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What To Do When You’re Waitlisted For Law School

You’ve been placed on the waitlist. Naturally, you begin to reconsider whether your dreams of going to law school will ever see fruition. Now, you think, your fate is up to the admissions committee. More often than not, however, experts say that taking initiative when on the waitlist can lead to an acceptance.

Ann Levine, a law school consultant and contributor at the National Jurist, recently discussed a few strategies applicants can take once they’re waitlisted.

“If you do absolutely nothing beyond accepting your place on the waiting list, you will not get into the law school,” Levine writes. “That’s all there is to it. You must go above and beyond. You must launch your campaign to get in.”

How Law Schools View the Waitlist

Getting placed on the waitlist doesn’t necessarily mean you’re less qualified than those who got accepted. Often times, Levine says, a law school has specific needs when admitting people off the waitlist.

“For example, if more women sent deposits than men, the school may need to balance out the class this way,” Levine writes. “If the LSAT numbers for the entering class are looking strong but the GPAs are looking lackluster, they may go to people with strong GPAs. They might see that they have too many people from a certain undergrad school and not enough from another, or by geographic region, or there is room to expand upon ethnic diversity.”

Taking Initiative

Once you’ve accepted your place on the waitlist, Levine says it’s wise to schedule a campus tour.

“I had a client who was absolutely dying to go to law school and he didn’t care where so long as he could practice law one day,” she writes. “He flew himself across the country to visit a law school where he was waitlisted, where he’d been told he would have ten minutes with the assistant director of admissions. The ten minutes turned into an hour, and two days later he was admitted.”

Establishing a professional relationship with an admission officer may help to convey your interest in the law school.

“Communicate to the admissions office that you remain interested in their program and tell your top choice program you would commit to attend if accepted,” Michelle Kim Hall, a contributor at U.S. News, writes. “Establish a respectful relationship with admissions staff through an on-campus visit, if possible, and a letter of continuing interest that provides meaningful updates to your application.”

Some Schools Accept Updated Grades and Scores

In addition to expressing your interest in the school through campus visits, it may be helpful to submit improved grades and test scores if your school allows.

“As you receive new (superb) grades and/or honors and/or promotions at work, or take on a new job or leadership position, email the admissions office with the news,” Levine writes. “If you feel very confident in your ability to raise your LSAT score by more than 2 points, then consider a June retake. You would probably still be on the waiting list in June, and improving your LSAT score could make the difference.”

Taking these initiatives can help improve your chances of acceptance off the waitlist. However, at the end of the day, the decision is ultimately in the hands of the admissions committee.

“As much as you’d prefer a definitive response, remember that admissions committees only wait-list applicants that they genuinely want to attend their school,” Hall writes. “If space allows, you may end up on campus come fall.”

Sources: National Jurist, U.S. News