How to Withdraw Law School Applications » Law Admissions Helpful Wiki

If you apply to a wide range of target law schools that match your profile, you may have the enviable, if not necessarily easy, task of choosing which law school to attend from among several offers.

You might consider visiting schools, talking to current students and recent alumni, attending online information sessions, and comparing your final scholarship packages.

It can be exciting to decide on a final choice, but uncomfortable to say goodbye to law schools that have not been selected. Fortunately, it is easy to withdraw an application gracefully, even after being admitted.

Send a short, courteous email to the admissions committee. Two or three sentences should suffice. Keep it simple: express your gratitude and declare your intention to withdraw. No need to explain your decision, this is not a reality TV contest.

In some situations, removal can be a little more complicated, including:

  • Early decision.
  • Binding scholarships.
  • Multiple seat depots.
  • Waiting lists.
  • Reapplication.

Quick decision

Just like with college admissions, the early decision to enter law school is a binding commitment. If your decision is accepted promptly, you are obligated to withdraw all applications to other law schools and refrain from submitting new applications.

Failure to withdraw from other schools may jeopardize your acceptance. The Law School Admission Council, or LSAC, regularly informs law schools where each applicant has filed for a seat or accepted a binding commitment, and breaking agreements is not a good start for your legal career.

Binding scholarships

In some cases, schools attach conditions to specific scholarships that require recipients to withdraw from other law schools by a specified deadline. These restrictions would be stated in the scholarship offer letter.

Scholarship terms vary widely, so carefully review the terms of your offer before jumping to conclusions. Contact the admissions staff if you are unsure of the requirements that apply to you.

Multiple seat depots

Law schools encourage applicants to make a decision before the first deadline for seat filings, usually around April or early May. This frees up space for candidates to be admitted to the waiting list.

Law schools will learn from periodic LSAC reports that students have filed for seats, but there is no requirement to withdraw from other schools where you are accepted or put on the waitlist if you need more time to decide.

Regardless of your withdrawal, seat deposits are non-refundable.

Waiting lists

Unless you have made a binding commitment elsewhere, you can remain on law school waiting lists as late as possible. Of course, if you are no longer interested in a school where you are waitlisted, it is best to email the admissions office to withdraw from the exam.

If you are admitted to a waiting list, be sure to remove yourself from other schools where you have accepted admission as soon as possible, so that another interested candidate can take your place.

New request

If your personal circumstances have changed and you are no longer able to attend law school right away, you may consider requesting a deferral for a year or even longer.

In rare cases, withdrawing from law school and reapplying may make more sense than deferring. In such cases, write a letter to the admissions committee that leaves the door open. Although law schools are unlikely to reserve a place for you without a binding commitment, explaining your situation and your intention to reapply can mitigate any negative impact of your withdrawal.

Regardless of the circumstances of your withdrawal, keep in mind that law school admissions committees receive many withdrawals each cycle. While it’s never easy to say goodbye, it’s inevitable. Handle it professionally to leave a good impression.

Nancy I. Romero