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Wait-List Winners Create College Chaos

Trading up, down the line.

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High-school seniors usually know their collegiate fates by now. But this year, changes in early-admission policies and a stalled economy have meant that even top colleges are letting in kids off the wait list. It’s left both kids and schools unsettled. The wait-list purgatory “is very hard to watch,” says Ira Miller, dean of Ramaz Upper School on the Upper East Side. At Poly Prep Country Day School in Brooklyn, eleven kids were accepted off wait lists, and ten decided to trade up—leaving a cascade of open positions for others down the line. “Counselors are very much in contact with admissions people to see which colleges may need students,” says Michael Muska, director of college counseling there. But some students don’t budge. Brooklyn Tech senior Aria Dorsey was accepted from Harvard’s wait list but stuck with Cornell. “It’s kind of fun to say that you rejected the top Ivy—almost more fun than saying you got in,” she says.

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