Law School: Waitlisted? What to do now besides WAIT?

I’ve come to the realization that getting into law school isn’t a simple “yes or no” proposition. In reality there are THREE possible responses to your application; acceptance, rejection, or waitlisted. The third category can be a frustrating limbo where hundreds of applicants find themselves every year. However, on the positive side, the law school admissions committee does see that your background and experience are a good fit for their program. Therefore, now more than ever, it is your time to begin marketing yourself to the Admissions Committee. Sometimes the Admissions Committee is anonymous, but you should still try to make every effort to make contact with the Dean of the Law School or the Dean of Admissions. Try to make contact with as many people as you can in the law school without stepping over boundaries and becoming to forward; use discretion! Unless the school discourages additional contact, it’s recommended you take a pro-active approach.

One way that you can always express your active interest in the school is to send a letter of continued interest. Why bother? Law Schools typically place several hundred candidates on the waitlist, not knowing which ones have a serious interest in attending their program. This is your chance to make their job easier. shares that an admissions officer wants to fill an open spot quickly with one phone call. If given the choice between calling an ambivalent candidate or someone who is eager to attend, he or she will select the enthusiastic candidate every time. You have nothing to lose by selling your enthusiasm and letting them know they are your first choice.

How can you best respond to your Waitlist Letter? Here a few tips you may want to follow.
  1. If you are aware of any deficiencies on your application, now is the time to be savvy about strengthening these points in the months between the initial application and your follow-up communication.
  2. Express your willingness to provide any additional information and if applicable, agree to take additional courses or follow any additional instructions they recommend.
  3. Inform the school of your latest academic and professional achievements. Send them any new material that may improve your chances.
  4. If feasible, visit the school and meet with a member of the admissions committee.
  5. When writing your continued letter of interest, explain how you can be an excellent match for their program. Discuss how their philosophy and approach perfectly fit your educational preferences and goals. Show how your recent activities and initiatives will enhance your contribution to the class.
  6. Seek an additional letter of recommendation from a graduate of the program who can emphasize your fit for the school.
  7. If you are certain you want to attend this school, make it clear that they are your first choice and that you will attend if accepted.
  8. Do NOT mention that you have been accepted to another school. Your goal is to let them see your commitment to their program, not to make them question whether your heart lies elsewhere.
Keep your letter short and sweet, 2 pages max. Focus on what you have accomplished since you first applied, showcase your strengths, and highlight your commitment to attend; this will increase your chances of acceptance!

Contributor: Jenna Shugart

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