be willing to commit 100% if you accept me.”

I’m especially interested in the opinions of those who have tried this. I know it’s not uncommon to bargain this way with grad schools, but I haven’t seen many examples of students doing this during undergrad.

Don’t do it. The response will be, “We wish you the best of luck at (first Ivy).”


In a year like this, I’d be very surprised if there are any bargaining chips at highly selective schools.

If you’re waitlisted it’s because you were rejected, but close to the cut. Yields are going to be all over the map this year so waitlists are long. Assume you’re not getting off of it and if you do, congrats! Either way, make the most of your opportunities.

To be clear, I am not waitlisted. Decisions simply haven’t been released yet.

Hold tight then, if that’s the case.

I thought the deadline to SIR was May 1st. Is it different for transfers?

I’m not on a waitlist.

It’s different. Most of the schools I’ve applied to won’t even release decisions until mid-May.

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Yes, I see. You do what you feel comfortable doing, but I would say that what worked in the past may not be the answer in a year as exceptional as this.

Sounds to me like a good way to annoy an admissions officer making the decision on you.


Yes if they’ve yet to release decisions sit back and wait but don’t miss the deadline at the other to accept.

If that’s an issue you can call without giving your name and explain the situation and ask for guidance but they will likely not care about the other schools timeline.

Do not give your name. You do not want to be seen as trying to force their hand.

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The potential for it backfiring is overwhelming.
Sit tight and wait.

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They don’t care. They are trying to trim their decision making. You will just make it easier. You can do this with small lacs that need to fill seats. Not ivys that don’t need to.