What Happens Now if You Applied to Law School Early

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For those of you who applied regular decision, I’d skip today’s blog post. You’re either going to get jealous of the Early Action/Decision people I’m talking to today, or you’re going to enjoy it on a schaudenfreude level that will only result in later feelings of guilt (don’t worry, law school will cure you of that).

To everyone who applied EA/ED, you should know shortly whether you’re in or you’re, well, not quite out yet.

ACCEPTANCE

Congratulations! If you applied through a binding ED program, your future is all set. Get your seat deposit in, send in your transcript after graduation, but mostly just enjoy the rest of your senior year on a completely non-scholastic level.

As long as you don’t completely tank the rest of the school year (Ds and Fs, essentially), you should be fine. It’s exceedingly rare to ever hear of a law school admissions decision rescinded because of a student’s lackluster grades in the second semester of senior year. Plus, you should have a little reservoir of credits saved up, so switching the class you end up doing poorly in to P/F is probably a great idea.

Law school will be intense, so enjoy this free time while you can. Finish that novel. Get in shape.

For those who have been accepted through a non-binding, EA program, congrats! You have a great acceptance at which I’m sure you’d be happy attending (if not, why did you apply there?). If this is your first choice, follow the above advice.

If it’s not your first choice, pat yourself on the back and know that you’ve got a solid school that you can attend next year. You will go to law school. You will likely be a lawyer. Someone you went to high school with will likely be jealous of you at your ten-year reunion.

Wait for the other acceptances to come in. Be aware of any deadlines placed on you by your EA schools, and keep up with them. If they have impending deadlines that might pass before you hear from other schools, contact the EA schools to see if you can postpone those deadlines while waiting to hear from somewhere else. Who knows — to sweeten the pot, they might throw some scholarship money at you after they hear that.

DEFERRAL

Some of you may have received letters stating that you were deferred to regular decision. While it certainly sucks, this isn’t the end of the world.

Candidates who get in EA/ED tend to either be overqualified for the program, or on the cusp (only at certain schools). The on-the-cusp students are let in through the ED programs to lock in students who the schools know will attend without needing to be offered scholarship money. The bump in prestige these students get from applying ED costs them scholarship funds offered to other members of the class.

For those of you who were deferred, it’s easy to get down on yourself. Don’t. This isn’t a rejection. Plenty of people who were initially deferred end up attending those schools every year. They just want to see how the applicant pool looks before making a final decision on your application. You have three things going for you right now.

First, you appear more excited about that school and more prepared than other students. You got your application in early. That does count for something.

Second, the number of applicants is down, meaning that there is probably a little less competition this year. That should help your chances, and the schools are trying to gauge this drop without any solid data other than number of LSAT-takers.

Third, the schools probably will allow you to submit a Letter of Continued Interest, or additional LoRs or essays. More stuff = more betterness. Write those essays, ask some more professors for letters, and show the school you’re interested. Law schools are a lot like high school boys — they don’t care who likes them, as long as someone does.

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