Don't Make This Common Wait List Mistake


Dear Dartmouth Law Office of Admissons:

My friend, Ramsay Bolton, just withdrew as an admitted student and will be matriculating to another law school. I realize this opens up a place at Dartmouth Law, and believe I would be a great fit for your incoming class. DLS has always been my top choice and, if admitted for this spot, I would immediatly deposit.

Most Sincerely, Theon Greyjoy

A couple of things.

  1. Just about every [actually exisiting] law school will get a letter like this, and many will get scores of them. If the school is very customer service
    oriented, they may feel compelled to even reply. But...

  2. It's not how the wait list works, not even close. For starters, every school will admit, in a data-cenric fashion based on previous cycles, many more students than they will matricuate. So a spot hasn't magically appeared. Furthermore, WLs aren't ranked (they are likely placed in tiers, however) because they are most often used to address needs. See this blog post on that.

If Ramsey had a 173, and you a 168 LSAT, and the school needs the 173, you might be the last person from whom they want to hear, and you may even buy yourself a quick turnaround in the wrong direction (a denial). If you are below both medians, or a splitter with a number they already have, the key to getting off the WL is actually often STAYING ON the WL (a counter-intuitive fact that can be really helpful) until things are locked in numbers-wise, then impressing them with your professionalism in the process. This letter, that schools get every year, does the exact opposite of that. Don't send a raven, if you are followng our Game of Thrones theme. Just hold tight when Ramsay gives them the axe.