Law School Waitlists and What To Do About Them

Law School Expert Blog

Have you been waitlisted at a law school? Are you wondering if it’s a “soft rejection”? Are there things you can do to improve your chances of admission?First, a law school waiting list is not a rejection. Law schools have no problems rejecting the people they want to reject. If they are keeping you in the wings, there is a reason.

What are some reasons you could be waitlisted by a law school?

  1. You may be waitlisted is simply that the law school doesn’t know yet if it has room in the class because of the number of people they’ve already admitted.
  2. Your numbers may be a little low for the school and they want to make sure they wouldn’t be sacrificing the quality of their overall entrance criterion for the class by admitting you.
  3. You may represent an over-represented demographic. For example, if they’ve already admitted five people from your undergraduate school, or the gender balance of the class is distorted.
  4. Law schools may be concerned about your current grades, activities, or lack of work experience.
  5. The law school doubts you’d attend if admitted and they are concerned about their yield/acceptance rate if they admit you outright.

What can you do to improve your chances of admission from a law school waitlist?

Obviously, there isn’t much you can do about reasons 1-3, above, but there is definitely something you can do about 4 and 5.  If you are still in school, send updated transcripts. Send the law schools a letter and/or resume that outlines additional job responsibilities, activities, and accomplishments since submitting your application. This helps address the potential weakness while demonstrating your interest in the school by updating your application with new information.

What can you do to show interest in attending a school?

  1. Visit! Especially if you can drive there and back in a day, you have no excuse not to check it out. I never understand people who don’t go to see the schools they are applying to in their hometowns! The more law schools you see, the more you will know what you like and don’t like. Visiting will help you decide how interested you really are in attending the school. This, in turn, helps you craft a persuasive letter to the school regarding your interest (the not-magical, just as described “letter of continuing interest”).
  2. Connect with someone during your visit – whether in the law school admission office, sitting outside a law school classroom or in a common area, and ask questions.
  3. Attend online webinars/events and watch videos of things going on at the law school that interest you, then let the admission office know you did so and what you appreciated about the event.
  4. Communicate with the school at regular intervals (every 3-4 weeks) to let them know you’re still interested after you draft your initial letter of continuing interest.
  5. Check email regularly and respond to things as soon as you see them. Then reset your communication calendar for another 3-4 weeks.

Drafting a letter of continued interest

The best LOCIs have two main ingredients: A concise and believable reason why you’d attend if admitted, and a statement regarding your level of interest that commits you to submit a deposit and/or withdraw all other acceptances/deposits/waiting lists/applications if admitted.



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