A letter of continued interest is a way to let law school programs know that you are still interested in attending their program despite being deferred or waitlisted. We understand the frustration that surrounds not getting in on the first or even second attempt, but continually striving for your dream law school and remaining persistent while you improve your case for admission shows your commitment to the law school program and increases your chance for getting in.
Law schools look at a variety of factors when making decisions about admission, and understanding what determines admission status is a helpful first step towards getting in during the next application stage.
Of course, the first thing to do is to determine the law school or shortlist of law schools that you are most interested in. In doing so, be sure to consider your career aspirations within the law profession, your current academic status, test scores and involvement in community service and internships that help your case, and then form a realistic, yet self-challenging, list of potential law schools.
If you are not accepted your first time applying, keep in mind that it is relatively normal to be turned down, and it does not mean it is the end of your journey as you pursue a career in the law profession. Instead, be certain to keep a positive outlook on the process, continue to improve your resume and send a letter of continued interest to the law school(s) you are interested in.
To help you create a detailed and successful letter of continued interest for law school, we have put together useful information on what exactly the letter is, when to send one and how to properly structure your letter of continued interest, along with a variety of useful tips to make the letter even better.
What is a letter of continued interest?
A letter of continued interest is exactly that — a letter that informs the law school you are interested in attending that you are indeed still interested and plan to apply again in the future. One of the purposes of the letter of continued interest is to ultimately improve your chances of getting in by showing the law school that you are committed to the admission process and plan to do your very best to improve your chances any way you can.
Law schools receive many applications each semester and have to turn many away, but an initial no followed by persistence, commitment and determination show the university you believe strongly in yourself and respect the law school's standards.
While, of course, a letter of continued interest is not going to change the decision of the law school about your admission, it is a good way to inform them of any new developments and additions to your resume you may have gained, such as new LSAT scores, community service, and internships.
Additionally, the quality of the letter of continued interest matters as well, and it is essential to know the proper way to style and format the letter, while also considering the tone and what information to add and what should be left out.
By understanding how to write a successful letter of continued interest for law school, you can show the law school you plan to apply again and believe you will make a good law student, and you may perhaps increase your chance of enrollment during the next application period.
When to send a letter of continued interest
The timing is important, and it is essential to know the proper time to send the letter of continued interest and when it might not necessarily be the best time. There are certain situations that either warrant or strongly suggest a letter of continued interest should be sent to your desired law school. The following are three of the more common reasons to consider sending a letter to the law school admission department.
When you are deferred
A common misconception is that being deferred means that you were turned down, which is actually not the case. To defer means to put off to a later time, meaning you are not accepted at this particular moment in time, but it does not mean you should not apply again in the future. Instead, consider sending a letter of continued interest to let the law school know you plan to apply and would happily accept admission at a later time.
When you are waitlisted
Perhaps the most obvious time to send a letter of continued interest law school is if you are waitlisted, which means the law school did not accept nor deny your admission. In most situations, being waitlisted means you are not joining the law school program, but they may contact you within the next few months if space becomes available. In other words, they are interested but they simply do not have enough space to let you in. In this case, you should most certainly send a letter of continued interest to let them know you still have a desire to join the law school program.
Inform of achievements
Regardless of the exact purpose for sending the letter of continued interest, you should mention any new achievements, such as new LSAT test scores. However, in certain situations, it might actually be a good idea to send a letter of continued interest to inform the law school of new developments in your application, although it is important to know how to do so in the proper manner(see “new accomplishments” below).
You should, however, limit the number of letters of continued interest you send and only send one when it is beneficial or necessary to do so. In other words, do not send one if there were not any new developments or achievements to mention or if you have already informed them of your intention to apply again in the future. Also, if you are turned down entirely (either for previous poor academic performance or non-related academic issues), then a letter of continued interest is not likely a good idea.
How to structure your letter of continued interest
The structure of your letter of continued interest does matter, and the better, more well-written the letter is the more highly regarded it will be in the eyes of those in charge of admission. Of course, the number one goal is to simply inform the law school that you still are interested in attending and plan to apply again in the future and will happily attend if accepted. However, with the right language, you may be able to also show them why you feel you will be a good law student to have in their program.
It is helpful to stat the letter of continued interest off with a positive tone, and we recommend opening with a message of gratitude. If you are sending a letter of continued interest, then it most likely means they reviewed your application, made an informed decision and took the time to notify you of their decision. Whether you are deferred or waitlisted, be sure to say thanks for the resources and time they put into reviewing your application and providing feedback.
Expression of interest
The next step is to express your level of interest- which is the main purpose of the letter. If you are sending the letter of continued interest, then in all likelihood the law school is your top choice, and there is no harm of informing them that you value their program above others that you are considering. By showing your commitment and respect toward the law school, they will know you are enthusiastic about attending and ready to go if they decide to accept you from the waitlist.
The next portion should be dedicated to listing your most recent accomplishments, which include LSAT test results, community service projects, etc. With that said, be sure to only list updated information, rather than mentioning accomplishments they are already familiar with. While a simple reminder of important personal information may be acceptable if condensed into a short sentence or two, it is best to keep the content new and fresh.
Interactions with the university
The next section is not always necessary, particularly if you have not had any new interactions with the law school. However, if you met someone important at the university — such as an important member of the admission team, a professor or student president, then, by all means, mention it in the letter of continued interest. Even something as small as visiting the campus recently or attending a sporting event can show that you care about the campus environment and would enjoy being a part of the tradition.
You should also end with a friendly closing statement. Be sure to provide contact information and let them know to contact you if the department has any questions about your application or current status.
Additional tips for a successful letter of continued interest
As long as you are honest and professional in your letter of continued interest, it should achieve the desired outcome. However, there are certain other tips and elements of your writing to keep in mind as you craft the letter. The following are five components that a successful letter of continued interest law school is likely to include.
One of the most important keys to a successful letter of continued interest is to use positive language. The fact is getting turned down to your dream school is not a fun experience, and it is easy to let that disappointment carry over into the letter if you are not careful and conscious about the tone of your writing. As you initially write the letter — along with in your proofreading and editing approach — be sure to include and check for the tone of your language, ensuring the letter carries a positive and optimistic outlook.
Gratitude is powerful. The more grateful you are for the law school's efforts in reviewing your admission, the better your chances are of getting in. In other words, showing the admission department that you are genuinely grateful for their time and effort can only help your chances of being accepted from the waitlist or during the next application period.
Do not assume the law school knows you are still interested. If you do not mention your interest and show your commitment to their law school program, they are not going to be certain whether or not you will join the program if you are accepted. Be sure to let them know your intentions to join the program either this semester or in the future, and give examples as to your commitment to the school, such as interactions you have had with others who attend, teach or work at the university.
If you have visited the university recently, be sure to discuss your experience, albeit briefly, in the letter of continued interest. Be sure to not only state the obvious fact you are interested in and committed but also tell them why exactly you are interested. Whether you love the professional success former students have had, enjoy the campus or value the faculty, tell them what exactly about their law school program in particular you enjoy.
As we have mentioned previously, you should also include information that they may not already know that is relevant to your enrollment status. For example, if you took the LSAT again since your last application, then update them on the new score(only if the score has improved). If you have completed new courses, then also include those, along with internships and community service projects you have also participated in as well.
The bottom line
While being deferred or waitlisted is not ideal, it is not a no, and there is still hope. Sending a letter of continued interest to your law school of choice is a good way to show the law school program you care and still have an interest in attending if space becomes available.