On Hold? Law School Application Limbo….

Law School Expert Blog

It can be confusing – you’re not on a waitlist, you’re not just told a simple “yes” or “no.”  When your law school application is being “held” it really just means more waiting. There can be a lot of reasons for this. The primary reason is that the school is waiting to get a sense of whether they’ve admitted too many or too few people at this point. In that way, it’s like a wait list. Therefore, you need to decide whether to pursue admission in the same way you would if you were waitlisted.

Here are some things you can do if your application is “on hold.”

1.  If it’s feasible to arrange a campus visit, do so. Call the admission office and arrange a tour and classroom visit, and see if it’s possible to speak with an admission counselor.

2. You should absolutely update your application with accomplishments and activities since submitting your application.

3.  Let the law school know that you appreciate that your application remains under review.

4. If you neglected to respond to an optional essay prompt for that application, you may wish to submit one at this time.

5. If you only submitted 2 letters of recommendation and no evaluations, and the school accepts more, consider adding a new perspective to your application through this outlet.


32 Responses

  1. Hello Ms. Levine,

    I’m curious if you know why law schools use rolling admissions, other than to help them avoid a glut of paperwork at one time. Rolling admissions seems unfair. If I understand correctly, if two students with the same statistics apply, the one who applies earlier has a better chance of being accepted. Granted, students with the same or similar numbers face disparate outcomes all of the time. But why should their time of submission matter so long as both applications meet the deadline? Not everyone has a chance to uproot one’s life to apply to law schools earlier rather than later. And if a snafu occurs during the admissions process, depending on the school and the individual student, the best course of action may be to delay matriculation a whole year.

    In my case, I made an unfortunate error on the LSAT and had to wait two months to re-take the test. I was so disturbed upon realizing my error not so much because of what I had done, but because I thought that I would have to wait another entire year to begin school.

    With all the controversy about unfairness in the LSAT, unfair admissions criteria, etc., nobody talks about the timetable.

    1. Hi Will,
      I definitely hear your frustration. I think this is one of those things that isn’t going to change. Administratively, it would be a nightmare. If you are qualified for a school, you won’t be rejected because your application is late in the cycle. But it is harder to get into a reach school at that time of year. And, yes, snafus happen. But that’s why you should apply early – to eliminate the danger of snafus causing delays. I think people who apply earlier and are ready earlier would argue that they should have some advantage. Many people in your situation, especially those who find they aren’t getting into schools that they feel they should be getting into, do decide to wait a year and apply early for the following cycle because they will find themselves with more options.

  2. Hi Ann:

    I got waitlisted at a couple of school including my first choice Pace. I have a 150 lsat and 3.2 gpa. I visited the campus, spoke to some of the admissions people, wrote a LOCI and sent an updated resume. two days later my file went complete and a decision mailed.

    now, could i possibly be rejected from the waitlist? just seems like the letter worked to have them re-review my file, but could they have decided to just reject me early on or something? I havent received a decision letter in the mail yet but the suspense is killing me.

  3. Hi Ann,

    I have a few questions regarding what you stated above in your post.

    Do you recommend updating your application and expressing continued interest in a letter, or is it better that they receive an email (faster)? Would an updated resume be superfluous as an attachment or enclosure? Is it better to write separate notes indicating continued interest and an update on accomplishments?

    Eagerly awaiting your reply,

  4. Can a new test score change anything? For example I have a 176, but I am seriously considering taking the Dec/Jan test even though I already finished applying because I believe I am or will be placed in application limbo for a lot of schools (My cumulative GPA is low and my transcript is irregular).

    1. Keith, It is really hard to raise your score from a 176… You’re already at the top of the LSAT scale. If your applications are strong, I’d sit back and wait to see what happens unless you are very sure that you are likely to raise your score.

      1. 90% of my apps have been under review for 3 months or more (only 1 accept and 1 WL thus far out of over 20+ applications). My PS, LORs, Evaluations are all strong, but my GPA is irregular (3.0 for 3 years, 6 year hiatus for business, 4.0 for 1.5 years). I’m 90% confident I can get a 180 especially since my 176 was actually a 179 except for one huge bubbling error. Main problem is that it would have to be the Feb. test which is 2 months away. Would you recommend (a) maintain status quo, (b) ask schools to delay their decision until my final test in Feb, (c) just take 3rd test and wait for results prior to notifying schools, (d) become a doctor/comedian/hobo.

        1. Kieth, definitely not option (d). Wait and hear back from schools. Your LSAT shows you can hack it in law school. It’s not like you do better in law school by going from a 99th percentile LSAT score to a 99th percentile LSAT score. Hang on to what you have and just be patient…

          1. Thank you for your advice. I will heed your words as they offer the most comfort. Yet, I still believe option (d) is equally viable if not more so in these troubling times as Ken Jeong is my role model.

  5. Dear Ann,

    I appreciate the great information provided by your website! I have quick question. My early decision application for ASU was placed on hold for the regular decision applicant pool. The letter did not include any request for additional information nor any contact information (email or phone number) to reach them with questions. It did not ask for any additional data but simply stated that my application was still in review and that they will finalize my decision once it may be evaluated in relation to the full 2016 applicant pool. Since they didn’t provide me with any direct contact information or explicit request for more accomplishments, I am wondering what my next steps should be. It is a first choice.

  6. Hi,

    I applied to several schools on new years and have yet to hear back from anyone, all my apps are still under review. My lsat score and gpa score are not very competitive tbh. I’m wondering if it would make sense to send a letter of continued interest at this point or should I wait a couple of weeks more….

  7. Hi Ann,

    I applied to ASU for early decision with a 3.85 gpa and 149 LSAT. Although my LSAT score is low, I was confident with my personal statement, resume, and letters of recommendation. I just heard back today that my application has been held with the regular application pool, and I am unsure what my next steps should be. ASU is my first choice, and I’m not sure if being held means being waitlisted. Do you have any advice regarding what I can do to ensure that I will be accepted? Do you think my chances are slim? Thank you.

      1. Hi Ann,

        Do you have any advice on what I can do in the meantime to show ASU that I am fully committed in attending? Do you think with my numbers I have a chance of being admitted?

        Thank you!

        1. Jessica- I am in the exact same boat as you. Same numbers same ASU response. I am not sure what to do at this point either. Is contacting them a bad idea since it’s not a wait list and just a hold?

  8. Hi Ann,

    I applied to my first choice, University of Florida, as soon as the application cycle began around the second week of September. As of a few weeks ago, I was placed on hold. Should I contact the school and express continued interest or wait until the beginning of next year? I have visited the school and completed all optional essays/letter of recommendation requirements.

  9. Hi Ann,

    I have been accepted into Florida State law with a scholarship but put on hold at the University of Florida. I followed up with UF with a campus tour and a LOCI stating that it was my top choice for law school. When should i expect my hold decision to be re-reviewed? FSU law needs a decision answer from me by April 16, 2018 and I’m worried that UF won’t sent me a decision letter by then.

  10. Hello,

    I am a 38 year old female and mother of two who has worked as a paralegal for over 16 years. I took the lsat twice several years ago and didn’t do so well. My last score was a 141. However,
    I submitted my application back in March complete with PS, resume and everything. Since then, i have had several great conversations about the process with the admin office and even scheduled a tour of the school and the clinic I was interested in and even spoke with the dean of admissions. My application is currently being held for review until my June lsat come out in a couple of days but…. I don’t know how I did due to loss of pregnancy before exam.

    I called the school after and verbally expressed my continued interest and I was informed that there were notes on my file about my visit but I would like to know: what should I do now?

    Dean expressed to me I had a strong resume, work experience and the traditional student thing going for me although he did mention raising my LSAT could help. Any suggestions?

  11. Hi Ann,

    I’m still waiting to hear back from one school I applied to exactly 3 months ago. Should I follow up and see what’s going on? My LSAT is slightly below their 25th percentile and my GPA is also low. However, I have good softs as a military veteran.

      1. I am in a very similar boat but applied ED in November. My LSAT score is below median and my GPA is median. They referred me to regular decision and just sent me a hold letter today. I went to visit the school at the beginning of March and have already sent a letter of continued interest with updates. Is it worth sending another letter of continued interest? I wouldn’t have anything impressive to add but could outline my current valuable experiences at a Summer internship that I am doing at a law firm. Is there anything I should do or is it time to just wait?

  12. Hello,

    I submitted my applications on September 1st and to this day, it’s still under review.

    A week ago, I informed law schools that I got a new part-time job in addition to my full-time job and I was told that it would be added to my files, that’s all.

    At this point, should I give up? Since I don’t see any progress.

  13. Hi Anne,
    I was waitlisted at my top school for the second consecutive year. Last year I applied with a 149 LSAT in April and was WL’d. This year I applied with a 155 in early December and was placed on the waitlist again. I reached out to the dean of admissions asking where/to who I can send a LOCI, if they were having an open house this spring I could attend, etc. He told me not to send a LOCI and that there was no open house. He told me accepting a spot on the waitlist is all they need me to do to show that I am interested.
    Last year, I reached out to the former dean of admissions and she encouraged me to write a LOCI and visit the school.
    I am not quite sure what to think of this!

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