Did a law school put you on a waitlist? What does that mean and what can you do to boost your chances of being admitted to that law school?
Why The Waitlist?
First, why were you waitlisted? Simple Answer: U.S. News & World Report Rankings.
Schools are very concerned with their rankings and an easy way for them to control things from an admission standpoint are
1: watching the LSAT/GPA for admitted students; and
2: keeping acceptance rates low
What this means is that if you are at or below their median LSAT/GPA, they may waitlist you and make you fight your way in to make sure (before having to count you as an “admit”) that you are actually fairly likely to attend their school.
What To Do If You’re Waitlisted
Law schools that have put you on the waitlist need to know that you want to attend. So how do you demonstrate that your attendance is likely? Here are some ways:<
Visit the law school. Schedule a visit through the admissions office and ask to sit in on a class and go on a tour. You may even have the opportunity to meet with someone in the admissions office. This shows your interest and likelihood to attend a school in the geographic region.
Follow up with a thank-you letter reiterating your interest in the school based on what you learned during your visit. Be specific! Use the names of faculty and staff that you met, mention their programs, and generally assure them that you were paying attention.
Write An Update
If you can’t visit, write a letter with an update about what you’ve done since submitting your application. Provide new information that shows you’re still actively working to improve your application quality.
Highlight Your Interest
Write a letter stating the reasons for your specific interest in that law school and highlight things from your background that tie into those interests.
Send An Additional Recommendation
Send an additional Letter of Recommendation if the school will allow it. This letter should be specific about why you would be a great addition to the law school.
Good luck! And thanks so much to everyone who voted on topics – I will try to address the other requests in the next week or so.
I applied to plenty of schools last month (December), and just got my first response- a wait list. Should I schedule a visit and start my *respectful* campaign for acceptance now (January), or wait to hear from the myriad of other schools I applied to before investing in this school? It is one of my top choices, and my LSAT is the 25th percentile.
Hi Emily, Congratulations! If this is one of your top schools then go for it! Get the party started : )
First of all, thank you so much for your wonderful blog! Your tips are so extraordinarily helpful and I don’t know what I would do without them! I just got done listening to the audio version of chapter 13 of your book and it was definitely the best dollar I’ve spent!
I graduated in 2009 with a 3.8 GPA and took the LSAT in December of 2010. I have a history of doing poorly on standardized tests and only received a 143. I decided to still apply to schools and was wait listed at my top choice, American, but did not receive a spot. I took the LSAT again this past December and received a 154 and reapplied, this time only for the part time program. I also now work at the American Civil Liberties Union, which boasts many AU Washington College of Law grads.
Again, I was wait listed. I already sat in on a class last year and, due to limited vacation time at my job, will only be attending a tour and wait list information session. American, as I’m sure you know, has very strict rules for how many times you can contact the school and what kind of additional information you can send. I was wondering if you thought it might be useful to try to see if I can squeeze in a meeting with either someone in admissions or perhaps a professor? For example, I know one of their Con Law professors is a big fan of the ACLU and is actually an expert in my issue area.
I obviously don’t want to be annoying, as I know many other people who read your blog fear, but I want them to know that I would say yes before they could even get a full offer out of their mouths!
Thank you so much!
Rachel, I’m so happy the blog and audio book were helpful to you.
You have to communicate that you are a sure thing and use the connection you have (one time!).
I have a question regarding writing thank you’s to law schools after being wait listed. I took the LSAT in December and scored in the 40th percentile and with my GPA of 3.5 I have been wait listed at several schools. I have decided to take another year off from school and work on my LSAT score so I can be eligible for more scholarships and school opportunities. However, I am wondering should I still send in a thank you letter to the schools that I am interested in reapplying for in another year? Should I mention that I will reapply even if I am not admitted and will continue to work on my LSAT score, or is that information unnecessary and potentially harmful for my admission status in the future?
I don’t think there is any need to tell the law schools about your back up plan.
I have sent legitimate resume updates, as well as transcripts, to schools that I am waitlisted at. I spaced them out and sent about one letter a month. At this point, they know about all of my updates. Is it alright to start sending stand-alone locis at this point, just stating that I am still interested?
Thanks for all of your advice,
How can we find out how long the waitlist for the University that we are waiting for is? I have been waitlisted for the University of Hosuton Law School.
***I meant University of Houston
Maria, it doesn’t matter how long the WL is. Why? Because most people on it will not end up attending, and many people currently holding seats at UH will end up attending elsewhere when waitlists really start moving. What matters is whether UH is likely to choose YOU because they are aware of your strong interest.
Just wanted to say your blog and your book helped tremendously throughout my application process.
I applied to multiple schools with an LSAT score of 151 and GPA of 3.2. My numbers are below even the 25th percentile for most but I have 5 years of work experience at a challenging job in a prestigious company. i received my first letter today from UCONN which is also my first choice. They put me on the waitlist which is honestly better than I thought I would get considering my numbers are lower. I plan on writing a loci, getting another recommender and also offering to pay my seat deposited within 24 hours of being accepted. Is there anything else I should consider doing?
Jb, I’m so glad the book and blog have been helpful to you. I’m excited for you about the waitlist. If you haven’t visited UConn, that’s something you can do. And remember the WL process is a sustained effort, not a barrage… measure out your communications with the school.
I have been accepted to Rutgers with a 50% scholarship but wait listed for Loyola of Chicago. They are ranked identically. Due to family in the area , Chicago is a more attractive option. BUT time is running out. I only applied at the end of May and must find housing near Rutgers soon. How can I make one last attempt at Loyola without visiting the campus. I am currently working in Hong Kong.