Preparing for College

Waitlist Purgatory and Yield

When I was in the Navy (back around the time ships had just switched from oars to sails), I worked on nuclear weapons. Yes, those big gray ships sometimes carry The Bomb. The term "yield" referred there to the explosive power of a weapon. The higher the yield, the greater the blast and resulting destruction. In the college admissions world, however, yield means the percentage of admitted students who actually enroll. Successful "yield years" make the top admissions dogs happy because a good yield year might mean an employment contract extension. Too many bad yield years can mean a career spent on ever-thinning ice.

Speaking of uncomfortable circumstances, how about Waitlist Purgatory? How many of you high school seniors out there are parked on a waitlist or two? My guess is: lots. Why do I call it purgatory? Well, you're not in or out; you're just hanging in limbo waiting to see if your schools can fill all their dorm beds. Face it; the deck is stacked completely in favor of the colleges. You're at the mercy of their management.

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