How a Campus Visit Can Help Your Chances of “Getting Off the Waitlist”

Our latest podcast, “Getting Off the Waitlist,” takes a look at what the waitlist means, how law schools use the list and what waitlisted students can do to get that spot in the entering class. One thing waitlisted applicants can do is visit campus and use the visit to strategically promote their candidacy.Cornell Law School Dean of Admissions, Richard Geiger explains what this means at Cornell. “At Cornell we’re a little bit different from other places because we actually invite them to have an interview so we offer up an interview and that’s something that if somebody is on our waiting list, I strongly encourage them to take us up on that offer.”

Not every school will grant you an interview if you are waitlisted, but they may still welcome your visit. For example, on March 1, 2009, the Admissions Office at The University of Chicago Law School sent out this message to wait listed applicants via Twitter: “Waitlisted applicants are always welcome to visit & we are happy to answer questions, but we do not set up appointments or grant interviews.”

Even without an interview, a campus visit can still help a waitlisted applicant. Clear Admit’s Graham Richmond notes that a visit can provide you with concrete examples of why a school is your top choice, and those examples can help form a strong basis for articulating your reasons to the school itself in a letter expressing your “continued interest” in the school. “I think that it is actually a really great idea, even before you send in the letter of continued interest, to go to campus and then when you go to write your letter about why you’re interested in this program and why it’s the perfect fit for you, you’re going to have so many great data points to draw upon and people whose names you can mention that you spoke with.”

Ann Levine, Founder of has this advice: “Line up that quality face time at the school you want to attend. “You know, let the Admission Office know you’re there, you’re coming, and you want to sit in on a class, be professional, talk to the students who are sitting around you. Talk to the students who are hanging out on the quad, get names of people, follow up with them, introduce yourself to the professor whose class you’re sitting in on. If you have an area that you really have a demonstrated interest and expertise in, find the professor at that school that shares that expertise that you would want to work with and study with and contact that person.”

William J. Hoye, Associate Dean of Admissions and Student Affairs advises waitlisted applicants to send “a carefully crafted note to us that expresses your interest with some detail.”

While “details” include new developments and information about yourself, they can also include those concrete pieces of information you gain through a visit to campus.

Tune into the full show to hear more strategies for “Getting Off the Waitlist.”