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What It Means To Be Left on 'Hold'

When you apply to law school, you normally expect one of three decisions: admit, reject or waitlist. But there is another possibly as well: hold.

What does 'hold' really mean?

Applicants who are held have not received a decision on their application. Rather, the admissions committee has decided to withhold making a decision until later in the application cycle.

In some cases, the school doesn't have a firm grasp of the strength of their overall application pool at the time your application is reviewed. Therefore, if your file is competitive, but not an 'automatic admit,' the committee will withhold judgment until later in the cycle.

In other cases, the admissions staff might have a question regarding some aspect of your application. They might ask you to supplement your application with additional documents that answer their question or concern. If you find yourself in this situation, make sure you understand what information you're being asked for, and why. Prepare an appropriate supplement and submit it promptly.

Another possibility is that although your file doesn't meet the 'numerical standards' the school typically uses in admissions, the committee really likes your application and will hold it in hopes that they will be able to admit you later in the cycle.

Typically, applicants who are held will receive a decision on their application in March or April. This decision can be admit, reject or waitlist.

– Contributed by Senior Consultant Heike Spahn. Heike served as Associate Director of Admissions and Assistant Dean of Financial Aid at the University of Chicago Law School. She holds her J.D. from the Valparaiso University School of Law, where she later served as Assistant Dean of Admissions.

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