Law School Waitlist Acceptance Rate

Ensure you carefully read the letter and any instructions if you are put on a law school waitlist. Getty s.

Perhaps as a result of the increase in applications for law school since the pandemic started, which led to overenrollment at some schools last year, admissions committees for law schools appear to be adding more candidates to waitlists than they did in the past.

Long waitlists may be used by law schools cynically to weed out unmotivated applicants in order to boost their rankings. A law school that believes a potential student is qualified but likely to be rejected for admission in favor of another institution may add them to a waitlist. Depending on the applicant’s decision to withdraw or not, the law school may appear more selective. [.

Additionally, waitlisting applicants gives a law school more negotiating power when negotiating scholarships. Law schools might be using their waitlists to subtly pressure some applicants to accept admission at full price as merit-based financial aid is on the rise and applicants are more willing to negotiate scholarships.

It’s critical for applicants to have a better understanding of what waitlisting entails as the likelihood of it rises.

For almost all schools WL–>A rates tend to hover between 1% and 6%. Here are the two-year and four-year average acceptance rates of waitlisted applicants at each of the T50 schools (using latest USNWR rankings). The T51-T100, and the full data set, can be found in Google Sheets.

This blog is brought to you by a special guest, Ana the Analyst.

Many applicants only have one thought as deposit deadlines draw near and LOCIs start to be written: how much waitlist movement should we really be anticipating?

The short answer: we don’t know.

The lengthy response is that this year has seen a great deal of change, including the onset of a pandemic around the world, an increase in seats taken by deferring students, a huge increase in applicants, a huge decrease in acceptances, and a great deal more. The fact that schools have historically severely restricted access to information complicates matters.

Luckily for us, we have access to a website known as LawSchoolData, which tracks user inputs on school results, and provides an automatic way to check statuses. While this data is not *perfect* data (unfortunately, people on the internet lie; LawSchoolData pulls information from an older website, LawSchoolNumbers, causing certain users from both websites to be double counted in the data; less than 20% of T50 applicants have historically used the website; approximately 30% of those users don’t bother to input their data; the website disproportionately has high scorers compared to the applicants pool; and much more, which will be covered by a later post), it provides a summary of self-selecting user data, including previous waitlist and waitlist movement.

For the purposes of clarity, we did not use schools with fewer than 100 available data points for any year during the analysis period; as a result, BYU, Utah, Arizona, Pepperdine, and Maryland are not included. The analysis below includes waitlist data for the Top 50 schools for the previous five cycles. In addition to the remarks made above, waitlist data can be particularly harmful because people can be removed from waitlists at the last minute without updating their LawSchoolData profiles.

LSData Waitlist Movement for T50

Here is the historic LSData waitlist movement for the T50 without further ado:

Law School Waitlist Acceptance Rate

Law School Waitlist Acceptance Rate


Several schools, including GULC and UCLA, have already started to move up on the waitlist this year. This is the first year that LSData has made it possible to specify which “flavor” of waitlist an applicant is placed on, and it appears that GULC draws from the regular preferred waitlist about equally to the special preferred waitlist, with a slight advantage to the regular preferred waitlist. Additionally, it appears that GULC’s two “preferred” waitlists are for applicants who interviewed, while the regular waitlist is for applicants who were not invited for an interview.

Additionally, when Notre Dame unexpectedly closed their deposits early, they imposed a new type of waitlist—the waitlisting of admitted applicants who didn’t deposit as quickly as they should have. A provision in Notre Dame’s acceptances that required them to close their deposits on the earlier of (i) all available seats or (ii) April 15 prompted the early deposits. This might indicate a lower waitlist movement and higher yield than usual.

% of Applicants Accepted from a Waitlist

The proportion of LSData acceptances that came from the waitlist in the T50 is as follows:

Law School Waitlist Acceptance Rate

Law School Waitlist Acceptance Rate

Year after year, Harvard fairly consistently selects applicants from the waitlist.

# of Applicants Waitlisted

Sadly, it appears that more students are being placed on waitlists this year than usual (at the time of this analysis, April 11, 2021 at 8 PM EST, some schools had not yet released waitlist waves, a practice known as “ghosting”); nonetheless, there is still enough data to identify a clear trend of waitlist increases):

Law School Waitlist Acceptance Rate

Law School Waitlist Acceptance Rate

LS Data Applicants Without a Response

Many applicants this year are wondering whether the cycle is moving more slowly because many are still awaiting responses in one way or another. According to historical percentages of LSData applicants who never updated their status with a response, schools currently stand as follows:

Law School Waitlist Acceptance Rate

Some of these institutions—Columbia, Vanderbilt, and NYU—that have a sizable proportion of unanswered questions are renowned for their late waitlist waves. In essence, it appears that a higher proportion of the applicant pool is responding than usual. This indicates that the cycle is either moving *faster* than usual or that we are using LSData more frequently (the latter being the more likely scenario).

Yield, which is the proportion of applicants who receive offers and accept a spot, is the main factor influencing waitlists. Even for HYS, admissions do not occur at a 1:1 ratio; as the Notre Dame incident demonstrated, schools admit more students than sports, and allow for yield to handle the remaining enrollment.

There is a difference between the yield from direct offers and the yield from people who are given an offer off the waitlist (much higher, on average, after writing LOCIs and demonstrating interest and responding to feelers…). There is typically a 1:1 ratio of acceptances from the waitlist to spots available.

The yield for the T50 has historically looked like this:

Law School Waitlist Acceptance Rate

The Notre Dame deposit situation and Dean Zearfoss of Michigan have indicated that yield may have increased this year. In addition, the decrease in yield at HYS and other schools may indicate prior year admittances who deferred their start to the Fall of 2021 instead of joining last year’s class. This means that seats that would normally be available for a specific cycle’s applicants could already be filled with deferrals. Less acceptances would then be needed to fill the lower number of seats available.

Since there may be fewer opportunities for each applicant to receive an acceptance, the yield may increase once more. As waitlist movement tends to have “trickle down” effects (i. e. , Northwestern now has a spot open in its class, so it pulls an applicant off the waitlist who had committed to WUSTL; and so on), the waitlist movement may be especially sluggish this cycle.

Historical data may only be useful to a certain extent because this year is unusual in a number of ways. Although we only have a small amount of historical information, it does allow us to identify which schools typically have active waitlist movement and which schools waitlist as a soft rejection. There is a chance that everyone will be stuck in place this summer due to a very active waitlist and an enormous increase in yield.

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush and all that jazz, so for those of you who are fortunate enough to have received a few acceptances this year, love the one that you are with and congratulations on the next step to becoming a lawyer!

For those considering retaking and reapplying: the June Flex sign-ups are open until April 30, before we switch to a new, four-section test in August.

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What to Do When You Get Your First Law School Waitlist


What percentage of waitlisted students get accepted?

Princeton had a 4. 38% acceptance rate and 78. 32% yield. They waitlisted 3. 36% of applicants, and ultimately accepted 15% of waitlisted students who accepted a spot on the list Waitlist Statistics. SchoolWaitlist Admission RateOverall Admission RateStanford11. 6%3. 95%University of Michigan0. 5 . 15%.

How likely is it to get off a law school waitlist?

Your chances of being taken off the waitlist for a law school this cycle are slim. Your chances of being the one to be removed from the waitlist are simply low due to the large number of people on them. However, you have a better chance of being removed from the waitlist if your statistics fall within the range of the school.

Is it common to be waitlisted for law school?

Take solace in the knowledge that you are not the only applicant to law school who has been put on a waitlist. While you are still on the waitlist, you should be completing the steps above to improve your chances of admission and maintaining contact with the admissions office once a month.

What does it mean when a law school waitlists you?

At this point, accepted students who don’t pay a deposit forfeit their place in the class. The school can then re-allocate the seat to another student. (It’s not one-to-one, but a school may add waitlist members right away if enough admitted students decide not to pay a seat deposit.) ).

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