As we move into Spring, we move closer to the season of deposit deadlines for law schools. We understand that many of you have important choices to make and are committed to providing as much information as we can to help you with those decisions. This week we have begun the process of moving students to our wait list. The offer of a wait list spot can often generate questions and I’m hoping I can answer many of those here. If you have not heard from us yet, please know that we are continuing to process applications on a rolling basis.
WHAT IS THE WAIT LIST?
Because some admitted applicants have not yet finalized their plans for enrollment or their plans may change, we maintain a wait list to fill spaces for the September 2014 entering class should any become available.
IF OFFERED A SPACE ON THE WAITLIST, WHAT SHOULD I DO?
Please consider carefully whether to keep your name on our wait list.
If you are reasonably certain that you would accept an offer of admission to HLS, you should stay on the wait list. If you remain under consideration, but reach a point later in the summer when it is no longer possible for you to accept an offer of admission, please let us know as soon as possible.
We ask that you not include your name on the wait list if you doubt that you would or could accept an offer of admission to HLS – doing so could delay the admission of another candidate. Please do not remain under consideration if you know that you will not or cannot accept an offer of admission.
If you elect to remain on the wait list, it is wise to make alternate plans for the fall. It is best to proceed as if you will not be admitted to Harvard, but remain flexible in your ability to accept an offer from us for as long as possible.
If your address or other relevant contact information should change during the time you are on the wait list, please immediately notify our office via email so that we have the correct contact information should we be able to make an offer of admission.
WHAT CAN I DO TO STRENGTHEN MY APPLICATION?
The fact that your application was selected for the wait list means that you are clearly a strong applicant to Harvard Law School. If, however, you believe additional materials or information would strengthen your application, you are welcome to send additions to your file.
WHAT ARE THE CHANCES I’LL BE ADMITTED?
The probability of being admitted from the wait list is a function of the total number of offers, attrition, the number of spaces that become available, and the strength of an application in relation to others that remain on the wait list at the time spaces are filled. These highly variable factors can change quickly and unpredictably.
Although we would like to provide you with a probability of admission from the wait list, our experience is that such attempts are certain to prove misleading. Events that appear improbable one day may occur the next, and some apparent certainties may never occur. The size of the wait list varies over time, and the proportion of candidates admitted from the wait list in past years varies.
IS THE WAIT LIST RANKED?
We do not rank the wait list. Rather, if spaces in the class become available, we review all applicants remaining on the wait list at that time and select some to receive offers of admission.
HOW BIG IS THE WAIT LIST?
The number of applicants on the wait list initially depends on the number of candidates who choose to remain on the list. As the summer progresses, some wait list candidates will withdraw from the wait list, reducing its size. If at any time the information we have concerning admitted applicants’ enrollment plans suggests we will not be able to admit a substantial portion of those remaining on the wait list, we will decrease the wait list by notifying some candidates that we will not be able to offer them admission. In most years, we have admitted some applicants from the wait list – sometimes quite a few – but we have never been able to admit all applicants on the wait list.
WHEN AM I LIKELY TO HEAR?
We do not know whether, when, or how many spaces will become available. Whether spaces become available depends on the number of admitted applicants who ultimately do not enroll at Harvard this year. If at any time between now and registration in early September, the information we have concerning admitted applicants’ enrollment plans suggests that the class will be under enrolled, we will make offers of admission to an appropriate number of wait list candidates. Any such offers will be made as soon as possible.
ARE INTERVIEWS OFFERRED TO STUDENTS WHO ARE ON THE WAIT LIST?
Yes. To be admitted to HLS, students must complete an interview. The interview remains by invitation only. We will continue to interview students throughout the summer as we finalize the class.
IF I AM ADMITTED, CAN I DEFER ENROLLMENT?
No. Offers of admission from the wait list are to fill spaces in this year’s entering class only. If you know that you will not accept an offer of admission to enroll this fall, we ask that you withdraw from the wait list.
IF I AM ADMITTED, WILL I GET FINANCIAL AID OR HOUSING?
Financial aid at Harvard Law School is based on demonstrated financial need. If you are admitted from the wait list and apply for financial aid, you will receive the same financial aid award that you would have received had you been admitted earlier in the cycle. Submitting a FAFSA and Need-Access form to the HLS Student Financial Services Office and providing other financial information in a timely fashion upon notification of admission, will help us to provide you with a financial aid package as quickly as possible. Please note that you may be required to respond to your offer of admission before receiving your financial aid package.
Although we cannot guarantee housing in HLS dorms for those admitted from the wait list, it may be possible, even for those admitted late in the summer, to obtain HLS housing. Students admitted off the wait list typically find housing on or off campus without significant difficulty.