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In Law School Admissions, Timing Isn’t Everything

A guest post by Blueprint admissions consultant Christina Paquette.

Ah, October. The smell of leaves, the taste of Halloween candy, and the panic of law school hopefuls rushing to get their applications in.

But beware, early birds; you won’t always get the worm just for showing up first. While many law schools have rolling admissions, it is far better to submit an application that is well thought-out and includes an LSAT score that you are proud of than hurrying to get in an app that your friends reassured you was “fine.” Think hard about whether you did your best, or maybe if taking the December LSAT or spending an extra couple weeks rewriting your personal statement would really make your application shine. If you do decide to take the LSAT again in December, make sure you have all of the other parts of your application ready to be sent the minute that score comes back (okay, maybe not actually that minute; we don’t want you to profess your love to any admissions officers via addenda because you started celebrating a bit too early).

So you want some hard dates to figure out when is early and when is late? To you, baby gunner, I will say that applications submitted by November 15 are early, applications sent in early October are super early, and you are usually at a disadvantage if you get in your applications after January 5.

And what about those confusing “early application” and “early decision” classifications? Here’s the lowdown (but you didn’t hear it from me, aight, kid?): early decision is binding; early action just means you are likely to get a decision faster.

There are pros and cons to each. For example, an early decision application indicates to a law school that you will not prey on its fear of rejection. If it likes you, it will be more willing to overlook some of your minor flaws. But if you get accepted by your early decision school, you lose your ability to factor into your decision the amount of financial aid you will receive and bargain with the financial aid you receive from other schools.

Pleasant applying to all! This time next year it will all be a distant memory, and you can go back to scheming about that Coneheads Halloween costume you always meant to pull off.