Today’s tips come from Eileen Conner, who helps law school candidates write excellent admissions essays in her work as founder of Pen and Chisel.
Waiting to hear back from your target law schools post-application can be incredibly stressful! It’s tough to stay patient and keep calm — especially if your application has been placed in the academic limbo known as the waiting list.
If you have been waitlisted or your application has otherwise been put on hold, it may be a good idea to write a letter of continued interest.
What is a letter of continued interest?
A letter of continued interest (LOCI) is a short, concise communication in which you let a law school know that you still have a strong desire to attend their program. It is a way to update law schools on any relevant information they need to know, while also keeping them aware of your ongoing interest. This additional information can potentially make you stand out from the pack.
A successful LOCI is brief — one page is plenty — and professional in tone. As you write, you’ll need to walk a fine line between reaffirming your interest and becoming pushy or overenthusiastic. Keep your letter confident and upbeat, and watch out for any phrases that might seem whiny or aggressive.
Simply restate your interest in strong, positive terms, add any extra information the school needs to know, and close with a straightforward salutation.
When should you write a letter of continued interest?
Whether you should write a LOCI depends on two circumstances. First, consider the school’s instructions. When you received notice of your waitlisting or other application status change, what did the school ask you to do — or not to do?
Some law schools may explicitly welcome additional information through use of a LOCI, while other schools may specify that you should not take any further action. Schools may also ask waitlisted students to write these letters only after a particular deadline.
If the school has not communicated their preferences in your notification letter, you may need to check out their admissions website or social media feeds for more information. Whatever the case, to make the best possible impression be sure to follow each law school’s instructions to the letter.
Second, consider your situation. Do you have new information that your school of choice needs to know to make a responsible decision about your admission? For instance, have you received additional grades to report since applying? Have you received a promotion (or demotion) or changed jobs, whether staying within your current organization or moving to a completely new company?
If you have changes like these to report, it’s your obligation to keep the law schools informed of them. Providing your target law schools with your most current information will help them reach a responsible decision about your admission.
When should you NOT write a letter of continued interest?
Generally, you should not write a LOCI if you have not yet heard back from your school of choice post-application. If you do have a change in status or grades to report, you should communicate that change, but in most other cases, you’ll want to simply remain patient and wait for the admissions committee to contact you.
The last thing you want to do is to stand out as a rude or presumptuous applicant! Instead, take a deep breath and redirect your energies to some other activity as you wait to hear back about your admission decision.
With a little finesse, you can write a strong letter of continued interest that will reaffirm your eagerness to attend your school of choice. Who knows? This letter might be the final argument that pushes you off the waiting list and earns you admission to your target law school.
Eileen Conner is the founder of Pen and Chisel LLC, where she helps law school applicants craft convincing personal statements, diversity statements, and supplemental essays. Her on-demand online courses teach students to write and edit top-notch personal statements. For individualized help, she also offers personalized consulting. A graduate of the prestigious University of Michigan MFA program in creative writing, Eileen was formerly the Senior Editor for Law at Revision Editing. Find her at http://penandchisel.com or on Twitter at @penandchisel.