10 months ago
Admissions Advice

Do colleges review your second semester senior grades before taking you off the waitlist?

For most of my application, I stress about how I have improved as a student throughout my high school years. I have a feeling that I will be waitlisted by a couple of colleges. I want to prove to them that I am telling the truth about my academic growth, especially in my senior year. If I am placed on the waitlist by a college, will they review my second-semester senior grades before deciding on whether they want to take me off the waitlist or not? Thank you for answering.


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1 answer

10 months ago[edited]

I think in some cases, yes and some cases no.

For example, last admissions cycle, many liberal arts colleges pulled from the waitlist more than usual because a lot of students either wanted to defer due to COVID-19 or just didn't want to commit so their yields were going down. Some schools wanted to make sure they had a full class and used the waitlist more than in previous years.

This year is complicated because from all the chatter on the internet so far, there will be a record amount of total applications to fill fewer seats since many of those deferred admits from last year want to start this fall. For instance today Harvard pushed out their decision date to April 6th, 11 days longer than last year's March 26th IVY DAY because they have over 57000 applications versus 40248 last year (+42%). I suspect other schools will be delaying their decision date. What this also means is that they may also extend the usual deposit date of May 1 to May 15th.

Since many schools don't pull off the waitlist until after the deposit date has passed and the committed cohorts for the Class of 2025 are accounted for, this may coincide with many HS Seniors' final grade reports. I suspect that colleges will want to cherry-pick the very best students of the large waitlist this year, and want to know final grades prior to making their waitlist choices. One thing I could be wrong about is that I think that at Ivy's and Elites this year, there will be hardly anyone picked off waitlists since the upfront demand is really high.

Here's my logic on that. In past year's a really top student could theoretically apply to 8 Ivys and Stanford and say Duke or UChicago and get into all of them. This year will have record numbers of applicants across the board, giving schools the opportunity to be more picky and selective. They know that the applicant pool is very rich so they are only going to pick the best class for them, so the same student might only get into 1/2 those schools this year. So if they think their applicant would most likely want to be at Harvard or Yale or Stanford, then Dartmouth, Brown, Columbia, Princeton and even Cornell will pass on them for yield protection.

And the schools that might have been safety plays for top students (Tufts and Colgate) are going to get flat out rejected due to Tufts Syndrome more than ever. I was reading today that Colgate applications are up 102% over last year so their 27% Class of 24' admit rate will be like 15% or less this year. I think we are all going to be shocked by how low the RD admit rates are going to be this year.

If you get waitlisted and multiple places, be strategic about where you think you have the best chance of getting in with the help of your HS Counselor or your letter of continued interest. If you read between the lines of my comment, it might be futile to beg for a spot at a Yale or Harvard or Stanford, but maybe more realistic to try to get into your top Target school.


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