UT Fee Waiver E-mail wrote:A preliminary review of your credentials indicates that you would be a competitive applicant for The University of Texas School of Law. Although we cannot guarantee your admission, we will waive your application fee provided you apply by November 1, 2011, which is prior to our general admission deadline of February 1, 2012. For your convenience, we have included a link to our 2011-2012 Admissions Bulletin . You can download a 2012 UT Law application or apply electronically through LSAC.
If you apply by mail, you must include a copy of this e-mail with your application. To accept our fee waiver offer, you must apply by November 1, 2011. Our early decision admission program is nonbinding. Regretfully, we cannot refund your application fee if you have applied to us prior to this CRS offer.
Please contact Sam Riley, our Director for Admission Programs, at (512) 232-1200, if you have questions regarding UT Law, our admission process, or if you would like to schedule a tour of the Law School. We wish you continued success in your academic endeavors and we look forward to receiving your application.
Assistant Dean for Admission and Financial Aid
You are missing that some sections were in bold, which implied that we couldn't accurately read a succinct and straight-forward note. It's not that it is overtly hostile, it's just a strange tone when compared to every other one that at least begins with some attempt to encourage you to apply based on the strength of the school. This letter is unaddressed and says nothing remotely positive in tone until the very last sentence. It does not encourage you to apply and in fact seems rather reluctant in tone - like we have to extend these things but we're not in any way enthusiastic about you per se so don't go getting a big head. I wasn't planning to apply to UT anyhow, but I certainly would not after this email.
I contrast this with Michigan's approach, which is obviously the polar opposite, and how it basically encouraged me to look more closely at a school that was not initially on my list. I did end up applying, and not only applying but being very excited about the school.
To be more fair, because Michigan is clearly superior in marketing to other law schools, I could make the same comparison with Duke which simply sent a form email. Their friendly extension of a PT/fee waiver also did the job of spiking my interest, pointing out some programs that the school is particularly strong in that could be of interest. Maybe UT thinks that we don't read these things, but I certainly do even from schools that aren't on my list. It also had a weird title - all of the rest said something like "XX Fee Waiver" in the title. This one said "CRS Offer" - huh?
Anyhow, I guess I take it that while they are interviewing us, we are also interviewing them. Most applicants will have more than one school of fairly comparable rank to choose between and I personally worry when it doesn't seem like there is an appreciation for the reciprocal relationship between school and student upfront, before they even get your $$$. I'm quirky that way though, I know, and it probably does come from a job that requires me to always read between the lines and speculate about hidden biases. Still, I wouldn't advise this tactic to a client and I was a little surprised to see it from a well-respected law school. I'm not saying the impression was accurate in any way, but it was certainly not the right impression to be sending out to people you want to apply.