Law Schools and Rolling Admissions: The Absolute Truth

Law School Expert Blog

The nonsense about applying early, which I’ve always said is better than applying later, is up for discussion on TLS.

Here are the facts:

#1: Straight up – applying earlier is better ASSUMING you would have the same #s applying later.

#2: Therefore, if you would have a better LSAT score by waiting for the December LSAT, then wait to apply.

#3: The importance of applying early was definitely diminished in the Fall 2013 cycle, as evidenced by the fact that I had someone with a 3.4 and 163 who applied to a Top 20 law school in June and got in off the waiting list. That never would’ve happened in 2010! (And my clients who applied in December got into the same schools as people with similar numbers who applied in October).

I’m happy to answer questions about this. Because I have so many examples of people who were successful with December LSAT scores in 2013 – getting into huge reach schools – I included this as a significant change in the 2013 version of “The Law School Admission Game”. As stated in my post “Three Law School Admission Myths Debunked” – I felt differently at the height of applications in 2009, but times change and so do strategies….

12 Responses

  1. So if I am planning to take both October and December, I should wait to apply until my lsat score for December is out?

  2. I just graduated GWU in May and have an LSAT score of 165 with a 3.6 GPA. I’ll be re-taking the LSAT in 2 weeks, hoping to raise my score by a couple of points. I was thinking of applying early decision to a school as I’ve heard chances are better this way, and initially I was going to apply Early to Georgetown, but now I’m wondering whether it’s wiser to apply Early Decision to a school even more out of my reach, such as Columbia Law (obviously ranked a couple of spots higher than Georgetown). I would be equally happy going to either school, but between the 2 would choose Columbia for its higher ranking. Which one should I apply Early to?

    1. Hi Rajah,
      You should apply ED to the school you would absolutely, no matter what, attend if admitted. If you would feel upset to get into both GULC and Columbia and be bound to GULC, then you shouldn’t apply binding there. So much depends on whether your new LSAT score and other pieces of your application will put you in the running at Columbia… Right now, I’d say (just on the numbers) that they wouldn’t, but you might turn things around with your October LSAT score. So get your applications ready for when scores come out, and make a decision then about whether/where to apply binding.

  3. I’m beginning my Law School Application process, hoping to submit for Fall 2015 acceptance. I’m taking my LSAT in June and have already collected my transcripts and sent out some recommendation requests. I’ve been out of school for a couple years, so its looking like getting recommendations from professors is proving a bit difficult for one reason or another. I’m still just a bit overwhelmed by the whole process, and can already feel application paranoia setting in. I know a lot of the schools I want to apply for are relatively selective (even reflecting the recent trends in applications). I’m always afraid I just won’t stand out enough, especially since I waited until after achieving my B.A. and M.Ed. and being in the work force for a little while before applying.

    1. Hi Catherine – sorry I just saw this comment for some reason! I apologize! I will be writing an article for ATL next month about non-traditional applicants but you may want to start by reading The Law School Admission Game. I think it would definitely help with the anxiety you are feeling.

  4. I took the LSAT last year and got a 150. Not a good score obviously for the schools I want to get into (Stanford, NYU, etc.) so I am taking it again in September this year. When should I send in my application since I am taking the test in September? Can I apply early and have them wait for my LSAT score? Or should I wait until I receive my LSAT score to apply?

    1. Veda, I love this question. PLEASE wait for your LSAT score. That way you can submit an addendum with your application to explain the increase. You can’t have your application reviewed without the score – or wouldn’t want to – so there’s no incentive to rush the application. I’ve seen one of the schools you mentioned accidentally reject someone while they had a pending LSAT score…

  5. I’m 41 years old, and I am graduating this Spring and taking the LSAT in June. Is it too late to apply for the fall, once my Score returns? Or should I wait for next year? Thank you.

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