Bad Idea Jeans: Calling for a Status Update

February 9, 2009

So it's that time of year when I casually troll through some of the discussion boards out there, just to see what you guys are chatting about. I'm usually amused by some of the "facts" circulating out there -- "Yale has already admitted 80% of its class!!!" "There hasn't been anyone admitted since Dec. 23!!" "Yale is only accepting math majors who play intramural softball!!"-- as though LSN is the representative universe of all of our admits (it is not). Please do not fret. We have not filled our class (or come close to it) and we are admitting students weekly. I am hoping that this assurance will stop a decidedly unamusing trend that seems to have begun earlier than usual this year: calling the Admissions Office, or me personally, to find out the status of your application. I feel like it's my duty, at this point, to step in and let you know: DON'T DO IT. This is an example of what those of us from the previous SNL generation would refer to as Bad Idea Jeans, and I've decided to make B.I.J. a regular column in this blog to help guide applicants through proper admissions etiquette.

Before you read further, please repeat after me: "My application is under active review and Yale will notify me as soon as there is a final decision." Again. Good. Now you can keep going.

Full disclosure: I am 5 months pregnant, which means I am fat, exhausted, and pretty cranky most of the time. That's reason numero uno for not calling to ask about your status. But there are other reasons as well. First, calling about your status tells me that you are either not a regular reader of 203 or don't read the blog very carefully -- for if you had, you would know from previous posts that we send out decisions much later than most schools. Second, your call tells me that you are unaware of the fact that there are roughly 2,000 other people in your same position, but who are waiting patiently in line to hear from us. "I've heard from some other schools, and it would really help me in the planning process if I could know where I stand with Yale." We know. (P.S. -- telling a pregnant woman that you need predictability is more like a bad idea tuxedo.) Finally, I generally have a meeting, a food craving, or a bathroom run every 30 minutes or so, so my stretches of uninterrupted time are precious to me. If you are calling to find out your status, there had better be a VERY good reason.

What might such a reason look like? Oh, I don't know. I can see an appropriate phone call going something like this:

Me:                      "Hello, this is Asha."

Caller:                  "Please hold for the President."

Me:                       "Uh, OK."

2 minutes of The Pointer Sisters, in musak.

The President: "Hello Asha. This is the President. I'm calling to find out about the status of [your name]'s application. I have just offered [your name] a sensitive position in my cabinet, but s/he tells me that s/he cannot commit until there is a final decision from Yale."

At this point, I would have to explain awkwardly to the President that for privacy reasons, I can neither confirm nor deny that such an applicant has applied to Yale, but if that person would like to call me directly, I would be glad to speak with him/her. You could then very legitimately call me and ask about your status. My answer would still be (repeat after me), "Your application is under active review and we will notify you as soon as we have a final decision." But at least I wouldn't be P.O.'d at you. In fact, I might think you're kinda cool.

So that is my B.I.J. lesson for the day. Please be patient. We are working very hard to read your applications thoroughly and we promise to get you an answer as soon as we can. OK, gotta run -- I'm about to eat this keyboard!


Patiently Waiting said:

Hey Asha,

I noticed you specifically mentioned that calling you would be a bad idea, but what about asking on here? I was wondering if you could please tell me my application status...

My LSAC # is L...




February 9, 2009 11:04 PM

Sarah J said:

Thank you for the B.I.J. flashback, and for the comic relief from the stress of applying to law schools.

February 10, 2009 12:18 AM

Adam said:

Posts like this are definitely not what I expected to find whilst cruising law school admissions pages at the early hour of 4:52am, but what a funny surprise! Although I take issue with the Pointer Sisters reference...I'm pretty sure Obama only rocks out to the Fugees...but that's okay, I'll bring it up again 4 years from now when I'm actually eligible to apply to law school.

February 15, 2009 5:53 AM

Jen said:

Thank you for the laughs during this waiting period! :-)

This entry makes me want to attend YLS even more...

February 16, 2009 6:13 PM

Jonathan said:


The BIJ call out, very impressive... makes me rethink my decision not to go with the Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer-themed 250. Anyway, this is by far and away my favorite admissions blog and you can know I am sincere since there's really no benefit to anonymous suckuppery. So thank you.

February 19, 2009 4:10 PM

Chuck said:

Thank goodness I can keep compulsively reading this posting while waiting for my admissions decision to come through...

March 29, 2009 9:13 AM

Kelly Brown said:

The article is very good. Write more please!

June 12, 2009 6:51 PM

Ethan said:

Asha: Comments like this strike me as immature and rather petty. I was surprised to hear them on an official yale admissions blog.

Asha responds: Thanks for the feedback! We are just being honest, while adding a dose of humor. Here is an official version:

      "Yale has a lengthy review process in which every file is read, sometimes by up to six readers. As a result, you will likely hear from Yale much later than from other schools. We send the bulk of our decisions in late March and early April.

      Please do not call to ask about the status of your application. In addition to our being unable to provide you with any meaningful information, handling a large volume of status-check calls detracts from our ability to efficiently process and review other applicants' files. By refraining from calling, you ensure that all of our applicants get the time and attention they deserve on their individual application.

      Please note that we review files in the order they become complete and cannot expedite review of an application. In order to be fair to all of our applicants - all of whom are eager to get a decision - the only final disposition we can offer you in advance of a full faculty review is a rejection.

      Thank you for your patience, and for your interest in Yale Law School."

I hope this is more helpful!

July 18, 2010 9:19 PM