Ah, the classic last minute applicant. I just sent in all my applications in the last week of January. For all 0 of you reading this:
1) I will update with more info (actual school, race, major(s), maybe rank) once I've heard back from every single school I'm applying to. Even if it's a one-in-a-million scenario, I don't want anyone on the adcoms discovering this profile and seeing the other schools I'm applying to. Bad for business.
2) My seat of the pants predictions:
Group 1: Duke, Georgetown, Northwestern, UChicago, UMich, UPenn, UVA
This is my 'good fit' group: I predict all admits here, EXCEPT there will be one waitlist and one completely random reject.
Group 2: NYU or Columbia
This is my good fit ... but not perfect fit group. I predict one of these schools will admit me, and the other will reject.
Group 3: Yale, Stanford
Ah, the reaches. I'm going to say one, one waitlist (crosses fingers for the waitlist).
So, let's see how it goes.
3) An overview of my candidacy: My extracirics are weak -- didn't start any clubs, didn't help old people bathe, didn't even read to prisoners -- my workexp is average -- no internship at the UN, sorry.
My academics are phenomenal, in my opinion. Yes, I know my GPA is a  not a . But taking into account where I went to school, what fields I was in, etc, it has to be one of the highest quality s possible.
So, given the conditions, I'm counting on (read: hoping) great recs and devestatingly awesome personal statements/supplemental statements to carry the day.
We shall see...
2/14/07 (Happy V-Day!)
Just a quick update - it's been approximately two weeks since I sent out my apps. All my LSAC/LSDAS info reports that apps have been requested (most within 24 hours, against the wisdom of the horror stories you hear out there. The only bad one was, believe it or not, Michigan, which took about 5 days to request).
In terms of contacting me, most schools have been awesome, but a few have been ... not awesome.
I've gotten emails from:
Penn (extremely quick)
Michigan (extremely quick, once they got around to requesting my app)
Stanford (took a long while)
UVA (extremely quick)
Northwestern (extremely quick)
I've been completely left in the air (i.e. haven't heard a damn thing from):
Columbia (after harassing me to apply with multiple letters and a fee waiver)
and, I have to be honest, although I'm not fool enough to let it significantly influence my decision, the fact that these three schools haven't been able to manage an electronic reply confirmation in two weeks is a mark against them in my mind.
I have electronic access/website pin access from:
Northwestern (very bare bones site though)
UVA (excellent site/info)
and a promise to get it from at least one more school:
Michigan (Maybe more, can't remember)
Next update: when sh** starts rolling in (think positive) in a few weeks ... I'm optimistically hoping to hear back from my first school in the first week of March. Let's see ...
Large (but not thick) first class envelope comes today. I almost threw it out, because I couldn't see the school name in the corner (figured it was another 'odd ball law school' trying to get me to apply). Open it up: accepted at NYU!
Not to sound like a complete dork, but the first school you hear from is always an important one. Feeling a bit releived now.
Importantly, with NYU, it was a totally 'stealth' process -- I didn't hear a word from them from the time I uploaded my application with LSDAS until today. No emails, no phone calls; today, big 'barney purple' folder in the mail with the acceptance.
Very happy, but trying not to be overly optimistic: I know there will be rejections in the future. Let's see where this goes ...
Accepted into UVA today! Found out via standard postal mail. To add my voice to the chorus of many: don't worry if the envelope is small (as was UVA's): it might still be an acceptance. UVA was excellent in terms of getting in contact with me via email and giving me an account online to track status, but I never got an email from them letting me know a decision had been made, and my account online still says my application is "forwarded to the Admissions Committee for review".
The odd thing: I had a dream last night in which I received a decision. Weird. Very weird. Of course, I also had a dream about a girl I knew for many years ... if she shows up at my house today as well, I promise to repost!
It's sadistic, but I almost WANTED a rejection for my next one, only because I know I'm not getting accepted into all the schools I applied to, and I want to get the 'first rejection' over with. Oh well! Let's see how things go ... still expecting bulk of notices to arrive in March ...
Ah, the dry spell ends ... with an oddity. Just received email from Duke (Subject Line: Duke Law School Application) informing me that I've been waitlisted, and directing me to a website to indicate whether I want to remain on the waitlist or withdraw. I indicate I want to remain on the waitlist.
I won't lie: despite the fact it's a waitlist, it is a 'first' negative outcome in the cycle (though not yet a rejection! when will I get it over with!?!) and it hurts a bit. (Although, a hidden benefit: this does make travel arrangements simpler ...)
Email claims: "We do not individually rank applicants on the waitlist, and so it is difficult to predict the likelihood of your being offered admission. In the event that space becomes available in the class, we will conduct a complete reevaluation of all waitlisted candidates, including a review of any new information in the file."
I sincerely doubt that this is a true description of the process. Also, not to come off sounding arrogant (I'm not!) but I have a feeling this is a bit of ye olde yield protection going on. Who knows though, maybe they just don't like me! (Because, after all, couldn't they have admitted me with nice $$$ if they were concerned that I might jump ship?)
Still waiting for the March deluge ... will there be one? The world may never know ... or it may.
Accepted via e-mail at Northwestern! Subject line: "Northwestern University School of Law" (I know, very descriptive). Quite happy, especially coming off of that (increasingly ridiculous in retrospecct) Duke waitlist.
I interviewed with Northwestern in mid/late-January, and sent my application in at the same time, so 6-7 weeks turnover. Very happy, and this makes up for the absoulte dearth of mail materials from anyone a recent email from somewhere else informing me that it could take in excess of 2 months to reach a decision on my app from completion (mid-May!?!)
Waitlisted (via mail) at Georgetown, placed on their "Preferred Waiting List". Claim is: "you [will be] one of the first applicants [Georgetown] will contact in the event of an opening". Just incredibly disappointed at this outcome ...
Timing sequence was a bit odd: only found out that Georgetown had a status check about a week ago. Logged in first time, saw "complete". Next day, listed as "decision". Not sure if this was merely coincidental or if my login 'reminded' them I was still waiting to hear.
Accepted via email at Columbia this morning! Subject line: Columbia Law School - Decision letter. Inside, there's about 2 non-descriptive lines worth of text and a .pdf link - how scary is that?!? Very pleased with the news, especially after the weekend waitlist from Georgetown, which I took pretty badly. Only went complete in late February, so this represents a relatively quick turnaround. What a great way to start the morning! (tiny addendum: the online app. status check never switched from "complete")
This acceptance represents the half-way mark in my cycle (or at least the decision part of my cycle) as I%u2019ve now heard back from 6 and am still waiting for 6. Hopefully (very hopefully) the timing will accelerate at this point. If I could hear back from everyone by early April, I would be delighted. Well, wait, let me rephrase that: if I could hear back from everyone by early April and they are all acceptances, I%u2019d be delighted! Otherwise, take as much time as you need law schools! ;)
Waitlisted at Michigan this morning via a long email. Subject line: University of Michigan Law School. Ironically, despite my neurotic daily (okay, hourly) checking of the status checker, it never changed from "Complete". (Thankfully, the remaining schools don't have status checkers, because the lesson hasn't been leanred! I would still check damnit!) I DID write the "Why Michigan" essay, and, if I do say so myself, I really thought that it was a good & genuine piece of prose. I also indicated that I wanted to be considered for both the Summer start and the Fall programs. I have chosen to remain on the waitlist.
Any negative outcome is always disappointing. Michigan seems to have a very unique approach/character/feel/geist within its peer group, and I was definitely interested in learning more about that. It's regrettable that I don't have Michigan among my options to consider as I go forward with this process.
Was it yield protection? Perhaps. But I'm also beginning to increasingly consider the reality that the lateness of my applications, while not utterly ruinous -- I have gotten into four! -- is having a systemic negative effect on my admissions chances. Would first Duke, then Georgetown, now Michigan have waitlisted me if I had applied in October instead of late January? Perhaps. But also (with much more emphasis) perhaps not.
I can very easily see the remaining five decisions coming back as all waitlists/rejections at this point. I know, considering the schools, this isn't exactly the most 'out there' prediction. However, it's a hard one to face, because, amongst the five still pending, there are one or two which, for various reasons, I really have a strong 'heart-string' attachment to. (well beyond where they might rank. My heart-strings do NOT originate in a weekly news magazine) Hopefully, I will be proven wrong on this. We shall see ...
Somewhere, in the basement of hell, there is a very skilled Evil Postman. The devil has granted him the unique ability to sense 'bad news' letters in the mail, whereupon, through an intricate process of delaying some parts of the mail system and speeding up others (the specifics are trade secrets, of course) he is able to bundle these 'bad news' letters together so that, instead of receiving them seperately, on a given day, they all hit you at once, sending you flailing across the floor in despair.
Yes, two letters arrived just minutes ago. Two small letters. Small and thin letters.
1. Stanford Rejection
Thus arrives the first rejection, which I've been waiting for in my pessimistic (yet also realistic) fashion. Not suprising - I realize I'm neither an auto-reject nor an auto-admit for these caliber of schools. I represent that rubenesque middle of the distribution, the 'maybe' pile. Some of us make it to the promised land(s), others don't. That's why I originally spread my net so wide, and I'm glad that I did.
2. UChicago Waitlist
More suprising, at least from a rational perspective. LSD has been all atwitter lately about Chicago being done with their acceptances and moving to waitlists, essentially regardless of the numbers (LSAT/GPA) of the applicant. Seems about right to me - I join the large group of later-applying candidates who have received waitlists. I know that Chicago historically has a large defection %, and thus maintains a larger than average waitlist pool, but still, from the number of waitlists going out, this cycle seems a bit absurd -- even allowing for the abovementioned need for a large waitlist pool. Just rubs me a tad in the wrong way, if I do awkwardly and unprosaically say so myself: if your class is filled by the beginning of January, how ethical is it to remain open into February. At some point, isn't this moving from 'creating a lawschool class' to 'duplicitous fundraising'?
Of course, this analysis should be taken with a grain of salt and for what it is: the reactions of a candidate who has had a serious desire to consider Chicago for law school since the beginning of the cycle. In other words, an hour after the letter has arrived, I'm wounded! In earnestness, I am disappointed that (at least as of now) I won't be able to consider Chicago as I move forward in this process. (Addendum: I am remaining on the waitlist - hope springs eternal)
Unfortunately, I stand by my statement from the post earlier in the week (with the Michigan waitlist): I can easily see the remaining decisions all coming in as waitlists/rejections at this point -- only three remain now. All in all, this has been a hard week.
Ah, a much better start to the week! I think it's apparent from my profile that, in general, I only post updates when I get decisions from schools -- I couldn't keep up with updates if I included all mailings. However, I consider scholarship offers to be significant enough to post on. Also, I have additional quasi-news.
Just received a 15k p./year (45k total) scholarship offer from UVA! Finally, someone is offering money! Columbia/NYU's silence didn't exactly surprise me, but the lack of merit money offers until now from both UVA and Northwestern surprised (disturbed) me. You would be amazed how much merit $$ alters one's decision rubric - it definitely has altered mine, and UVA's stock has risen with this offer, adding to the difficulty of the upcoming decision I have to make.
Also got an e-mail this morning from Georgetown. Their policy is to not release decisions via anything but post, but, if I interpreted the seemingly intentionally vague but also positively worded email correctly, it sounds like they've moved me from the waitlist into the 'accepted' pile! Great news, although I will wait to officially update until I get the post mailing they stated was on its way.
And, since I am updating today, it can't hurt to include the other mail I received this morning: 1. a monstrous (the size of a coffee table book) package of materials enclosed in a free-standing document-stand from Columbia - the mailman had to drive up the driveway since it couldn't fit in the postbox. Makes me wonder what he would have done if I wasn't standing, wild-eyed and with dog, outside. 2. A letter from NYU, encouraging me (again) to visit / contact / explore with specific info relevant to my majors.
Finally, what I haven't gotten is as important as what I have: thus far, no letter rejection from Yale. I know that a huge batch of them (huge by Yale's standards, at least) began making their way cross country mid last week. My hope is that, if I don't get anything tomorrow, I can say that I officially survived this rejection cycle. In that sense, it is the old 'no news is good news' line.
And, a second finally: I do know that my posts have gotten increasingly loquacious as the cycle has progressed. Well, deal with it! :) There's a lot of info to report. (Is anyone even bothering to read all of this? I hope all this writing is helping some poor soul somewhere) I'm thinking that, at the end of the cycle, I'll depersonalize all of this, meaning I'll keep the relevant hard info and mail reports, but cut out a lot of the fat, to keep for my own personal records. Thus, everyone gets something: future applicants get data, and I get a great document-memory of this hellish process ;) We'll see ...
Well, it's official: in at Georgetown! Received the multipage letter this afternoon -- requisite Andy Cornblatt personal note included. (It looks like he was writing it on a bumpy plane ride!) I guess when they say "you [will be] one of the first applicants [Georgetown] will contact in the event of an opening", they really mean it, as I was only on the waitlist for ... ~2-3 weeks.
For a variety of reasons, this acceptance means a great deal to me. I'm very happy, but, I have to add: my upcoming decision on where to attend is only getting more complex/complicated/difficult. I guess, if that's the worst thing I have going for me, I'm in a pretty good position right now.
This cycle, I love the waitlists and the waitlists love me. At least in terms of the getting on the waitlist part. Not so sure about the 'moving from waitlist to admit' part.
E-mail subject "Penn Law Application". E-mail announcement: waitlist! At this point, I have chosen to remain on the waitlist to see how this cycle evolves.
Still waiting on two ... this cycle feels long and I only started applying in January! Deadlines are approaching! Decisions must be made. Or, at least pondered! Time to ponder!
Well, the day of miracles continues! As on 3/31, I've gotten two for the price of ... well, two I guess. The Yale rejection arrived in the mail this afternoon.
The cheap SOBs couldn't bother sending it first class - they have a .29 cent institutional-academic rate stamp for second class mail. The letter is dated March 28th, making it a continuation of the earlier round of Yale rejects.
Let's be honest: did I think I had a chance to get into Yale? Yes, absolutely, and I did my best in terms of trying to put together a compelling app packet. Did I think I had a GOOD chance: no, probably not. Nevertheless, like every negative outcome this cycle, it stings a bit. I think what compounded it was that I did last this late into the cycle, although I have been walking around feeling like a 'dead-man' walking for the last few weeks :)
My first significant waitlist action in May! Out of town for several days, returned to an email from Chicago yesterday afternoon asking about my continued interest. Of course I'm interested!
Had a message on my phone this afternoon, called back to talk to Dean Perry - I'm in!
Till the 18th to decide. Extremely happy, but this is going to be very complicated as I'm waiting to hear back on $$$ from a notable NY law school and already have two deposits out. And there is still the matter of the other waitlists.
U of C has appealed to me since the start. But I'm also glad that they give us 2 weeks to ponder. (cp. the horror stories you hear from late-cycle waitlist admits: "you have 24 hours ... then this package will self-destruct")
What else: I probably talked much more than the Dean!
They don't ask for a monetary commitment in terms of the seat deposit. They do ask for you to get the form back to them by 5/18. They did ask me what schools I had commitments to at this point.
(Edit: and for all my fellow neurotics out there: now is where we are at our finest. Where we can really be in our element. We get to question between now and when the admit package arrives on Monday if something we said/did will result in a rescinded admission! It's insane, but, still, we pause and think: should I have said thank you earlier? Was that reference to my dog walking really necessary?)
Very suprising and well-received news: accompanying the Chicago admissions materials is a 36k merit based scholarship. (Expandable up to $68k with public interest work). This has me smiling: money from such a strong institution, off a waitlist, without having had to even ask should do that to anyone! I had anticipated much more effort before soliciting $$$ offers from the places I'm mulling over.
Of course, the greedy part of me says 'if they offered you 36k without even asking, what would they give you if you played hardball?' Granted, they might give me nothing more than a pat on the back and a 'good try, but no' :)
I am going to leverage this offer with the others schools that I am considering. But, in general, what great news! (And note, I never brought up $$$ issues / bargaining with Chicago - this was out of the blue!)
Phone call this afternoon from Penn - accepted off the waitlist! They want a 'verbal commitment' that I will in fact attend Penn. I've always had a soft spot for the school, especially with its interdisciplinary focus. Things are getting really crazy in terms of the $ negotiation / multiple WL admits. I was honest with Penn - I told them I needed to hear a response re: the potential for merit money, especially in light of Chicago's recent 36k offer. But, even if they didn't offer me anything, I don't know exactly what I'd do right now ...
I'm going to be doing some serious travelling / visiting in the next 2 weeks. I'm planning on hitting 3 of the 4 - yes, that's right: 4 :( - schools that I'm doing the commitment dance with right now.
Crazy crazy crazy ...
25k offer from Columbia after visiting the school. ... not exactly thrilled by the amount, especially in comparison to the 36k from Chicago, which they knew was on the table. NY cost of living does not help things in any way. All in all, a confusing (or maybe not so confusing) move on Columbia's part ...