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Some Simple Yet Encouraging Math: You still have hope after first-round acceptances!


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Just wanted to toss together a couple numbers because I've heard some people completely give up hope after first round acceptances.

I have heard some say, essentially, "Because I wasn't a first round acceptance, I have almost no chance...I should give up..." etc. I even used to think this way.

Well...here goes:

First, let's assume that you are a "quality" applicant. For these purposes, let's say this puts you in the top third of applicants. Let's assume our school in question took 300 applicants. If the school gives out say...8 acceptances in the first round, that gives you an 8% chance of being one of them. Let's say you don't get a first-round acceptance. Now, most schools will have a waitlist at least as long as the list of initial acceptances. So, now there are 100 minus 8 quality applicants available, bringing your chances of getting waitlisted to 11.5%.

Moral of the story: After initial acceptances, you have a higher chance of getting waitlisted than you did for getting first-round accepted, due to your new pool of competition being minus several quality applicants.

I won't speculate about chances of getting accepted off of the waitlist or anything like that, but if we consider getting waitlisted good news, then we should not be hopeless after first-round acceptances go out. In fact, in many cases, we have better chances of getting waitlisted than accepted.

Edited by TheVineyard
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First, let's assume that you are a "quality" applicant. For these purposes, let's say this puts you in the top third of applicants.


I have no idea what a quality applicant is unfortunately. I have a 4.0 major, 99% verbal, and strong letters, so surely this makes me a quality applicant by just about any metric. And yet, I'm not sure if I'm in the top 100 or not. Some have indicated that something like 50% of applicants are from MA programs. Certainly almost all of them are quality applicants (although 150 applicants from MA programs seems pretty high, assuming 300 applications total).


However, I think you are totally right in saying that one shouldn't get too discouraged. For example, the beast that got accepted to I think it was Duke, Riverside and Davis...he will only go to one. So at least one person on two of those waitlists will get in.



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