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Sunday, January 15, 2006


cindy Preskitt

Is there anythig that a parent can do offer or any way they can affect the oput come of the "wait pool" situation. Something that may help htheir child stand out and be offered a place in the college???please help. This is of course maintaing the high moral standards of private christain college.


Here's what I sent Ms. Preskitt:

From College Confidential

Ordinarily, we advise wait-listed students to stay in frequent contact with admission offices and to submit details about new awards or achievements, but only if they’re significant. (For instance, winning a state competition would certainly be worth reporting; being named "Student of the Week" in the local newspaper is not, even though it's nothing to sneeze at and certainly fodder for the fridge door.)

Often we suggest that an appropriate “gimmick” might help. For instance, if your daughter’s application touts her talents as a musician, she could compose a piece that is specific to the college you’re courting (e.g., “Cornell Concerto,” or “Rhapsody in Crimson”); budding poets might write verse; an artist could paint a campus picture.

At the rarefied level your daughter aiming for, however, these cutesy things will have less impact than they might elsewhere because few students are likely to come off those lists and those who do will often be the special cases cited above.

Of course, it never hurts to try, but your daughter’s best bet is probably to allow herself to further investigate—and get excited about—those colleges and universities that did accept her. If she came close with Harvard and Cornell, we assume she must have some fine choices indeed.

From US News and World Report, 2003

Many colleges are trimming acceptances and expanding their waiting lists to avoid overenrolling students–which last year meant crowded classes and housing crunches on scores of campuses. Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa., couldn't afford to "guess wrong" after welcoming 11 more freshmen in the fall of 2001 than its goal of 600, says Robert Massa, vice president for enrollment and student life. So last admissions season, the school took 230 students early decision, nearly double the previous year's count. The "binding" program helps enrollment planners because students who are accepted early must pledge to attend Dickinson. The school also reduced total acceptances from 64 percent to one half and boosted the waiting list to 250 from 160. Instead of admitting just three wait-listed students–last year's total–the school expected to give 50 kids the nod by summer's end. "We want to use the wait list," concurs Michael Steidel, admissions director at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. "It gives us an element of control."

While no magic combination of grades or activities can propel borderline applicants over the top, there's plenty a stranded candidate can do to catch an ad- missions officer's eye–starting with an expression of eagerness to attend. "It's E-mail; it's faxes saying, 'I'm still out here, and I'm still interested,' " says Steidel. "That's the message we want to hear." Agrees Lehigh's admissions dean, Bruce Gardiner: "Some kids are worried about being a pest. That is not really possible."

Somersaults. If you get stuck in wait-list limbo, also keep in mind that not every school is oversubscribed. Some 340 institutions still had openings following the traditional spring admissions season, according to a National Association for College Admission Counseling survey. But if you're determined to scale the walls of a highly selective school, you'll have a better shot at getting off the wait list, as Lindsey Phillips discovered, if you give colleges information they don't already have. Marjorie Jacobs, director of guidance at Scarsdale (N.Y.) High School, advises wait-listed students to send in updates detailing new honors, academic awards, or lessons learned doing community service. The University of Virginia, for instance, once admitted a wait-listed student after she sent images of her horseback circus-gymnastics performance. Jacobs also recommends alerting colleges "as fast as possible" if a candidate no longer needs financial aid. Funds get doled out early, making those who can pay their way more attractive.

Sheer creativity can help, too. Carnegie Mellon's Steidel keeps a bottle that he received from a wait-listed candidate several years ago. The bottle, coated with Life Savers candy, had a scroll inside that read: "SOS SOS SOS. I'm stranded here in South Carolina" and need the "rescue ship of admissions" to fulfill a dream of becoming a cosmetic surgeon. "We loved it," recalls Steidel. "It was cute; it was innovative." And it won the girl a seat. Another memorable wait-list winner from Hawaii painted the seascape outside her window on a coconut–a scene she said she'd love to pine for from a dorm room in Pittsburgh. "When you know someone wants it that badly," says Steidel, "it does turn the committee's head."

From the College Board

Take Control

It's not just a passive waiting game. There are things you can do to boost your chances of being accepted.

* Get a better sense of your chances of admission
Colleges sometimes rank waiting lists. The higher you rank on the list the better your chances of being accepted. Contact the admission office to find out if it ranks wait-listed students or if it has a priority list. Most admission officers are willing to tell you your status.
* Write a letter to the admission office
Being wait-listed means the school has already determined you have the academic credentials; so nonacademic factors are more likely to sway admission officials. Offer achievements that you may not have mentioned in your application and send new supplemental information. For example, maybe a terrific recommendation just came in. Emphasize your strong desire to attend the college and make a case for why you're a good fit. You can indicate that if accepted you'll enroll, but such a promise should be made only if you're absolutely certain. You can also enlist the help of an alumnus and your high school counselor.
* Study hard
This is no time to slack off. If you're wait-listed, you may be reevaluated based on your third- and fourth-quarter grades.
* Stay involved
Show admission officers you're committed to sports, clubs, and other activities.
* Request another (or a first) interview
An interview can give you a personal contact -- someone who can check on the status of your application.
* Realize that you've already achieved something
You were wait-listed, not turned away. Many students were not as successful.
* Reconsider the colleges that accepted you
If you'll be just as happy at one of your second choices, send in that deposit and plan to attend there. You'll be surprised how much better you feel after the decision has been made.

Jay Matthew's advice:

10 Steps for Wait-List Purgatory

1. Get excited about the colleges that accepted you, because you are unlikely to escape the waiting-lists of those that didn't. Put a deposit down for some school by May 1. Remember that the best evidence shows your safety school is just as good as your reach school. Think of the next steps as just an interesting exercise in diplomacy and persuasion.

2. Get a wait-list history from each of the schools that wait-listed you, including the total number of wait-listees this year. How many have they admitted off the wait-list in the past and what kinds of information are they most interested in getting from this year's wait-listees?

3. Pick the wait-listing colleges you like best—the fewer the better—and let them know you still want them.

4. Make all the contacts yourself. College admission officials think calls from parents are a sign of student cowardice.

5. Be happy, even if you don't feel that way. Tell them you consider it an honor to be wait-listed by such a fine school.

6. Send the wait-listing college a detailed letter or e-mail saying why you think its programs are such good fit with your interests and ambitions.

7. Emphasize in that letter that you have continued to apply yourself to your studies and activities since you sent in your application. Spotlight particularly good grades, honors, awards, sports triumphs and anything else new that makes you look good.

8. In the letter, talk about what you have learned about yourself and your goals as the college process has proceeded.

9. Ask one of your senior course teachers to write a letter about your work this year.

10. If by chance you get off the wait-list, and you decide you want to attend that school, find a sensitive way to tell your parents that they have blown $500 on that non-refundable deposit for a school you will not be attending.

Remember, you've accomplished a lot already. Don't despair.

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