Admission & Acceptance Decisions

What the school’s admissions policy is, when the school receives the last of your application materials and whether you are a borderline candidate (this often delays a definite decision) will all affect when you are notified of the admissions committee’ decision.

Offers of Admission and Wait Lists

Admission

Once you are accepted and once you decide which school you will attend, please notify the other law schools that you are no longer a candidate. Each June, the LSAC will notify law schools of candidates who have made seat deposits at multiple schools. Make sure you have completed applications for financial aid if necessary.

Wait List

Law school admissions offices can fairly accurately predict the percentage of "yield" from the number of students offered admission. When the yield does not produce a large enough class, applicants are taken off the wait list and invited to matriculate. In general, the more prominent schools take fewer people off the wait list. Beyond this it's difficult to predict your chances of being taken off the wait list. Calling the law school will generally produce little helpful information.

As a rule, it's probably best not to be overly optimistic unless you are at the very top of the wait list, (if, in fact, the law school will inform you of where your position is on the list), and even then there are never any guarantees. If you do find yourself on a law school's wait list it is important to maintain contact with the admissions office. Send a copy of recent grades or an additional letter of recommendation. Use whatever additional ammunition you have which may help your cause, including a personal note or statement.

Deferring Law School

Many law schools have a deferral policy whereby, once accepted, you can defer entry to law school for a year (policy varies from school to school but is almost always a case-by-case decision). Some schools allow deferral on a first-come-first-served basis, others may require a good reason. Regardless of policy, the number of deferrals is usually limited each year, if available at all.

  • You can request a deferral only after you accept admission to the law school.
  • Moreover, deferring entry to a school is a commitment to that school. It would be unethical to defer matriculation to more than one school or to apply to another law school once you had received a deferment from your original choice.
  • If you don't plan to go to law school right away, it is best not to apply right away.

Reapplying to Law School

Whether accepted or rejected for admission in a given year at a given law school, you can always reapply at a later time. However, if rejected initially, in many cases the law school will look for some significant improvement in your candidacy between applications. Such "improvement" might take the form of better grades, a significantly improved LSAT score, significant work or life experience(s), etc.

Time Off Before Law School

For any one of many reasons, you may decide to do something after graduation from Princeton other than go directly to law school. This may include travel, work, or course work in a different area.

In almost every case, this will not hurt your chances of admission; in fact, time off is most often seen as a positive factor, although not necessarily a major factor. Time off might work against you if you just wasted the time and goofed off, but generally, any substantive experience (work, study or travel) will be viewed as positive and the more experience you get, the more attractive you will be. If you are unsure about a specific (or general) type of work experience, speak with the PreLaw Advisor. Work in a law-related field — for example, paralegal work — may help you to learn more about the law and life in a firm, but it may not help you get into law school any more than any other job that offers responsibility and gives you the opportunity to demonstrate admirable qualities such as leadership and initiative.