Waitlisted, or just waiting? What to do now.

We’re hearing from a lot of students who have submitted their applications and now find themselves either waiting to hear back or finding out they’ve been wait listed. Here are some helpful tips and pointers to help you position yourself in the best manner for admission and aid!

If you’re still waiting for an admission decision…
You are NOT alone! Many students tell us they have been waiting weeks or months. What is going on? It could mean:

  • The school is essentially “waitlisting” you, but not calling it that, by waiting to respond to you until they see the rest of the applicant pool.
  • The admissions office is understaffed or inundated with applications.
  • You applied later in the cycle and a backlog of applications must be reviewed before yours.

What can you do?

  • IF it has been at least 4-6 weeks or whatever time frame the school has indicated as their response time, reach out and gently inquire about anticipated time frames for a decision. Reiterate your interest in the school.
  • Follow the law school on Twitter; many deans have taken to updating applicants about expected decisions there.
  • Don’t: (1) Complain about their slowness or criticize the school’s process; (2) tell them you’ve already heard back from everyone else or from “better” schools; or (3) give the school a deadline. Sometimes patience is key.

If you’ve been waitlisted…Understand what this means: that you are an admissible candidate but the school needs to hit its institutional goals before they can admit you. Institutional goals could be LSAT/GPA related but could also be related to balancing the class with regard to gender, diversity, in state/out of state, age, etc. Very few schools can accurately predict how many applicants–and with what qualities–they will be pulling from a waitlist. When the school tells you they don’t know, it is very likely true.

What can you do?

  • Follow the school’s directions carefully. Do not email to ask them what to do after the school sends very specific instructions. Some law schools will ask you to confirm that you want to be on their waitlist–if you don’t do so, you will not be considered.
  • Update your application by sending an updated resume, a new recommendation, or a letter or email expressing continued interest in that school (sometimes called a LOCI, or letter of continued interest).
  • Stay in touch–no more than once every week or two–to demonstrate your interest in the school. IF the school is your top choice, then say so.
  • Continue to make other plans. No one should proceed by “expecting” to be pulled from a waitlist…even if this does happen, it can be anytime up to the day classes begin. You need to start making other plans if you haven’t heard by April or so.
  • Don’t demand a decision right now…you may get one but it will not be the one you want.

Be “pleasantly persistent” as we move into late March and April, which are prime decision-making times for schools and for entering students. And always remember that professionalism and good manners go a long way in this business!