Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Deferral to Regular Admission?

Santa Clara Law is among the schools that sent out "deferral" notices this week. What does a "deferral to regular admission" really mean?

If you applied Early Action or Early Decision (binding) to any law schools, they will make one of 3 decisions on your application by the deadline they provide (usually December 15th). They may decide to:

1. Accept (but this is very rare; the law school's only interest here is to admit those that will help bring their numbers up and to offer scholarships - thereby creating excitement early on in the feedback part of the admission cycle);

2. Reject (also very rare because the school has the prerogative to wait to reject you later and there is little reason for them to do so before they know whether or not they'll be able to fill their class); and

3. The Most Common Response - Deferral to the Regular Admission Cycle.

So, what does this really mean? Absolutely nothing! Your status is completely unchanged from what it was when you applied. You'll still be considered on the merits.

Regular readers of my blog know that law schools like to defer and waitlist and "hold" applicants because they are judged by rankings partially according to acceptance rates. By giving out fewer "admit" letters, they can control their acceptance rates. They want you to work a little harder. Law Schools want to be able to judge the likelihood with which you'll actually attend their school before they hand out the precious law school acceptance letter.

So, if you're deferred to regular admission at a school you'd really like to attend then fight for it. Demonstrate your continued interest in that school. Keep them in the loop with updates, especially new grades coming out this month. (Just don't annoy anyone in the admissions office by calling too often or saying too much).

Here is further explanation of Early Action and Early Decision programs for those of you just getting up to speed for Fall 2009 Law School Admission. I'm happy to take questions or comments....


  1. I've been hesitant to email or call because I don't want to seem like a nag and I know they are so busy. But, what would be an example of an acceptable way to keep in touch - esp. for those of us with no grade updates to send and no news! :)

  2. Hi Kristen,
    Thanks for your comment.
    If it's a school you really hope to attend, a campus visit is in order. You can call and schedule a tour and a classroom visit, and follow up with a thank-you letter and a statement of your continued interest in the school.
    Good luck!