First off, a waitlist is NOT a rejection. Many students get in off the waitlist and there has been a recent trend in higher numbers of students being waitlisted (and likewise being pulled from the waitlist). Things to keep in mind if you have been waitlisted:
- Is this a school you really want to attend? If not, don’t waste your time and don’t waste the school’s time by remaining on the waitlist. If you have been waitlisted at your one of your top schools for which you would drop everything to attend, then it is worth staying on the waitlist to show your continued interest. However, if you have no intention on attending the school if you were accepted, then it is better to remove yourself from the waitlist since you will be taking another applicant’s spot on the list. Don’t just remain on the waitlist in the hopes of being accepted just to say that you were accepted at the school. Be considerate of other applicants and truly reflect on your interest in the school at this point.
- What you can do to show continued interest. If you are waitlist at one of your top schools, make sure to follow the instructions the school provides you exactly. The school will likely require you to write a Letter of Continued Interest (LOCI). If this is required of you, explain to the school about why you especially want to go to attend and what makes you want to receive a J.D. from that specific school! Now is the time to be as school-specific as possible, so that you can show the school that you don’t want to just go to law school generally, but that you want to go to their school. If you are having a hard time expressing why you want to attend that specific school, then you might not really want to attend that school in the end. It can be beneficial to send additional Letters of Recommendation, resume updates, or emails of continued interest, but make sure you are giving them something different and/or new than what they already have. Do not overload the admissions office with pesky daily emails and mailings, which might hurt, rather that advance your chances of being accepted off the waitlist.
- Consider this a “second bite at the apple.” Admission offices do not want to waste time on an applicant that has not shown that they want to attend that school; they want to offer as few offers as possible in order to fill a seat. Do not worry about why you are on the list but what you can do to get accepted off of it. The “second bite” is showing the admissions office that you actually want to be there – allow them to determine that there is a high likelihood that you would accept their offer. Therefore, as previously mentioned, if you would not accept an offer, do not waste the school’s time.
- The nature of the school’s waitlist. Does the school have a preferred waitlist or not? Some schools rank their waitlist and may tell candidates where they stand. If this is the case, if is a fair question to ask how deep they went into their waitlist from the previous year. You have a right to know the likelihood of being accepted off the waitlist, but, that being said, every admission cycle is different. Most schools, however, do not rank their waitlist. Look at the school’s yield range, if it is lower they will likely pull from their waitlist.
- Stay positive and be patient! Hearing back from a school when you are waitlisted can be a lengthy process and can be very stressful, but stay positive and remain patient during this process!
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