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Waitlist Calling + Stevie Wonder = Good Day

Posted by on Thursday, May 8, 2008 in Waitlist.

Quick note today to let you in on a rare day in our office. As I mentioned yesterday, we’ve been calling students who are being admitted from the waitlist. That means that we as admissions officers get to hear the reaction we rarely ever are privy to when students open their admit letter. We’d have a couple of occurrences today where a couple of us would get together in the hall and share stories of students screaming with excitement, a couple of “are you serious’s?!” and a ton of “OMG’s!” It’s never about us throughout any of this whole process, anybody on our staff would tell you that. But when compared to days when our office is flooded with angry calls over the decisions that we’ve made, days devoted solely to good news are happy ones indeed.

Plus my drive home was punctuated by a high volume airing of old school Stevie Wonder. “I Wish.” It doesn’t get any better than that.


  • Anonymous

    May 8th, 2008

    Oh, that’s funny. On my drive home I rocked out to “call me” by Blondie. How fitting.

  • Thom

    May 8th, 2008

    Good song . . .

  • Anonymous

    May 9th, 2008

    Thom, your post here smells of “us” and “me” instead of “you”. I presume many of the students who visit this blog are those who did not receive that “call”. How many students did you or your office call? How many do you intend to call in the next few days?

  • Anonymous

    May 9th, 2008

    I was actually one of those OMG’s. I have to say, having Thom call was even more exciting than a letter could ever have been. It was so personal and during our conversation I truly felt that Vanderbilt is as excited to have me as I am to be part of the class of 2012.

  • Brad

    May 9th, 2008

    Any day with Stevie Wonder is a good day!

  • Anonymous

    May 9th, 2008

    Congratulations on being one of the OMGs. How about sharing some of your credentials here? This may be of help to others who have not been so lucky.

  • Anonymous

    May 9th, 2008

    I thought VU was doing great service until I read this in today’s NY Times:
    Top Colleges Dig Deeper in Wait Lists for Students
    Published: May 9, 2008
    In what may be a happy surprise for thousands of high school seniors, Harvard plans to offer admission to 150 to 175 students on its waiting list, and Princeton and the University of Pennsylvania each expect to take 90, creating ripples that will send other highly selective colleges deeper into their waiting lists as well.

    “This year has been less predictable than any recent year,” said Eric J. Kaplan, interim dean of admissions at Penn, adding that when one college in the top tier goes deep into its wait list, others are affected. “We all need to fill our classes and replace students who have been taken off wait lists at other institutions. The wait-list activity could extend for a significant time.”

    Although colleges turn to wait lists to fill out their classes, it is unusual for the most selective to go so deep, college officials say.

    For high-school students graduating in an unusually large class and for colleges trying to shape a freshman class, this has been an unusually challenging year, with the changes in early-admissions programs and the broad expansion of financial aid at many elite universities.

    Right up until the May 1 deadline for students to respond to admissions offers, colleges have been unsure what to expect.

    “Our class is coming in exactly the way we wanted it to, fitting into the plan we had to get to a class of 1,240,” said Janet Rapelye, dean of admission at Princeton, which, like Harvard and the University of Virginia, eliminated early admissions this year.

    Ms. Rapelye said that with such a big change in policy, it was difficult to predict results, so “we deliberately aimed to have a slightly smaller group.”

    In an e-mail message sent on Thursday to colleagues at dozens of other institutions and passed on to The New York Times, William Fitzsimmons, the Harvard College dean of admissions, said, “Harvard will admit somewhere in the range of 150 to 175 from the waiting list, possibly more depending on late May 1 returns and other waiting list activity.”

    AHarvard spokesman said the college had accepted fewer students this year to avoid overcrowding the freshman class.

    The Yale dean of admissions, Jeffrey Brenzel, said there would be about 45 wait-list offers this week and probably another round later this month.

    Even colleges that had more than filled their freshman classes were wondering how many students would melt away if admitted off waiting lists elsewhere.

    “We’re over target right now, so we’re in good shape,” said Rick Shaw, the Stanford dean of admissions. “But I’m keeping a small group on the wait list, because I think there’ll be some impact of wait-list activity at other schools.”

    At Dartmouth, Maria Laskaris, the dean of admissions, said although Dartmouth had more than enough accepted students committing, she was “in a holding pattern, because it depends on what other schools do.”

    “If they go deep into their wait lists,” Ms. Laskaris said, “there’s a domino effect that has an impact on all of us.”

    Amherst College offered admission to 15 students on the wait list Wednesday and expected to make offers to about 10 more. Swarthmore and Pomona planned to take 15 to 20 students from the wait list, admissions officials said.

    At Bowdoin College, William Shain said he was slightly over the 480-student target, “but not so much that going to the waiting list is out of the question, if we lost a lot to other schools.”

    Some high school guidance counselors said the wait-list activity this year seemed to have occurred especially quickly.

    “In the last few years, more and more kids have been getting put on wait lists,” said Margaret Loonam, assistant principal at Ridgewood High School in New Jersey. “Now we’re seeing more get off the wait lists and earlier. It used to be a formal letter.

    “But this year, it’s still early May and we’ve had a kid who got a call at home at night saying, ‘You’re off the wait list, do you want to come?’ We’ve already had kids get off waitlists at N.Y.U., B.U., Fairfield and Quinnipiac.”

    At the University of Virginia, which also ended early admissions this year, John Blackburn, the dean of admission, said because he had received 3,200 deposits for a target of 3,170 freshman, he might not go to the wait list, unless an unusual number of students defect to other colleges.

    Mr. Blackburn said he considered the move from early admissions a success because it seemed that, as hoped, it had brought in more low-income students.

    Harvard, which ended early admissions this year and greatly expanded its financial aid to middle-income families, sent out offers of admissions to 1,948 students March 31, for a freshman class that is to number 1,650. Harvard would not say how many students had accepted the admissions offers.

    Come on Thom get real.

  • Anonymous

    May 9th, 2008

    I enjoy this blog because it’s fun and it’s an inside look at admissions….some of the posters on here should relax. I’m in the Thom and Brad fan club.

  • The Underdog

    May 10th, 2008

    Ken said (and Thom recently verified) that the number of students accepted from the wait list will be somewhere in the middle of how many they took two years ago and how many they took last year. Well, according to my calculations, that means they should accept around 85 people.

  • Anonymous

    May 11th, 2008

    I think that you guys have done a great job with the admissions blog and keeping everyone up to date. As I said on an earlier post, you have opened up a process which remains very closed at many schools.

    It’s a tough year for everyone who’s applied to college (and obviously it has stressed out several of the posters here), but you have humanized the process a bit, so thank you.

    And I love Stevie Wonder.