Law School Discussion

Feb 1 -- too late to apply?

Feb 1 -- too late to apply?
« on: January 16, 2009, 04:25:32 PM »
Got a very late start with my apps, and am wondering if it's simply too late in the game to apply.  Should I just wait for another cycle, or go ahead now?  As far as the schools I'm applying to, they are mid-tier schools, in the 40-80 range (i.e st. johns, brooklyn...)

Thanks for the help, you guys are the best.


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Re: Feb 1 -- too late to apply?
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2009, 05:06:08 PM »
Well, Yes... No.... Depends.  First, what are the cut-off dates for applications at the schools you want to attend?  If they're not until Feb-March-April, depending on your #'s, I'd say you'll be fine.  Over half the applications, from what I've heard, roll in starting in January.  It's always better to apply early, but people get in late all the time as well.  Your chances are just better early.

Once again, without knowing your stats, it's too hard to say.  Goto, look up the schools you want to attend, look at last years data, and see if anyone with similar stats got in.


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Re: Feb 1 -- too late to apply?
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2009, 05:31:42 PM »
Harms of applying now:

(1) Diminished probability of acceptances, especially at targets and reaches.
(2) If you're not satisfied with your cycle and decide to apply again next year, you will have to spend another $200-$300 on applications.
(3) Much of the scholarship money has already been offered to other people.
(4) If you wait 6-12 weeks from your application date of February 1st for your acceptances, which is a pretty normal amount of time, then you are looking at having to make plans to move as late as May.

Benefits of applying anyway:

(1) There's still a chance of being accepted.
(2) If you're unsatisfied with this cycle and apply again in the fall, you will have all your materials "ready to go", a cycle's experience on writing essays that will let you revise your essays with much skill, and you have the opportunity to apply RIGHT away in the fall without inevitably having to wait for LOR's, transcripts, etc. to get processed.
(3)  You can still get scholarships, even if they *might* not be as high.

If I were you and $300 wouldn't break my back?  I'd apply now, if you can get it all in by the deadline.  Do a realistic assessment of where you *should* be able to get accepted to, and where you absolutely *want* to go.  Set your standards somewhat high (most people can get into at least one or two reaches). If you underperform relative to your realistic expectations, or don't get in anywhere that "tickles" you, then apply again in the fall as soon as the school starts taking applications. 

You will then likely be accepted some places by October or November, when most other people are just starting to think about writing their essays.  Also, just as applying very late is a slight detriment to your chances, applying very early is a slight boon as schools are more willing to take "sub par" applicants that are personally interesting.  Later in the winter, I imagine acceptances becoming a bit more of a numbers game to the adcomms as they are fine-tuning their pool of admitted students to achieve the 25/50/75 numbers they want.  I applied in  November-December and considered this approach if I didn't get into a T14 with my 169 and 3.4 GPA.

Alternatively, you could "pretend" like you're applying now.  Ask for your LORs, send your transcript in, write your main essays as well as additional essays as required by particular applications.  In September, revisit your essays and make improvements as you see fit.  I actually envy people who got their applications out right away in the fall.  Another benefit to this approach, besides the increased chances of being admitted into a reach school, is that you get an extra year off from school.  Trust me, law school is no picnic.  There will be multiple-week periods where you are so busy you feel like a robot and wish to anything you had enough time to drink some beers and play your favorite video game.  Also, this way you won't have to worry about any "what ifs" later on.  "What if I didn't go to the [Target School] I was accepted to in the spring, but waited until the fall and maybe got into my dream [Reach School] instead?"

Re: Feb 1 -- too late to apply?
« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2009, 04:06:37 PM »
Thanks for the advice Tetris.

Here are a few quick questions about some gray areas:

1. Do schools report the gpa/lsat scores of ADMITTED applicants or do these numbers only include the people who actually end up attending?

2. Also, could someone apply now and possibly be in a better position of getting admitted/getting a scholarship because some of the people who applied in the fall still haven't put in their seat deposit or formally accepted their offer or scholarship?

3. Do schools ever admit you w/ no scholarship and then come out and tell you that you won a scholarship late in the game, like when they realized that some of the scholarships they had awarded earlier will not be used, in order to entice you to commit?


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Re: Feb 1 -- too late to apply?
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2009, 11:04:44 PM »
If you go through LSN you will see that there is still scholarship money available.  Depending on your numbers you still have a chance at $$ applying in February.