When you are placed on a wait list, most law schools will request you to return a form confirming your desire to remain on the wait list. While it is important that you take this step, merely returning the form is not sufficient in order to be admitted from the wait list at many schools. Law schools often will not admit someone from the wait list unless the applicant has advocated for his or her admission in some way. Note, however, that some law schools specifically instruct applicants placed on the wait list not to submit any supplementary materials or take any steps in an effort to gain admission. If you are placed on a wait list, it will be your responsibility to determine what a school permits from wait-listed applicants.
Assuming a school does permit you to advocate on your own behalf, consider taking one of the following steps:
- Submit One or More Letters of Continuing Interest (LOCI)
Letters of continuing interest are one-page business-style letters in which you may (1) update the school on relevant information post-dating your application (new academic awards, employment promotions, fall semester grades, etc.) and (2) explain in greater detail why you want to attend this particular law school. It is probably intuitive that updating the school on relevant, recent developments of note may help you stand out in comparison to others on the wait list. The importance of talking about why you want to attend that particular law school or, phrased differently, why the law school is a good fit for you, may be less intuitive. In most cases, law schools want to extend an offer of admission only to wait list applicants who are very likely to accept that offer. By articulating the basis for your desire to attend the school, you are evidencing that you have devoted thought and research in your decision to apply to this particular school and are therefore more likely to accept an offer. Even more useful, if you are sure that you would accept an offer from the school, say so explicitly in the LOCI. It is appropriate to send multiple LOCIs if you remain on the wait list for an extended period. Sending one per month is not unreasonable and allows you to assure the school that nothing has occurred in the interim that impacts your desire to attend.
- Submit an Additional Letter of Recommendation
Many schools will accept one or more additional letters of recommendation from applicants placed on the wait list. If your school does accept them, remember that academic letters are more helpful to admissions committees.
- Submit Any Optional Essays Suggested By the School
If a law school allows you to submit an optional essay, you should take the time to write a strong essay. It helps to convey the seriousness of your interest and gives the admissions committee another writing sample to evaluate.
- Set Up a Formal Visit
Visiting a school conveys the seriousness of your interest in the school. In many cases, it may also lead to face time with an admissions representative, which can be helpful.