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The Acceptance, The Denial, and the Waitlist

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The Acceptance, The Denial, and the Waitlist

David Shin

The Acceptance:

Patrick is so happy for you that he magically regains all of his teeth!

Patrick is so happy for you that he magically regains all of his teeth!

Congratulations (if you didn’t already hear it from the college)! You have received the news that every applicant wants to hear. Maybe it’s from an Ivy. Maybe it’s from your local state school. Either way, there’s no reason you can’t pat yourself on the back and have some ice cream. You don’t even need to read this. Just click off this article now, unless you’re like almost all of us and have received…

The Denial:

Spongebob: Post-college rejection

Spongebob: Post-college rejection

I regret to inform you that denials are a normal part of life. But who wants the pressure of succeeding all of the time? Be grateful that you took the chance and move on. Easier said than done, but nothing a little ice cream can’t fix! In all seriousness, the college process is not fair and there may be a number of factors skewed against your favor. Did you go to a prep school like Andover or St. Paul’s? Did you hire a private college counselor? Did you receive SAT/ACT tutoring? Did you go to a private school or well-funded public school? If you answered no to these questions, then I can confidently say that the denial was largely out of your hands. Sure, it feels good to “succeed” against all odds, but that doesn’t need to depend on the name brand of your college! Prove those who denied you wrong. Become a Nobel Prize winner. A Grammy-winning musician. A Supreme Court justice. A professional athlete. Dream big! But what about the limbo that is…

The Waitlist:

Patrick's dream college decided that 3 months wasn't a long enough wait, so they postponed an answer indefinitely.

Patrick's dream college decided that 3 months wasn't a long enough wait, so they postponed an answer indefinitely.

Ah, the waitlist. Good, but not good enough? Think again. The waitlist is a strategic move on the college’s part and has little to do with whether you were good enough. As colleges compete for students, it’s necessary to keep a waitlist every year because no one knows how the incoming class will shape up. How do you think these colleges, especially small liberal arts colleges, maintain a vibrant college life, replete with orchestras, dance groups, and debate clubs? They admit the demographics they need from the waitlist. Not enough African Americans decided to come? Admit them from the waitlist! Lost one too many violinists to a rival school? Admit some from the waitlist! No one from North Dakota wants to come? Admit one from the waitlist! This concept applies to any demographic that you can think of and is how college admissions offices can carefully maintain a diverse student body. You can improve your chances of getting off the waitlist by sending a letter of interest, in which should state that you would sell your soul if they accepted you (not really, but you get the point). But other than that, consider waitlists as near-denials. Miracles CAN happen though!