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Waitlisted? It’s Not Too Late

This has been an unbelievable year in college admissions.  We’ve worked with students and families for over 15 years and nothing stays the same, we promise that.

The sheer number of applications is rising. Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Duke, Emory, Harvard, Pomona, Stanford, U Penn, Emory and Yale are just some of the schools who report the largest number of applicants in their school’s history and UCLA broke all records with 100,000 applications this year for the Class of 2021. Cornell University received the highest number of applications in the Ivy League with 47,038 applications. Stanford was the most selective college in the country, with an acceptance rate of 4.65% for the Class of 2021.

The number of early applications is also off the charts this year.  A small school like Colby, for instance, had an increase in early decision applications for the third year in a row. This year they received 11,190 applications for 500 spots for the Class of 2021, up 14 percent from last year and 117 percent from 2014.  Georgetown accepted 11.9 percent of 7,822 early action applicants to the Class of 2021, which is 1 percent lower than last year’s 13 percent –it was the lowest acceptance rate they’ve ever had.

Of course, this means it’s a record year for low acceptance rates overall.  And, the Ivies are no longer the toughest schools to get into! Pomona had an 8 percent acceptance rate; Georgetown was 15.43 percent; Vanderbilt 10.19 percent; Northwestern 9.1 percent; Duke 9.06 percent!

All this to say it’s been a tough year for many seniors and we’ve heard from many parents and students who didn’t work with us and wish they had.  If you were waitlisted, take a breath and plan a response! If you were rejected and yes, we’ve heard from kids who were rejected at all their colleges. Perhaps they aimed too high or they simply didn’t have strong applications and with this many applications and rise in quality of applications there were many surprised applicants.  It’s not the end of the world.  Take heart and take action.



What’s the good news if your college outcomes weren’t what you hoped? It’s not too late!

  • Option 1: Take a gap year and prepare your freshman applications again, but this time with our help at Application Boot Camp this August 2017 in BostonWe can help you craft a gap year strategy and refine essays that put you in the best possible light and we’ll develop an application strategy with you to prepare early action, early decision, regular, and rolling applications to submit in fall 2017 for an August 2018 start date as a freshman at your top-choice colleges!
  • Option 2: For waitlisted students, we offer a Waitlist Analysis Program that includes a thorough analysis of your submitted essays and applications, a personalized student report, and customized input and advice on how to get accepted from the waitlist.
  • Option 3: Apply to additional colleges this April 2017, for an August 2017 start date as a freshman. For students who received rejection letters and are aiming to apply to additional colleges this April, it’s not too late. Many colleges still have rolling deadlines and are accepting applications. Review the Essay Guidance Program and consider some colleges still accepting applications.

As of April 5, 2017, the following colleges are still accepting applications: (and this is just a sampling)


Application Deadline

Bowling Green State University


Cal State U –San Bernardino


Nazareth College


Rochester Institute of Technology


Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD)


U Wisconsin Parkside


University of Charleston


University of New Orleans


University of Washington-Tacoma campus


University of Wyoming


UT Dallas


How can you find colleges still accepting applications?

  • Use the Universal College Application website: They offer a simple list of colleges still accepting applications HERE.

Always check college admissions websites to confirm deadlines. Additional questions? Let us know!

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Waiting for Decisions

These days the majority of our clients take advantage of early decision and early action application options. Odds go up dramatically in the early round, especially using the early decision binding option. Odds are doubled, for instance, at schools such as Northwestern, Carleton, Middlebury, and William and Mary.

Many colleges are using the early round to accept 40-50% of their classes. When Michele worked in the Dartmouth admissions office in the late 90’s, the Ivies tended to fill up no more than a THIRD of the class through early decision. Now that number has risen dramatically with colleges like U Penn filling HALF the class in ED, Dartmouth over 40% and many small liberal arts colleges 40-50%. Why? Because the yield in ED is 100% (or close) meaning that students have to say YES. That way colleges can control the quality and score averages of the class much more accurately. Plus, any time they stretch to accept an applicant who is interesting but may be “low” in scores, that applicant is bound to say YES.



Clearly that is NOT the case in the regular round when the vast majority of students apply. With record high applications, admissions officers are reluctant to stretch for a student who may ultimately turn them down, nor do they have to “close read” a file to look deep between the lines. Instead, they try to maintain the high SAT/ACT averages and students from the top of their class so the numbers come out high at the end of the day.

Even though savvy students take advantage of ED/EA, students who are rejected in that round or who simply weren’t ready, end up in the regular round with the rest of humanity. Because the Ivies and top colleges are in high demand especially with international students, application levels tend to soar and this year is no exception. University of Virginia received 22% more early applications this year and even some of the smaller schools like Colby College in Maine are experiencing huge increases in the number of applications – also a 22% rise this year and Skidmore College had a 13% increase.

Though not all schools have announced their overall application numbers yet, most so far are up from last year – Yale is up 5%, Penn 3.8%, Harvard 1.2% – -so far the only school with a drop is Dartmouth College with a 3.2% decrease from last year, although they were up in the early round with the largest number of early decision applicants ever received.

As always, we will keep an eye on application numbers in the regular round and will report in those numbers as soon as they become available. Head to our recently updated blog post, Class of 2021 Regular Decision Deadlines and Notification Dates to stay on top of the dates for your regular application outcomes.

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Accepted in the Early Round –Now What?

Bravo! You were accepted to your top choice college in the early round. Now what?

Granted, much of the hard work is behind you but you aren’t done just yet. The remainder of your senior year remains a pivotal time for seniors because colleges CAN change their minds.

Now that you’re IN you need to ensure that you stay IN. Here’s how:

Don’t Slack in School OR Get Into Trouble

If you applied early to college and were accepted, CONGRATULATIONS! However, this is no reason to stop going to class, or to decide to stage a sit-in on the principal’s car with a can of beer—because if you mess around, you can you still be “unaccepted.” Each year an unlucky handful of kids are “unaccepted” to top colleges because of poor senior year performance. You’ll notice if you look at an acceptance letter that acceptance is contingent upon a strong senior year. Major ethical infractions (cheating, axe-murdering your neighbor, etc…) and big grade drops can compel colleges to rescind their decision. Many schools have long waiting lists and will have no trouble finding someone great to fill the spot of a cheater or a delinquent. Don’t let this happen to you. It varies by schools, but most schools will send a warning letter if your overall average drops to C or if you get two grades of C- or below during any one term. Avoid the problem by maintaining at least a B average. Besides, you have at least four more years of learning left—and you don’t want to disappoint your teachers who supported you (and wrote recommendation letters) in the first place! Michele used to write these letters at Dartmouth to over a dozen kids a year – they heard their explanations and then decided on whether to rescind admission or not.

Enjoy Your High School

Have you been so busy these four years that you never made it over to the studio art room monthly exhibits? Ever seen your high school fencing team compete? Always wanted to try out for a play? Now’s the time!! Enjoy your remaining months in high school. Just keep “clean” as far as behavior.


Plan a Great Summer

Can you even believe you’re hearing us say that? This is your chance to go to cooking school, take sailing lessons, or lie on the beach. No standardized tests to prep for or academic niches to deepen. If you want to do a gap year, be sure to clear it with your college as they have to grant it to you! As you get older, free time gets harder and harder to find – it’s fine to take some time off before college to do something you’ve always wanted to do.

Read Your Future College Newspaper Online

While you want to be present to your time in high school, it’s fun to read about your future home and see what’s happening on campus.


Read the Classics!

In college, you will most likely have distributive requirements or a freshman seminar where you will read high level books. Order a course by The Teaching Company on great literature ( and make it a goal to read 5-10 classics before freshman year. That way you will have a leg up, especially if you are more math/science oriented.


Congratulate yourself on a job well done as your hard work clearly paid off with your acceptance(s) but understand your work is not yet done. Finish up senior year strong knowing you have a leisurely summer ahead as you prepare to embark on yet another four-year adventure.

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Schools With Late Application Deadlines

Schools with late application deadlines might just be the saving grace you’ve been seeking.

With the intense hike in early college applications this year (early apps at Princeton were up 18%, Dartmouth 3.7%, the UC schools 6% and University of Nebraska at Omaha was up 89%) it’s safe to say some of you didn’t make it into your preferred early schools. We know this can be heartbreaking but rest assured you have options.

Granted applying early versus regular to most colleges provides better admissions odds; that’s not to say there aren’t some wonderful schools out there to STILL apply to in the regular round.

And, there are plenty of students who are a little…well…late to the application party and didn’t finish in time. If that’s you, get going and take schools with later deadlines.

With this record high number of college applicants also comes even fiercer competition. Typically approximately 40% of incoming classes are comprised of early decision applicants and this year this percentage will be even more dramatic. For instance, Early Decision applicants will make up 50% of Duke’s Class of 2021, 47% of Dartmouth’s Class of 2021 is from the early pool and Williams’ Class of 2021 is comprised of nearly 47% early applicants.

While we’ll continue to recommend early decision as a great option for students who know they want to attend a particular college and are looking to boost their admissions odds; there are still excellent college options out there. We’ve compiled a smattering of these below.

college application deadlines


  • American University: EDII & Regular 1/10
  • Assumption: 2/15
  • Case Western: 1/15
  • Catholic: 1/15
  • Colgate: 1/15
  • Dickinson: 2/1
  • Georgetown: 1/10
  • Gettysburg: 1/15
  • Grinnell: 1/15
  • Hobart: 2/1
  • Holy Cross: 1/15
  • James Madison: 1/15
  • Kenyon: 1/15
  • Lafayette: 1/15
  • Seton Hall: Regular Decision 1: 2/1; Regular Decision II: 3/1
  • Sewanee: 2/1
  • Smith: 1/15
  • Texas Christian University: 2/15
  • University of Michigan: 2/1
  • University of North Carolina: 1/15
  • University of Southern California: 1/15
  • University of Wisconsin: 2/1
  • Villanova: 1/15
  • Wash U St. Louis: 1/15
  • Wellesley: 1/15

There are still many viable and solid college options available to you but don’t delay! The colleges listed above are a small sampling of the many and these only represent January and February deadlines. There are many colleges out there with March (i.e. SMU 3/15), April (i.e. Colby Sawyer 4/1) and even May (i.e. Bard College at Simon’s Rock 5/31) deadlines.

late college application deadlines


Though there is still SOME time, in many cases, time isn’t on your side but it is there nonetheless… and so are we. With proven results, we’re here to help you increase your odds of acceptance whether you need assistance leveraging your Common Application or maximizing your essays.

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Early Admissions Trends Class of 2021

This is proving to be an interesting early admissions round. Many schools have received record high applications in the early decision pool. We are assessing college’s released early stats on the hour.

Some of our observations on early admissions trends for the Class of 2021 so far:

More students are applying in the early round than ever before:

  • Princeton reported an 18% rise in early applications.

  • Dartmouth is up 3.7% in early apps since they started ED in 2006. They received a record 1,999 early applications.

  • Cornell reported a 10% increase in early applications with 5,384 received.

  • Columbia reported a 16% increase in early applications with 4,086 received.

  • Duke received 3,516 early applications.

  • Stanford opted not to release their early numbers in a unique and unusual move.

Note the following Class of 2021 early round acceptance rates at some top schools so far:

Several top early action schools have pushed their calendar later:

  • UNC and UVA are releasing decisions after Jan. 1 and UChicago and UMichigan JUST released –we assume this is so that kids who get into ED schools will let them know and rescind their applications.
    • For these early action schools, this helps them ensure their yield will be better, meaning they are sick of losing kids to the SCEA schools or to top ED schools so by moving their date to AFTER those schools announce their ED dates, students will have to (because of ED policies) withdraw from the EA school before they even hear if they get in. That way, these students don’t turn down the EA school. Yield data is protected. Sneaky!

More non-college background kids (AKA 1st generation applicants) are getting a hook in the early round.

  • This means more are applying and the college marketing to these students is working.

Civic involvement matters.

  • Local initiatives and taking action on a local level vs just presenting to colleges with high scores and math contests can have a big impact. The student who lobbied for more rights for the hearing impaired AND presented top scores and GPA/rank stood out much more than the student who was a member of 6 random clubs with limited activity or top scores and GPA/rank.

Asian and Indian students still face tougher odds given the increased number of first generation college students, minority admit and international applicants.

The pool is still over saturated with math-science students. Students with a strong humanities side do better overall.

At the Ivies, most of the class is consumed with hooked students.

  • Of the accepted students in the early round at Harvard this year, 12.6 percent were African American, 8.8 percent Latino, and Native Americans and Native Hawaiians represented 1.1 percent. 8.7 percent were first generation college students.
    • And, we would guess, based on prior years, that at least 15-20 percent were recruited athletes. Legacies are between 10-15 percent depending on the school as well. This makes up the majority of the early accepted pool.
  • Harvard took many from Research Science Institute (RSI, the competitive high school science program at MIT) plus other students with top awards such as Coolidge winners, TASP students, etc. Then, there are the hooked VIP students who had famous and very generous parents.
  • You can see there were few slots left for just all out strong applicants with perfect scores, #1 in their class, etc.

 It’s an exciting time of year for seniors! We’ll continue to monitor the early stats as more are released daily!