Most students honestly prefer a rejection letter rather than getting a waitlist letter. A rejection letter hurts more, ensuring closure. A waitlist letter has no closure and much waiting.
Waitlist or Preferred Lists
First, let’s understand what wait-listing means. Most waitlisted applicants have good credentials for admission but if a space opens up, you could join. Everyone has a backup plans. Most schools accurately predict the percentage of admitted applicants choosing other schools and hence admit more students. If students choosing to matriculate are low, the school digs into its waitlist to ensure a well-rounded and diverse 1L class. How deep they reach depends on complex variables that are impossible to predict in advance. Some law schools have a category named the preferred category for applicants who have been waitlisted, who they wish to admit, but are unable to do now. This tends to be shorter than the regular waitlist. If on a preferred waitlist, your numbers are above the school’s median. If expecting your rejection, why bother losing a seat? Yield is an important metric in determining the school’s ranking. Nobody wants to be someone else’s backup plan. Waitlist applicants are considered very late in the admissions cycle, just prior to classes starting. If sure about your waitlist school above others, do communicate that desire emphatically.
What to Do if Waitlisted
Do What the School Tells You
With a notification of waitlist status, the school tells you are expected to do pending a final decision on your application. Completing an enclosed questionnaire or writing an essay about why they are your first choice, are normal. If they request an email once a month to show continuing interest, or if they tell to just wait, do it. Respect their wishes though it is hard to do so. Follow their instructions to the letter. But if no specific instructions are given, there are a few things you can do to ensure that you continue to remain in the reckoning for a vacant seat.
Send a Letter of Continued Interest
In this letter, you have to express enthusiasm and your desire to attend this particular school, and emphasize exactly why you would be a valuable asset to that institute’s program. You should research and look up the school before posting the letter, and speak knowledgeably. Do not just simply regurgitate all their rankings or classes, they already not it! Mention why you wish to attend the school, and tell them in a clear way.
Update Your File
Notice of prizes, scholarships, new grades, fellowships, or jobs must be communicated to keep in touch with the school.
Keep in Contact
Every year, a number of admitted applicants confirm at a certain school, and withdraw their enrollment intents during the summer, creating vacant seats which the school had filled already. The importance of keeping in touch with the school throughout summer, for these vacated seats if they know your interest remains strong.
If the school gives no directions about conveying your interest if waitlisted, some brief, factual e-mails with expressions of interest, are useful. But avoid daily emails and weekly phone-calls. Put yourself in the school’s shoes and control yourself. Seek impartial advice and if they tell you to cool down, do so, with no questions asked.