Hehe, well aside from just being March 5th, it's also my birthday...which, at this time, is almost over.
>>I applied to three of these schools in November, but my complete undergrad transcripts were not finalized until Jan 18th or so. Does the admission silence for so long help or hurt me at this point?<<
Well, in my opinion...considering the fact that you applied in November but only really had app complete status around around the 18th of January...I don't think the silence is "long." I think it's normal, in your case. The fact that your application wasn't complete until then is as good as your having waited until the mid-end of January to apply to these schools because they probably didn't even look at your app until after they got that transcript. With applying after the holidays being considered "late" by many schools' standards...I'd say it depends on the school whether or not it helps you or hurts you that you haven't heard anything.
>>Perhaps someone can enlighten me as to what "rolling basis" REALLY means<<
Rolling admissions means the schools look at and usually accept/make decisions on students as they receive applications from this, if their file is complete. This is why applying and having your application COMPLETE early is helpful...after the holidays, it's much harder to have any kind of advantage in getting in because many schools have accepted almost half the students they're going to accept by then. So if everything had been completely done for you in November...you would have been much better off at schools with rolling admissions and probably would have heard from most or all your schools by now.
>>Are they waiting for all the late appliers/feb lsat takers?<<
I don't know what schools do this, but I'd say probably not. I always hear that you don't need to take the LSAT later than December, so Feb takers usually have to wait until the coming fall of that year to apply. Plus, I can't see law schools waiting for anybody...especially at a school with rolling admissions. They will accept as many people as they can off the bat, and later applicants...well, sorry for them. Some schools also hold certain decisions, or maybe even all decisions they make, until a certain date and then start sending them out.
>>or even why some schools (in my case the lower tiers) have an absurdly long application timeline if any at all?<<
Hmmm...okay, you applied to lower tiers, so it's possible that some of them DO wait for Feb LSAT takers and that it might be good that you haven't heard yet, if they have a long timeline. Who knows. I would think it takes them so much longer because they probably get more applicants. I read something the other day that the majority (I, think, 70%) of people who take the LSAT score between 140 and 160...those people might throw in some apps to higher-tier schools, but they are also all going to be applying to some lower-tier schools. So those lower-tier schools probably have to spend a lot of time on these apps and making decisions, especially schools that don't have rolling admissions (those schools will wait until the deadline to start looking at apps, which I feel doesn't save time for them like doing rolling admissions does).
>>Also, why the inconsistency with some schools? For instance a few of my schools have been diligent about confirming the completion of my app, whereas others haven't sent anything<<
Maybe as you have now come to understand, the inconsistencies are probably because of the different ways the schools go about their admissions processes.
>>A few of the schools have even sent me financial aid apps...Does this essentially mean I will be getting a spot, even though they explicitly state that the two are seperate?<<
I don't think this can be assumed, but who knows.
>>I know that there is other people trolling this board that are in a similar boat that I'm in, and that not all of us have the great gpa and lsat which alleviates some of the stress!<<
I think everyone's stressed and not 100% (or even 90%) confident about their chances...particularly those with the great stats. For one thing, I often see people with, like, a 4.0 and a 177 on the LSATs wanting to know what their chances at HYCCN are. I think the higher the schools are you want to get into, the more you worry because they are so much weirder about who they accept and who they turn down. Plus, people usually want to go to these schools very badly and get their hearts set on a top school. With lower-tier schools, it pretty much seems like that if you have the numbers and don't screw up the rest of the application, then you're basically okay and everyone will be shocked if you don't get in...which is not necessarily the case with those who have higher numbers and apply to top schools.
Anyway, just my thoughts.