Applying Early Decision to Law School

rope-coilWhat do I think about applying Early Decision (ED) to law school?

I’m against it.

Because of one word.

That word is “binding.”

“Binding” means that if you get into that law school, you are bound to go to that law school.

When you apply Early Decision Binding (and most law schools with Early Decision have a Binding Contract that goes with it), you sign a contract saying that if you gain early admissions into that school, you need to withdraw your applications from other law schools you’ve applied to, pay your seat deposit, and commit to attending that one school.

But what if I get into a different law school that’s higher ranked?

Doesn’t matter. You need to go to the law school you were admitted ED to.

But what if I get into a different law school with a scholarship?

Again, you need to go to the law school that admitted you early with the binding contract.

See?

ED helps the law school. It doesn’t necessarily help you.

Some applicants believe that applying ED will give their application a boost. I don’t believe law schools who say that. In fact, many of them couch it in such a way as to seem like they’re saying that but they’re actually not saying that.

With ED, admissions officers are looking for numbers (GPAs and LSAT scores) to boost their class profile before they get into regular admissions. In other words, if you have the numbers that the school wants, they will want to admit you through ED. If you don’t, they won’t.

So, what should you do instead of applying Early Decision?

Apply in October, November or early December.

Remember, only one third of law school applicants apply by November. Crazy, I know. That bears repeating. Only one third of law school applicants apply by November!

Applying by November is equivalent to applying early. Thus, if you apply early–not through ED–you still have the advantage of hearing your admissions decision before other people hear. More importantly, you have the advantage of being offered scholarships before other applicants.

Do yourself a favor. Let applying ED go.

Focus instead on making your law school application the best it can be and apply regular admission by November or early December.

ps. Still want to apply ED somewhere? Check out George Washington Law. It has one of the only ED programs that grants a full tuition scholarship if you get in.

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2 thoughts on “Applying Early Decision to Law School

  1. Peg, I agree with what you said completely! As I’ve been considering GW, I’ve thought more and more about ED there. I’m glad you mentioned that one as the exception rather than the rule!

    • Glad to hear you agree, Tatum! It would be awesome to get a full tuition scholarship to GW. If more law schools did this as part of their ED programs, I’d be more in favor of them. 🙂

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