As we head into the thick of decision season, law school admissions offices are beginning to send out the inevitable rejection waves. Rejection hurts—we've podcasted about it before with world-renowned psychologist Guy Winch. But rejection is also a fundamental human experience, and we all feel its effects sometimes.
When we first started our podcast, Status Check with Spivey, we weren't sure how it would go or if anyone would listen. We wanted to include two components: value-added law school admissions advice, and more general well-being/mental health advice for our potential audience of applicants (who are often going through some of the most stressful and anxiety-producing times of their lives so far). But while we can speak to admissions topics with the benefit and insights of over 250 years of law school admissions experience across our firm, we aren't psychology or wellness experts—so we decided to reach out to people who are.
What followed was rejection after rejection after rejection. We still get them. But we also know that it's better to get a rejection than to have not tried at all, and so we keep trying. It's that attitude of keeping trying that has allowed us to have a number of incredibly brilliant and insightful individuals on our podcast such as Guy Winch, Gabor Maté, Terry Real, Kristin Neff, and Anna Lembke—episodes that we've gotten countless emails and messages about thanking us for their advice. We're glad that we got those rejections, because they paved the way for the acceptances, and those acceptances have been far more meaningful than all of the rejections combined.
Below we have included some of the many rejections we've received since we started our podcast. We're not letting them get us down, in fact they motivate us, and we hope you won't let any rejections you receive get you too down, either.
One additional story of rejection, from our COO Anna Hicks (who sent all those emails above). When Anna applied to law school in 2014, predictor websites (which we've spoken about the drawbacks of many times, and for reasons much like this) put her chances of admission to Harvard Law School at about 90%. She had a 3.94 undergraduate GPA and a 174 LSAT, putting her above both of Harvard's medians. And she got rejected, not even waitlisted.
Believe me, that rejection hurt. It felt like everything she had been working toward was invalidated. But looking back now, Anna is genuinely and sincerely grateful that she received that rejection. Instead of Harvard, Anna matriculated to UVA Law with a full named scholarship, allowing her to take out zero student loans. She absolutely loved UVA and the city of Charlottesville, and some of the people she met there are still some of her best friends to this day. Moreover, not having any debt allowed her to eventually withdraw from law school, with no regrets, in order to take a full-time position with Spivey Consulting, which she still counts among the best decisions of her life.
We're not going to say that "everything happens for a reason," but Anna's story is far from unique. We talk to students and lawyers all the time who received rejections but were ultimately thankful, looking back, that they took the path they did instead. It's not uncommon at all, and we wouldn't be surprised if many if not most of you end up looking back at your rejections in a similar way.
So keep your head up. We all receive rejections sometimes—and it means absolutely nothing about your worth as a human being. Remember, a law school does not and cannot reject you as a person. All they can reject is a PDF file of your application that represents a tiny fraction of who you are.