It’s the time of year for acceptances – and waitlists. What can you do if you are waitlisted at the law school of your dreams? Here, we offer seven tips to improve your chances of getting off the law school waitlist and ultimately accepted.
- Keep your expectations realistic.
Getting waitlisted is positive, right? Yes, it is. The admissions committee recognizes the strengths in your application. Unfortunately, getting waitlisted can be mentally harder than getting rejected because you find yourself in limbo. What can you expect with no firm “yes” or “no” status? And while there are certainly things you can do to maximize your chances of getting accepted to a top law school off the waitlist, it’s not a sure thing. Often, it comes down to numbers, and there aren’t enough spaces for everyone, even highly qualified candidates.
- Take stock of your weaknesses.
Think about what you believe the weaknesses of your candidacy are before you take any further steps. Be honest, but don’t force weaknesses where they don’t exist. As hard as it is, sometimes the admissions process is about numbers, and there aren’t always as many spots available as there are qualified applicants. With any weaknesses you identify, ask yourself what you have done to mitigate them. Make sure to share this information with the school in your letter of continued interest. Which brings us to our next tip…
- Submit a letter of continued interest.
Everything you do at this point should highlight a recent achievement not already mentioned somewhere in your application, if possible, and reiterate your interest in the particular law school to which you are writing. You don’t want to flood the admissions office with letters or essays, but a well-written letter (sent via email) can address your weaknesses, shine a spotlight on accomplishments, and reiterate your interest in the program. A school will likely take a second look at a candidates who has concrete reasons for attending its program, and schools want to know that the applicants they accept from the waitlist will attend.
Don’t send correspondence that’s sloppy, rambling, or filled with errors. This is your last chance to make a good impression. Don’t blow it by being messy.
- Remember that the waitlist process is a marathon, not a sprint.
The waitlist process generally begins after the deposit deadlines for law schools and can last until the first day of orientation – April to August. There is a reason it is called the waitlist. Be prepared to wait. And patience is a virtue that leads to our next tip…
- Don’t be a stalker.
Do not write or call the admissions office daily – that is the quickest way to move from the waitlist to the stalker list. Once you’ve submitted your letter of continued interest, prepare a schedule of correspondence, reaching out once a month or every three weeks at most, and be sure to follow any guidance the school gives for how, and how often, to be in contact. When you write, be sure to mention anything new that has come up since you filed your LSAC application or since your previous outreach – a new honor, a new internship, a job, a promotion, etc. All correspondence with admissions should be a timely update.
- Consider transferring or taking a year off.
If you didn’t get accepted to your dream school, you might want to consider starting at a different school and transferring. If the LSAT or the timing of your application was this year’s problem, and you can take a year and reapply with a new score or earlier in the cycle, go for it.
While being waitlisted at the school of your dreams can be frustrating, remember that it can also be an opportunity! Reach out for a free consultation to learn how Accepted can help you navigate the waitlist process. We are available to assist you in writing a great letter of continued interest and answering any questions you might have to best position yourself to get accepted!
Dr. Valerie Wherely. Former assistant dean of student affairs and career development at the William Beaumont School of Medicine; worked directly with the dean of the School of Medicine, the associate dean of student affairs, the associate dean of clinical curriculum, and the assistant dean of admissions, as well as with Year 4 students on both residency application review/critique and mock interview preparation
- Get Off That Waitlist!
- The 9 Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make on a Law School Waitlist
- Waitlisted! What Now?, podcast episode
- So You Didn’t Get Into Law School…