Ben Orlin is right, college admissions is crazypants. The Business Insider article that stemmed from his Twitter post is worth a read.
Rejection by a university ought to feel like getting swiped left on Tinder,” he wrote. “There’s nothing terribly personal about it. The admissions office doesn’t really know you. The university is just looking out for its own interests, and you don’t happen to fit into the picture.
Orlin’s hesitation to be a part of a process that results in near total disappointment for applicants is even more understandable when looking at Ivy League acceptance rates.
For the class of 2020 the admission rate is below 10% for almost all Ivy League schools.
He flips that number around to talk about how many rejection letters Yale doles out.
No matter how sincere their intentions, the Yale admissions team is beholden to grim statistical reality: 94% of students are getting rejection letters,” he wrote.
Orlin suggests that Ivy League admission decisions should be chosen by lottery, and have base requirements that students must meet before applying in the first place. Will it happen? No. But something needs to be done.
Looking for a way to enhance admission odds? College Kickstart compiled a list of schools with early decision admission rates that are at least twice as high as their regular decision admission rates.
Read more here!
Frank Bruni’s latest on the fatally flawed metric of college rankings. Just read it!
Although getting admitted off of the waitlist can and does happen, please keep in mind the number of admits is very low. Some schools waitlist thousands of applicants, only to offer a few hundred spots (or 0, or 20, or 50) in their incoming class.
College Kickstart’s sample of waitlist statistics from 160 private and public institutions paints the following picture:
- On average, 17 percent of students accepting a place on a waitlist were admitted
- 58 percent of the schools admitted 10 percent or less of the students accepting a place on the waitlist last year
- 41 percent of the schools admitted 5 percent or less
- 12 percent admitted no one
They note there are several factors driving low admit rates, including the size of the waitlist (often very large), and how well a school anticipates its admissions yield—I agree.
So what can you do if you have been deferred or waitlisted?
- Write a waitlist letter. This letter should contain information updating the school on what you’ve been up to both inside and outside of the classroom since the time you applied. It should also be used to reiterate interest and a commitment to attend if applicable. *If you are not 100% committed to attending, do not say so in the letter.
- Have your guidance counselor call the admissions office and advocate for you. Ask them to back up what they say on the call in an email and ask them to provide additional information that supports your candidacy.
- Make sure updated grades/transcript are sent promptly.
- Consider one or more of the following:
- Visit the school and swing by admissions to reiterate interest. Sit in on a class, stay overnight, take advantage of any admissions events/programming you may not have during your initial application process.
- Obtain and have an extra letter of recommendation sent. This letter could be from a teacher, coach or someone else close to you who can speak to what you have to contribute to the university. *Side note on alumni letters and letters from well-known and or famous people. Many students ask if these are helpful to send, and the answer is no, they are not unless the person really knows you. If you think that a big name vouching for you will help, it generally doesn’t as a stand-alone factor, and officers can see through these often brief and less than meaningful notes.
Again, getting admitted off of the waitlist can happen, but it is a wise idea to get excited about the schools where you were admitted and focus on choosing which one will be the best place for you to spend the next four years!
An early April Fools’ Day article by Frank Bruni, or a glimpse into our impending future? A hilarious yet sad read but thought-provoking and yet another reminder that we need to take these outcomes with a grain of salt. One of my favorite bits:
“On campuses from coast to coast, there was soul searching about ways in which colleges might be unintentionally deterring prospective applicants. Were the applications themselves too laborious? Brown may give next year’s aspirants the option of submitting, in lieu of several essays, one haiku and one original recipe using organic kale.”
Thankfully, kale is an extremely versatile vegetable.
As parents and students begin to obsess over admissions decisions here’s some perspective (that I have posted before). It is harder to get a job at Wal-Mart in Washington, DC. Wegman’s in Pennsylvania boasted an acceptance rate of 5% in 2014. And Google only has room for one half of one percent of its job applicants.