Spring is always a busy time in admissions – we’re finalizing another batch of admits, preparing for ASW, and putting together our waitlist. If you have not heard from us yet – sit tight. We are continuing to roll through the last wave of our rolling review process. With scholarship deadlines, admitted students weekends, and a whole host of other things to consider, we understand that many folks have exciting, and challenging, choices to make.
I want to be sure to continue to provide you with relevant info as you continue to evaluate your options over the next few months. For now, I have sketched out a few notes on the waitlist below.
If you are currently waiting on your decision and have questions around what a wailist offer might entail, be sure to read through our Waitlist FAQ below.
WHAT IS THE WAITLIST?
Each year, some admitted applicants may take a while to finalize their plans for enrollment, or have to change their plans later in the summer. Because of this, we maintain a waitlist to fill spaces for the entering class should any become available.
IF OFFERED A SPACE ON THE WAITLIST, WHAT SHOULD I DO?
If you are offered a spot, please consider carefully whether to accept and keep your name on our waitlist.
You should stay on the waitlist if you are certain that you would accept an offer of admission to HLS. 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 waitlist 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.
Even if you remain on the waitlist, we strongly encourage to begin to develop alternate plans for the 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 waitlist, please immediately notify our office via email. We must have the correct contact information should we be able to make an offer of admission.
BY WHEN SHOULD I ACCEPT MY SPOT ON THE WAITLIST?
Students interested in a place on the waitlist should accept the offer by or before May 1.
WHAT CAN I DO TO STRENGTHEN MY APPLICATION?
If your application has been selected for the waitlist, this means that you are clearly a strong applicant to Harvard Law School. If, however, you believe additional information would strengthen your application, you are welcome to send additions to your file. A one-page letter of continued interest or substantive resume update are good examples of relevant additions to your file. All additions must be submitted through your status checker. Please note, you will not be able to upload a letter before accepting your spot on the waitlist.
Please note that we generally advise against submitting additional letters of recommendation. Furthermore, guided tours, appointments with admissions staff (in-person or virtual), and class visits are not available, and campus visits will not benefit your waitlist candidacy.
CAN I VISIT CAMPUS?
All prospective students, including applicants, are welcome to visit campus. Visitors to Harvard Law School can visit the Admissions Office in Austin Hall to pick up a self-guided tour.
However, as mentioned above, guided tours, class visits, and in-person or virtual appointments with members of the admissions team are not available, and campus visits will not benefit your waitlist candidacy.
WHAT ARE THE CHANCES I’LL BE ADMITTED?
The probability of being admitted from the waitlist is a function of the number of offers, the attrition rate, the number of spaces that become available, and the strength of an application in relation to others that remain on the waitlist at the time when spaces are filled. These highly variable factors can change quickly and unpredictably.
Although we would like to provide applicants 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 waitlist varies over time, and the proportion of candidates admitted from the waitlist in past years varies.
IS THE WAITLIST RANKED?
We do not rank the waitlist. We review all applicants remaining on the waitlist if a seat opens up.
HOW BIG IS THE WAITLIST?
The number of applicants on the waitlist initially depends on the number of candidates who choose to remain on the list. As the summer progresses, some waitlist 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 waitlist, we will decrease the waitlist by notifying some candidates that we will not be able to offer them admission. In most years, we have admitted some applicants from the waitlist – sometimes quite a few – but we have never been able to admit all applicants on the waitlist.
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 waitlist candidates. Any such offers will be made as soon as possible.
ARE INTERVIEWS OFFERED TO STUDENTS WHO ARE ON THE WAITLIST?
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 waitlist are to fill spaces in this year’s entering class only. Applicants who know that they will not accept an offer of admission to enroll this fall should withdraw from the waitlist if offered a spot.
IF I AM ADMITTED, WILL I GET FINANCIAL AID OR HOUSING?
Financial aid at Harvard Law School is based on demonstrated financial need. If admitted from the waitlist and applying for financial aid, students receive the same financial aid award that they would have received had they 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, helps us provide students with a financial aid package as quickly as possible. Please note that students will be required to respond to their offer of admission before receiving their financial aid package.
Although we cannot guarantee housing in HLS dorms for those admitted from the waitlist, 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.