There is so much going on in the world of law school applicants right now that I feel compelled to address some of the recent trends. Think of this as a “Super Blog-Post” because it’s going to be long and involved and a little all over the place. I hope it’s also the most worthwhile law school admission related reading you’ve done in a while, and certainly it’s time better spent than reading all the gloating posts on discussion forums from people deciding between Harvard and Stanford.
Topic #1: April Angst
What I like to call “April Angst” is the patent unfairness of having deposit deadlines approaching and still not hearing anything back from many of the schools you applied to. This sucks. It totally sucks. You held up your end of the bargain and applied to law school in a timely fashion and the law schools are not responding accordingly. Be bitter. Be upset. Just don’t do anything rash. This is just par for the course. It happens every year and it happens to everyone. Put in a seat deposit somewhere while keeping an open mind about where you might attend. Don’t sign any leases yet. As schools get deposits back from already-admitted applicants, they will slowly open up spots. Hang in there.
Topic #2. Student Loans.
Please, please, please do your research about the availability of funding options before commiting yourself to an expensive private school in an expensive city. Sallie Mae announced this week that it will be requiring students to pay monthly interest on their loans while in school. This could amount to $500/month, which ain’t peanuts on a student budget when you’re prohibited from working more than 5 hours a week as a full time law student. If this isn’t changing how you choose a law school, then you are probably the person who won’t need any loans in the first place and will simply be writing a check for everything from the get-go. This is a big deal. Don’t underestimate its importance.
Topic #3.Don’t panic.
Right now, many applicants have not heard back from any schools – especially February LSAT takers. Please don’t panic and start thinking about developing a worst case scenario plan. Reapplying for Fall 2010 and/or deferring admission to the one school you’ve heard back from is not necessarily going to be a wise plan this year. Be prepared. Fall 2010 admission is going to be even more competitive than Fall 2009 has been. February LSAT takers were up by 11% and law schools are bracing for a huge influx of applications. Applications will be up overall, applications to top law schools will be WAY up because those schools offer (generally) greater job prospects, and more people will be fighting for scholarships to schools at all levels – thereby increasing the popularity of lower ranked schools. If you get into a decent law school this year and it’s one you can afford, it might be wise to go ahead and start rather than waiting to reapply or defer for Fall 2010 admission.
I will happily address your questions, comments and concerns about this. And, to make sure you don’t miss further updates please subscribe to the blog. Thanks so much!
THANK YOU! I really, really, really needed the reassurance. If I do end up having to put up a seat deposit for the one school that I’ve hear back from, what happens if I later decide to go to another school? Sorry if this is a FAQ and I’m making you repeat yourself.
It’s totally ok. The biggest risk is losing the money from the first deposit when you withdraw. Each school has different policies in this regard.
Would you then advise, let’s say, in order to perhaps maximize options and hold off for a year before applying as opposed to in 2010 if possible?
Not necessarily. There’s no reason to assume 2011 will be better, and perhaps it’ll be harder. You never know when student loans will be tougher to obtain, etc.
This post is full of good information and excellent advice, as usual! I appreciate all that you do to keep us informed, Ann!
I am in this exact situation. Four schools have offered me admission, 2 with scholarships. However I am still waiting on all tier 3 schools to decide. My top choice has not even put me in review yet. What can I expect from them at this point? Also, how do I express to them that I will matriculate there if offered admission even if I do put a seat deposit at one other school?
I was just waitlisted to my #1 school, and I sent in my WL acceptance form. My question is, since I know that their 1st deposit deadline in April 15th, should I attempt to visit before that deadline, send in a LOCI before that deadline, or both? I plan on doing both of these over time, but I didn’t know if it would be beneficial to do them so quickly as to show my interest before the deadline. Also, if I do both, should I visit prior to sending the LOCI so that I can highlight my visit in the letter? Thanks for the input!
Your ideal plan is to contact the law school/visit AFTER the deposit deadline, when they will have a better idea of how their deposits shaped up.