FAQs for Students on Hold

In an effort to answer questions you may have about the admissions process from this point forward, the Admissions Office has created the following list of frequently asked questions. We understand the time and effort you have invested in your application and hope this information will be helpful to you. We sincerely appreciate your patience and continued interest in Northwestern Law's unique learning community.


What does it mean to be placed on "hold"?

While we are unable to provide an offer of admission at this time, the Admissions Committee found certain aspects of your application to be compelling. Therefore, the Committee does not want to deny you outright.

Being placed on hold also means that our class is not yet full. This is different than being placed on the summer waitlist, which means that the class is full and that you may only be admitted on a space available basis if a candidate who has committed later withdraws.

Are there spaces available and what are my chances for admission?

We anticipate admitting some candidates who have been placed on hold. However, the applicant pool varies each year so we cannot predict exactly how many candidates will be placed on hold or how many applicants will be offered admission after being placed on hold. Unfortunately, because candidates on hold are not placed in ranked order, we are unable to assess an individual applicant’s chances for admission.

What can I do if I am still interested in attending Northwestern Law and wish to enhance my chances for admission?

We encourage applicants placed on hold to submit letters of continued interest or additional letters of recommendation. You should also notify us of any job promotions, honors, or other accolades you have received since submitting your application. All new information should be submitted electronically as an email attachment sent to admissions@law.northwestern.eduIf you have earned new grades, official transcripts should be sent to LSAC so we can receive an updated CAS report with this information. 

Can I submit additional writing samples or information about myself?

Absolutely! The Admissions Committee developed three optional questions for applicants on hold. Throughout the application process we learned a lot about your ambition, motivation for law school, academic abilities, and career goals. The purpose of these optional assignments is to learn more about you as a person.

The optional hold assignment questions are as follows:

  1. If you could instantly change any current U.S. law or policy, which would it be and what would you change?

  2. Many laypeople hold strong negative stereotypes about attorneys and court systems. Which of these negative stereotypes do you think are true, and how might justice system behavior be effectively changed to encourage more confidence in the general public?

  3. If you were interviewing applicants for admission to Northwestern University School of Law, what traits would you characterize as important? Mandatory?

You can respond to these questions in written or video format, and responses should be submitted through your electronic Hold Portfolio. Instructions on how to access your Hold Portfolio will be sent to you via email within a week of receiving your hold decision. 

Does being placed on hold list impact my ability to receive a scholarship?

All scholarships at Northwestern Law are determined based on a combination of merit and need-based factors and are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. If you are offered admission, your ability to receive a scholarship would depend on the time of year and availability of funds. Please visit our financial aid section of our website for more information about the financial aid application process.

How do I remove myself from consideration?

Please complete our Hold Response Form

Whom should I contact if I still have questions?

If you have remaining questions or concerns about the hold process, please call us at (312) 503-8465. As stated in your decision letter, we have designated Wednesdays between 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. CST to answer your questions. You can also email your hold-related questions to admissions@law.northwestern.edu on any day.