Frequently Asked Questions About the Waiting List

What is the waiting list for? Admissions is not an exact science. We know from experience approximately how many offers we should make to fill our entering class. But, in some years, more applicants than expected accept offers of admission to the University of Virginia; in other years, fewer do so. Or, applicants make initial confirmation deposits to more than one school, or change their enrollment plans and withdraw during the summer, creating places in the class. That's when we accept students from the waiting list.

When can I expect to hear something? We will ask admitted applicants to make an initial tuition deposit in April if they wish to accept our offer of admission. By May 1, we should know whether we will make offers from the waiting list. If we have spaces available, we will begin making waiting-list offers immediately, and we will continue to make offers until places in the class have been filled.  If we do not have places available after the initial confirmation deadline, we will not make offers until entering students notify us that they no longer intend to enroll. All entering students are asked to pay a second confirmation deposit in June, so it is possible that additional places in the class will become available at that time.

Once the class is filled, whether with those who are initially accepted, or with applicants accepted from the waiting list, we will notify some wait-listed applicants that the class is full and release them from the list. We will retain a smaller number of applicants on the waiting list throughout the summer months. If you do not hear from us, you may assume that you are still on the waiting list.

Do people ever drop out later in the summer? We retain a smaller waiting list throughout the summer just in case some of those who have made deposits decide not to attend. Applicants may be waiting for law schools to make financial aid awards before making a final decision. The drop-out rate will also be affected by movement on waiting lists at other law schools.

If I receive an offer of admission, how long will I have to decide? Not very long, out of consideration to the other applicants on the waitlist. We will telephone you if we have a space available for you, and you will be asked to make a commitment within a couple of days. We do not want to prolong the process by waiting a week or more for a letter to reach you and for your deposit to make its way back to us. You should be prepared to make a decision fairly quickly if a space opens up for you. That is why it is critically important that you keep us up to date on your current address, e-mail, and phone number over the summer.

What's the latest I could be offered admission? We have made last-minute offers right up to the day of orientation.

How will waiting-list admission affect my chances of receiving financial aid or finding a place to live? If you qualify, getting federal or private educational loans should be no problem. You should make sure that your FAFSA and supporting documentation have been received by the Financial Aid Office so that we can begin to process your loan application as soon as you have been accepted. If you are offered admission late in the summer, it is relatively easy to have loan checks issued to another law school reissued to the University of Virginia. Once the Financial Aid Office certifies to our Business Office that you have been approved for student loans, the University will allow you to defer payment on your tuition bill until your loan check arrives, but you will need to come equipped with enough ready cash to rent an apartment and feed yourself until then. Off-campus housing in Charlottesville is usually not difficult to find, and we have resources to assist you with the search.

If I am offered admission from the waiting list, may I defer my enrollment? No, the deferral option is not available to candidates admitted from the waiting list.

Where am I on the waiting list? The waiting list is unranked.

How many candidates are on the waiting list? The number will vary throughout the summer, from several hundred at the beginning of the summer to only a few dozen at the end. Candidates may drop off the waiting list during the summer as they begin to make financial or housing commitments to other schools, and we will periodically release candidates from the waiting list if it appears unlikely we will be able to offer admission.

What are we looking for in a wait-listed applicant? Just as in the initial admissions process, we will be evaluating a variety of factors to try to select the best applicants. Among many things, we assess the strength of your undergraduate or graduate academic record, trends in your grades, the rigor of the curriculum you selected, your score(s) on the Law School Admission Test, your letters of recommendation, community service, extracurricular activities, work experience during school or after graduation, and any other information you provided in your personal statement or attachments to your application.  We also try to assess institutional “fit,” so if there are programs or attributes of the Virginia Law community that you believe particularly suit you for this law school, you may wish to address those in a letter or addendum to your application.

How many do you usually accept? There really is no typical number accepted off the waiting list; it has varied from none to more than 20 percent of the entering class.

Is there anything I can do to enhance my chances? E-mail us at lawadmit@virginia.edu.  If the University of Virginia is your first choice and you would unhesitatingly accept an offer of admission, this is the time to let us know. Grades from the Spring semester can also be a good way to demonstrate a continued rising grade trend. Please submit your spring grades through the Law School Data Assembly Service (LSDAS), which will update your Law School Report for each of the schools to which you have applied. Additional letters of recommendation will probably make little difference unless they provide new substantive information.

What about an interview? Unfortunately, we simply do not have the resources to offer interview opportunities to wait-listed candidates.