Career Exploration and Development

Decision Process

Law school applicants are usually either accepted, denied, or wait-listed. Some Law schools place applicants on ‘‘hold’’ or ‘‘reserve’’ prior to reaching a decision and notify candidates of this status.

Applications of those on hold or reserve are reconsidered at a later date, usually before the files of those who have been wait-listed. Deposits may be due before you hear from all schools.

If this is a financial burden for you, contact schools that accept you to explain your situation and ask if they would be willing to extend the deposit deadline.

Placed on Reserve or Wait-Listed

If you have been wait-listed or placed on reserve, there are several things you can do to improve your chances of admission:

  • Write a letter to the director of admissions to inform them of your strong interest in the school and to provide an update on your activities since you submitted your application. 
  • If the school is your first choice, state that you will attend if accepted.
  • If you are a senior, inform the school of accomplishments since you applied, for example, that you have completed your thesis or you received an award at Commencement or other notable accomplishments. 
  • If you are currently working, describe your professional responsibilities and other relevant activities in which you are engaged; include an updated resume. 
  • Send an additional recommendation from a professor or employer. 
  • Visit the law school to demonstrate your strong interest; contact the admissions office to arrange for a tour and to sit in on a class or two. Some admissions officers will agree to meet with applicants, but generally these discussions are not evaluative. 

Deciding Between Offers

If you have received several offers that please you, it can be hard to make a decision. The following actions may help you determine which school is the best fit for you.

  • Visit or re-visit the law schools that you are deciding between—even if you have toured them before, you will see them differently through an admitted student’s eyes. 
  • Make an effort to meet faculty and staff at the law schools you are considering, and speak with students to get their perspective on factors important to you, such as accessibility of faculty, competitiveness of students, career services, assistance of library personnel, etc. 
  • Consider cost and financial aid awards. 
  • If you are deciding between a school that is highly regarded and one that interests you but is less prestigious, keep in mind that more highly ranked schools will, in general, provide more employment opportunities after graduation. However, rankings do not tell the whole story—before making a decision, research hiring practices in the geographic area and type of practice that interests you. Law School Transparency is a good source for this employment information. 
  • Consult with the pre-law advisor for help weighing your options. 
  • Once you have reached a final decision on which school you will attend, notify schools that acceppted you so that they can offer your place to someone else.

Browse Law School Transparency

Reapplying at a Future Date 

If you are not accepted at a law school you would like to attend, consider improving your candidacy and reapplying at future date. Taking the following steps can help improve your admissions chances.

  • Re-take the LSAT if you feel that you can improve your score. 
  • Apply early in the admissions cycle.
  • Obtain additional letters of recommendation.
  • Revise and refine your personal statement and other essays.
  • Work for a few years in a field that demonstrates your interest in and aptitude for a career in the law.