Applicants waiting to hear from their top-choice law schools should do everything in their power to increase their chances of acceptance. Just because applications have been submitted doesn’t mean that the work is done.
One way to stay in touch with law schools to which you applied is by writing a letter of continuing interest. This form of communication should be reserved for schools that wait-listed you – I do not recommend sending a letter to schools you have yet to hear from, as the unsolicited action could annoy admissions officers.
The following answers to six common questions about letters of continuing interest can help waitlisted applicants who want to stand out from the competition.
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1. Why should I send a letter of continuing interest? After placing prospective students on the waitlist, law schools understand they have likely been accepted to other schools. Some students will choose to attend a school at which they have already been admitted; others will hold out on the waitlist for a law school they feel is better suited to them.
If you are no longer interested in attending a school that has put you on a waiting list, it is common courtesy to notify them immediately so they can focus on students who are eager to attend. The letter of continuing interest comes into play when you are passionate about attending a law school that placed you on a waitlist.
2. What do I include in my letter? State clearly that you still want to go to that school. If it’s your first choice, say so.
Tell the admissions committee why you are a good fit for the school, and how you could have an impact if admitted. If you recently visited campus, spoke with a professor or met with a current student, mention how those interactions affected your desire to attend.
Be as specific as possible, because a letter of continued interest should not be a form letter that could be sent to any school. If you send a letter to more than one law school, each letter should be distinct.
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3. What should I not include? Do not outright ask to be admitted from the waitlist, and do not ask when final decisions will be made.
While a letter of continuing interest helps your application, it will not cause the admissions committee to admit you immediately, and they likely do not know exactly when everyone will hear from them. Recognize that it could be well into the summer before you are accepted or rejected.
4. How long should my letter be? In any sort of competitive application process, brevity is your ally. Be sure to include valuable content, but keep your letter of continuing interest to a page or less – less is better.
Get your ideas down on paper first, then cut as many unnecessary words as possible. Some of my clients at Stratus Prep find it helpful to make a bulleted list of what they want to get across in the letter, and then work that into paragraph form.
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5. When should I send it? You should send a letter of continuing interest to a law school within a few weeks of being notified you have been put on the waitlist. Take the time necessary to craft a compelling letter that gets significant information across in as few words as possible.
6. Can I send more than one if I don’t get a response? The admissions committee will not reply to your letter, and that's nothing personal. It will be reviewed and added to your file.
The purpose of a letter of continuing interest is self-explanatory – it demonstrates that you are still interested. Once you send it, the committee will assume you are still interested unless they hear otherwise from you, so there is no need to repeat the effort.
What you can send are updates such as an improved GPA or information regarding a new internship, job or project. Do not communicate with the admissions office more than once per month.
As with your other application materials, have a mentor, friend or family member review your letter for grammar and content feedback. Nothing can guarantee acceptance into the law school of your choice, but sending a letter of continuing interest significantly improves your chances by demonstrating your passion for the school and your ability to be proactive.