28 03, 2024

What To Do If You’re Waitlisted?

By |2024-03-28T02:33:59-04:00March 28th, 2024|Ivy League, Waitlisted|0 Comments

What To Do If You’re Waitlisted?

What to do if you’re waitlisted?  Were you just waitlisted on Ivy Day?  That eagerly anticipated day when all of the Ivy League colleges release their admissions decisions?

It’s a nerve-wracking experience for many high school seniors, as well as their parents.  The culmination of years of hard work, dedication, and aspirations for a amazing future. For some, the results are absolutely FANTASTIC!  For others, disappointing to say the least (p.s. you can always transfer). However, for a few select students, Ivy Day brings even more unexpected and confusing news: being placed on the waitlist.

What in the world to do now???


While it may initially feel like a setback, being waitlisted does NOT mean it’s the end of the road for you and your dream school.  Really.  100%.  Read that sentence one more time:  this is NOT the end.  Every single year, I get so many, many students off the Ivy League waitlist  — UPenn, Princeton, Columbia, Dartmouth…even Harvard.  If you got waitlisted and have gotten this close to your dream school, know you CAN still get in.

Now, you do need to plan for your new freshman year as if you are going to go somewhere else, and you need to make the best strategic choice possible in terms of which alternative option to choose, but just know there is still hope that the school where you got waitlisted can still let you. in.

So, regroup for a moment and see this for the unique opportunity it actually is: a chance to showcase your continued interest in your dream school and potentially still secure a spot.  It’s all strategy from here on out, so if you find yourself in this situation, here’s what you need to do now:

Waitlisted Tip #1

Call me.  Seriously.  I know good strategy from bad strategy, and right now you need help.  First and foremost though, it is essential to remain POSITIVE and keep things in perspective. Being waitlisted is NOT a rejection; it’s an indication that the admissions committee sees strong potential in your application. If you got waitlisted it means you are competitive at the level of student they’re looking for, but there’s only a certain amount of room in each class, and now they need to see how many people will accept before they know how many more spots they will need to fill.

And you want to be ranked first for one of those spots.

Understand that being waitlisted is a common occurrence at all of the more selective Ivy League colleges where the number of applicants far exceeds the available spots. Take a moment to acknowledge your achievements and the effort you’ve put into your application to get you this far — because they could have rejected you outright yet DIDN’T.  That right there means you actually have what it takes, and now you just need a little push to get you over the edge.


Next, carefully review the communication you received from the admissions office regarding your waitlist status. They may provide specific instructions or deadlines for submitting additional materials or expressing continued interest. Follow these instructions diligently and promptly. Failure to do so could signal to the admissions committee that you’re not genuinely interested in attending their school, potentially diminishing your chances of being admitted!


The most crucial step in demonstrating your continued interest is writing a compelling letter to the admissions office. This letter should express your genuine enthusiasm for the school but more importantly, provide updates on any significant achievements or developments since submitting your application. YOU NEED TO MAKE IT SOUND IMPRESSIVE.

Whether it’s improved academic performance, extracurricular accomplishments, or new insights gained, use this letter as an opportunity to reaffirm why you’re an excellent fit for their institution. Personalize it to reflect your unique experiences and aspirations while remaining brief. I work with student every year to help them tailor their letter and discuss various ideas for content.


Additionally, while waiting for a decision, it’s essential to have a backup plan in place. Explore other college options that align with your academic and personal goals, ensuring you have viable alternatives in case you’re not admitted off the waitlist.

Keep in mind that many exceptional institutions exist outside the Ivy League, and realize that you can always apply to transfer.  With this in mind, where you go to school can help or hurt you, in terms of getting into the Ivy League as a transfer student next year, so I advise you speak to someone knowledgeable in this area and get some good advice before you commit to a school and make your decision if transferring is your new goal.


Use this time to reflect on your priorities and preferences for your college experience. Consider factors such as campus culture, location, size, academic offerings, and financial aid opportunities when evaluating your options. Keep an open mind and approach the decision-making process with flexibility and optimism. Remember that the college you ultimately choose will play a significant role in shaping your future, so it’s essential to make an informed decision that aligns with your values and aspirations.

Meanwhile, continue to stay engaged and involved in activities that showcase your passions and strengths. Whether it’s pursuing meaningful extracurriculars, volunteering in your community, or taking on leadership roles, continue to demonstrate your commitment to personal growth and making a positive impact. Admissions committees value students who are not only academically accomplished but also individuals with a genuine desire to contribute to others around them.


Finally, regardless of the outcome, approach the situation with grace. Being waitlisted does not define your worth or potential, in fact it is actually the opposite!  And if you didn’t get in read my article here (Transferring Into the Ivy League) about how to transfer, even to the same school you just got rejected from and how I help students every year!

Regardless of what happened on Ivy Day though, keep moving forward with determination and confidence, knowing that you have the skills, talents, and resilience to succeed wherever life may take you.


In conclusion, being waitlisted on Ivy Day may initially feel disheartening, but it’s essential to approach the situation with optimism, determination, and resilience. By demonstrating continued interest, exploring alternative options, staying engaged in meaningful activities, and knowing you can either get off the waitlist or seriously try to transfer and take another chance, the journey to higher education is full of twists and turns, but with perseverance and a positive mindset, you can navigate through any challenges that come your way.

Want more help with your letter of continued interest, waitlist strategy, or chances of transferring next year to the Ivy League?  I’m a former Harvard admissions interviewer + Harvard graduate.  Contact me today for a free consultation and get into the school of your dreams!  www.IvyCollegeEssay.com

2 09, 2023

Should I Talk About Race in My College Admissions Essays?

By |2023-09-02T17:34:53-04:00September 2nd, 2023|College Admissions, Harvard, Ivy Leage Admissions, Ivy League|1 Comment

Should You Talk About Race? Ivy League College Admissions


As the college admissions process becomes increasingly competitive, students are constantly searching for ways to make their applications stand out. One question that often arises is whether to address one’s race or ethnicity in the admissions essay. While this topic is certainly relevant and important in today’s diverse world, it raises a complex set of considerations. In this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of discussing race in your college admissions essay and provide guidance on how to navigate this sensitive issue.

The Pros of Discussing Race

1. **Diversity and Perspective**: One of the primary benefits of addressing your race or ethnicity is the potential to contribute to the diversity of the college community. Admissions officers often seek to create a diverse student body to foster a rich exchange of ideas and experiences. Sharing your unique perspective can be a valuable addition to the campus culture.

2. **Personal Growth and Resilience**: Many applicants have faced challenges related to their racial or ethnic identity. Discussing these challenges can demonstrate resilience, personal growth, and the ability to overcome adversity. This can make a compelling narrative for your essay.

3. **Authenticity**: Admissions officers appreciate authenticity in applicants. If your race or ethnicity has played a significant role in shaping your identity or experiences, it may be important to include it in your essay. Authenticity can help you connect with the reader on a personal level.

The Cons of Discussing Race

1. **Stereotyping and Bias**: Unfortunately, some admissions officers may unintentionally stereotype applicants based on their race or ethnicity. Discussing your racial background could lead to biases or assumptions that may work against you. It’s essential to approach this topic carefully to avoid reinforcing stereotypes.

2. **Privacy Concerns**: Sharing personal experiences related to race can be deeply personal and potentially invasive. Some applicants may feel uncomfortable disclosing this information, and it’s important to respect their privacy and boundaries.

3. **Overemphasis on Race**: Focusing too heavily on your race in your essay may detract from other aspects of your identity, achievements, and interests. Admissions officers want to see a well-rounded applicant, so be cautious not to overshadow other important qualities.

Tips for Addressing Race in Your College Essay

1. **Consider Your Motivation**: Reflect on why you want to discuss your race in your essay. Is it an integral part of your identity and experiences? Does it contribute meaningfully to your application? If so, proceed thoughtfully.

2. **Tell a Story**: If you choose to discuss your race, consider framing it as a story that illustrates a broader theme or personal growth. Highlight how your experiences have shaped you as an individual and how they connect to your goals and values.

3. **Avoid Stereotypes**: Be aware of potential stereotypes and biases, and strive to challenge or counter them in your essay. Present a nuanced and authentic portrayal of your experiences.

4. **Seek Feedback**: Share your essay with trusted teachers, counselors, or mentors who can provide feedback. They can offer valuable insights into how your essay comes across and whether it effectively addresses the topic of race.


Deciding whether to talk about your race in your college admissions essay is a personal choice that depends on your unique experiences and motivations. While addressing your racial or ethnic identity can be a powerful way to contribute to diversity and share your authentic self, it also requires careful consideration to avoid potential pitfalls. Ultimately, the key is to approach the topic with authenticity, sensitivity, and a clear connection to your overall narrative as an applicant. Remember that the goal of your essay is to help admissions officers understand who you are and what you can bring to their college community, regardless of whether you choose to discuss your race.

I’m a former Harvard admissions interviewer + Harvard graduate.  Contact me today for a FREE consultation at: www.IVY COLLEGE ESSAY.com and get into the school of your dreams!

Other articles you may be interested in:

How to Prepare for An Ivy League Education

How to Get Into Harvard

How to Get Into Columbia University

How to Write a Great Common App Essay


6 05, 2023

How to Write A Letter of Continued Interest

By |2024-03-28T22:41:44-04:00May 6th, 2023|College Admissions, Deferred, Ivy League Advice, Letter of Continued Interest, LOCI, Waitlisted|0 Comments

How to Write A Letter of Continued Interest

A letter of continued interest is exactly what it sounds like – a letter that expresses continued interest in attending a particular college or university.

Being put on the waitlist of your college of choice, is a frustrating experience.  You’ve gotten SO CLOSE.  However, being waitlisted is not the end of the road. In fact, each year I get students off the waitlist, and there are specific steps that students can take to increase their chances of still getting accepted — the main one being to write a letter of continued interest.

Think of it as a way for you to update the admissions committee on any new developments since you submitted their application, as well as reiterate your desire to attend the school. You want to be IMPRESSIVE and to the POINT.

Here are some tips on how to write a good, effective letter of continued interest and hopefully still be in the game when it comes to getting in!

1. Keep it concise and to the point

Admissions committees are busy and have a lot of applications to review, so it’s important to keep your letter brief and to the point. Start with a short introduction and then get straight to the updates you want to share. Make sure you express your continued interest in attending the school, but avoid repeating information that was already included in your original application. Your letter should not be more than 1 page, and ideally, not more than 1-2 paragraphs tops.  DO NOT GO ON TO A SECOND PAGE!

2. Highlight any new accomplishments or achievements

Since submitting your application, have you won any awards, received any special recognition, taken on any new leadership roles?  Published a book?  Filed a patent? Use your letter of continued interest to highlight these accomplishments and explain how they demonstrate your continued commitment to your education and personal growth.

3. Be specific about WHY you want to attend the school

Use your letter of continued interest as an opportunity to reaffirm why you want to attend the school in question. Be specific about what draws you to THAT school and what you hope to gain from your education once there. Tailor your letter to the specific school and department but do not repeat what you wrote in the application!

4. Show enthusiasm and passion

Admissions committees want to see that you are truly excited about the prospect of attending their school. Use your letter to demonstrate your enthusiasm and passion for your field of study and your desire to learn and grow as a student. Be genuine in your tone and avoid sounding too rehearsed or formulaic (a.k.a. “fake”).

5. Follow up appropriately. Appropriately being the key word!

After you’ve sent your letter of continued interest, it’s important to follow up ONLY if you have additional, significant updates since your last letter. Be mindful of the admissions committee’s time however as more than 2 letters post-waitlist, unless you’ve seriously published a book, or won the Noble Prize otherwise, it is really being too aggressive.

The adcom is BUSY.  They all know you want to go to your targeted school more than anything, but don’t be too desperate — as in dating, appear desperate and it will get you REJECTED. Instead, just be calm and cool…truly believe that the school would be lucky to have you.  That is the attitude you need to take.  Even with Princeton or Harvard.

So, in conclusion, I know that being waitlisted can be a disappointing experience, but it’s important to remember that it’s not the end of the world and there is still hope.

By writing a well-crafted letter of continued interest, you can increase your chances of achieving your goal of attending your desired school. Keep these tips in mind when crafting your letter, reach out to me if you want more one-on-one help (I charge $250 a letter, which includes me looking over your proposed updates in light of your application) and remember to be genuine, passionate, and specific in your communication with the school. Good luck, and you want to send them that letter within a week!

I’m a former Harvard admissions interviewer + a Harvard grad.  Contact me today for help with your Letter of Continued Interest, or any other of your college admissions needs: www.IvyCollegeEssay.com

And, check out my other blog articles, as well!

  1. How to Get Off Harvard’s Waitlist
  2. Want to Transfer to an Ivy League College — There’s Still Hope!
  3. The Best Ivy League College Admissions Blog



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