If you are thinking about when to apply to law school, keep in mind that there are different criteria for qualifying for Law programs than for another academic course of study. The application period lasts almost two semesters, October to February; at some institutions, it may be longer depending on the intake. There is “rolling admissions,” which is where the school will consistently reveal information about applications during those months.
Generally, these programs would not commence until there are sufficient students placed in the program for that period. As such, most programs, because of their popularity, would have a long list of students on the waiting list. Therefore, if you are interested in a Law program, be prepared to complete your application well in advance, this gives you a better chance of being successfully admitted.
Continue reading as we delve into the how and when do you apply to law school, along with other pointers that will help you to better understand this process. Do not worry; we will prepare you for the upcoming matriculation season.
This procedure is advantageous for the institution because they would have an extended period of time to consider candidates and analyze who best suits the requirements of the programme. In addition, the institution has a greater amount of time to secure applications, when they use ‘rolling applications.’
You will find that as the period rolls on the criteria might be altered. The institution might have a decreased acceptance rate and be very stringent in the selection process. Law is one of the more highly rated programs, and as such, many schools will want to maintain a high standard. That means they will want the best of best, attending and later graduating successfully from their program. This is a way of securing a great reputation, which will further attract top-quality students. US News and World Report take these factors into consideration when ranking schools; so remember this as you learn about when Law school applications open.
If you have followed college matriculation or the college rankings, you will already know that all colleges always want to have the preeminent students in the programs. Thereby, the ‘rolling admissions’ will increase the chances of stronger students being considered if they miss the initial opening, because they were awaiting their LSAT results from December. The students who do not matriculate successfully will then be filtered to lower ranking institutions.
Keep in mind that the thing about rolling admissions is it does leave additional time to apply, the chances of getting through is minimal. Despite the fact that they continue to take applications for the causes previously stipulated, for these schools, their principal inducement is to admit numerous applicants near the beginning; this will make them better prepared and have sufficient resources on hand for the start of the academic year.
It is not that on the odd occasion, some Law Programs will initially examine a candidate and decide that another candidate may be better, if they keep the window open, for longer. They allow the requirements of the application process to wean out students; this makes the process fairer.
There is one exception to this rule, and that is ‘yield protection.’ Some students might get waitlisted, if they are in the second best category, in terms of grades; i.e. (~75th percentile or better). Then as the application draws to a close, a decision is then made, whether to accept them or not. Why does this happen? Because oftentimes, these candidates might qualify for a higher ranked school; chances are the applicant would jump at that opportunity.
The school waiting for some indication of interest from such a candidate is a good thing. If it is that you find yourself in this situation, make a call to the school of your choice, because showing interest might actually work in your favor; thereby, securing a spot for you.
The further along that the application process is, the more likely all the spots have already been taken. The competition for attending such an institution is certainly guaranteed to be that more stringent, as the window closes and fewer seats might be available. Waitlisted applicants and late applicant entrants will likely compete for the same positions. So remember, if you are considering when do you apply for law school, your chances dwindle the later you submit your application.
When to Submit Applications?
Let’s lessen your anxieties first. Lay waiting the admissions officer will not grant you a better chance of being admitted into the program. The applications are passed on to the relevant department for consideration in batches. In many cases, they are held until December. Therefore, ensure that you submit our application in that first semester, before December and it will be in the first batch for contemplation.
For those of you who are sitting the LSATs in October, you will have your results in time for that November submission. At this time, the majority of the placement positions are still available, and you are still in good stead.
There is another argument as to when you should submit your application. Yes, what we have highlighted before seems like a common sense positions. However, in recent times this has been changing somewhat because more and more schools are seeing less interested candidates early in the application process and as such the window is open longer. Therefore, thanksgiving used to be a cut-off time. December would definitely be too late. Now that is not the reality.
Even the New York Times has posted an article about this academic trend over the last couple years. It seems that fewer candidates are interested in law programs and as such, schools are the ones competing for students. Classes are seeing lower registration number. As such, it has been projected that late applicants are having more successes matriculating for these programs in the late winter months of January or February; even later.
Nonetheless, we recommend that you stay on the safe side and apply earlier unless circumstances negate this being possible. It shouldn’t be that after reading this review, you are left with the thought that you can make late submissions. Laziness usually offers bad rewards, and you are likely to mess up a perfectly good chance, because of delay.
Research Further Information
College is a different level of academic competition, and as such you will be required to show persistence, tenacity, and initiative. This will reflect from the application process until you complete your program. So, we recommend that you peruse the school’s website and become intimately familiar with what is posted there. They will usually share in-depth information about their application periods for all programs available and any extensions that might be given.
You can also peruse the internet for reliable Law Program forums, like TLS. These will have a repository of great, shared content that will be beneficial to you. Anne Levine author of The Law School Admission Game has provided a great resource, used by many potential Law students. She was previously a dean for a Law faculty, of not only one, but two institutions. Her area of responsibility was admissions and has such great insight that will aid any candidate.