I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.
One year ago, I was in your shoes. I was on the edge of my seat, getting ready to run/drive/fly to Princeton and show them that I was even more amazing in person and a guaranteed investment, if they would admit me off the waitlist. Luckily for me, it worked. Unfortunately, not every story ends this way. This post is for you who is stuck in Waitlist Limbo.
Waitlist Limbo is not a bad place to be: you have one foot in the world of ivy and prestige, and the other foot still attached to the ground. But this place provides little certainty and high anxiety. You are one of the lucky few who made it onto the waitlist, but now you must decide among the other graduate programs awaiting you before the April deadline. And you will probably have to make a huge enrollment deposit. (I wished my deposit well before bidding it good-bye forever…)
If you are frantically debating what to do, reach out to John Templeton. He means it when he says that he is here for you. As you are deciding how to proceed, ask him for advice. Regardless of how you or Princeton decides, we would love to help make you a stronger candidate for future opportunities. And no matter what happens next with your admission status, it is not a question of your worth, and neither is being rejected.
Everything that has gotten you to this point—your work experience, your academic accomplishments, your dedication to service, the communities and people that you live in and love—everything that you are is valuable. You would not be on the waitlist if Princeton did not see something special it wanted to safeguard. And if you are rejected or already have been, you are no less amazing and ambitious than you were before you decided to apply.
I write this post as a lucky one who got in off the waitlist. Every day I am grateful for the opportunities to meet world-class leaders in public policy, the tightknit community, and the alumni network that stretches far outside this institution. But every day I see amazing people doing amazing work beyond these walls too. What separates us is merely circumstance. Where life takes us is a function of luck, passion, and a million other factors, but in the end, we end up where we are supposed to be. I can’t wait to meet each of you, whether at the School or as a fellow leader in public service.