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What to Do Once Law School Applications Start Coming Back

Tom Petty and his Heartbreakers knew it all too well. The waiting is indeed the hardest part. And while those fine gents were almost certainly not waiting to receive the results of law school applications, misery has not ceased to enjoy company. You no doubt felt a great sense of accomplishment when you completed and sent in all of your law school applications (you did do that, right?). However, that feeling has since faded into feverish nail biting.

Unfortunately, that self-administered oral manicure isn’t likely to stop in the extremely near future. Granted, most law schools attempt to admit students on a rolling basis. That is, the sooner you complete your law school application, the sooner you should (theoretically) get a response. Nonetheless, law schools mostly indicate that they’ll do their very best to get you a response before the end of April (sometimes earlier). It is, after all, in their nature to make sure they don’t actually make any guarantees.

So, what are you to do once those responses start trickling in? First, don’t be discouraged by any rejections. Very, very few get into every law school to which they apply. Also, don’t lose your mind with excitement over acceptances. Rather, you’d do well to wait until you’ve heard from all the schools to which you’ve applied. This is true for a couple of reasons.

First, you can use an acceptance at a better school to try and squeeze some dollars out of a lesser school. Play some hardball. Tell the lesser school you’re considering them, but you have an acceptance letter from a higher ranked school. Subtly let them know that money might be an issue and see what sort of inducement they throw your way. It can’t hurt. After all, you’ve got a higher ranked law school in your back pocket.

Second, you’d do well not to make any rash decisions. Take your time. If your means allow it, visit some of the campuses to which you’ve been accepted. Soak in the local culture. Get a sense of the place. See how the area suits you. Talk to those already enrolled. The more information you gather, the better decision you’ll make.

And with that, I wish you all the best of luck in your law school applications.