Waitlisted, Not Denied

Few applicants expect to be waitlisted—not admitted, not denied, but may be considered for admissions after May 1. The disappointment is palpable. 

Then, the neurosis gets loud, some version of: “Why was so-and-so (usually someone believed to be less qualified) admitted and I wasn’t?”, “Does this [being waitilisted] mean that I won’t be accepted anywhere else?”—followed by the “shoulda’s” and “woulda’s”, like, “I shoulda written about____,”or  “Maybe if I woulda joined _____ in sophomore year, I woulda been accepted.” 

Yet, truthfully, as Jon Boeckenstedt, Vice Provost Enrollment Management at Oregon State University, states:

Disappointment and frustration are inherent to the college admissions process, yet, every year, every applicant hopes, believes they will be spared the subjectivity of the college admissions process, not by luck, but deserving of such exemption. (Such a misguided impression is a natural human folly, talked about in all of history and religion, the stuff leading to whole civilizations failing—hubris.) 

Being waitlisted (or even denied) ends up being a lesson in humility, yet often begins as the seeming smarting of humiliation. Thus, how a student responds to a waitlist can continue defining their character. Since at the end of the day, a waitlist is a second chance to attend a university one originally regarded as a “match” (thus precipitated submitting an application), someplace a student believed they’d discover more about their aptitude and define their life’s purpose.

For over twenty years, Creative Marbles experts have moderated family conversations regarding complex educational decisions, lending our expertise to reduce the risk of malinvestment. For more information, contact us.

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About Jill Yoshikawa, Ed M, Partner of Creative Marbles Consultancy

Jill Yoshikawa, EdM, Harvard ’99, a seasoned, 25 year educator and consultant, is meticulous in helping clients navigate all aspects of the educational experience, no matter the level of complexity. She combines educational theory with experience to advise families, schools and educators. A UCSD and Harvard graduate, as well as a former high school teacher, Jill works tirelessly to help her clients succeed.
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