April Angst: “Deposits are Due and I’m Still Waiting!”
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.
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Ann Levine is the author of the best selling law school admission guide book: The Law School Admission Game and made admissions decisions at two ABA-approved law schools. In 2004 she founded Law School Expert and has helped thousands of applicants navigate the tough process to get into law school.
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