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Duke University
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SAT: 720 math
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What's the Z-list?

Hi! I've seen some people mention the term 'Z-list' when talking about college admissions. Can anyone explain to me what exactly it means and how it's relevant to the college application process?

7 months ago

Hello! The "Z-list" is a term that refers to a deferred admission program offered by a few selective colleges, most notably Harvard. It's essentially a waitlist, but with a guaranteed admission offer after taking a gap year. What happens is that a student who gets "Z-listed" accepts Harvard's offer of a guaranteed admission spot for the following year's class, on the condition that they complete a gap year first.

Gap years can be spent working, traveling, volunteering, or gaining some other relevant experience before the student starts college. The Z-list is seen as a way for schools like Harvard to maintain a strong and diverse incoming class each year. It allows the university to admit students they believe have great potential but may not quite fit into the current year's incoming class—it could be due to a variety of reasons, such as limited space or the student needing more time to grow and develop before joining the college community.

Being Z-listed is rare and only affects a small number of students during the college admissions process. If you do find yourself in this situation, it's important to view the opportunity as a unique chance to gain more life experience and build your personal growth before attending college. Taking a gap year can be highly beneficial for students, as it can help them clarify their goals, develop independence, and acquire new skills. But it also might make more sense for you to simply accept one of your other offers of admission, depending on your other options, so remember that you can always say no to the Z-list.

If you want to read more about this unusual admissions practice, you can check out CollegeVine's blog post on the topic: https://blog.collegevine.com/what-is-the-harvard-z-list. I hope this helps clear up your confusion!

7 months ago

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