Applying to Law School FAQ
When Should You Apply to Law School?
The question may arise…”When should I apply to law school?“
While each school may vary, the general range of application submissions to begin law school in the fall is October-February. (Again, this can vary school by school.) For a full law school application timeline, click here.
Today, we’ll examine whether it is more beneficial to apply to law school earlier in the application acceptance process, or to apply later.
(This will not be including early decision but general applications)
Early Applications- Applying to Law School Early
There are numerous benefits to applying to law school early compared to applying to law school later in the application process. For one, it shows the law schools you are applying too that you are organized, well put together, and on the ball.
Keep in mind it takes a lot of time to put together a strong law school application, and to be have a strong application ready early on says a lot of good things about you before they even take time to look at your application.
This does not mean the application must be sent on the first day, but more so within the first few months of application acceptance.
Secondly, as your application is coming in early, there is a higher chance of acceptance, as the law school admissions committee has not overlooked hundreds, if not thousands, of applications.
This is especially important if your grades are more on the fence for the average acceptance. It’s possible they may underestimate the number of “quality” applicants who may apply.
Third, those will benefit most from sending in their law school application early are those who either have great credentials but little “outside” experience, or someone who may have a certain amount of explaining in their application for time off from school or work.
For those who decided to take time off and feel it’s necessary to explain in the application, it takes time and mental energy to read through, and applying early will give admissions adequate time to do so.
Keep in mind the admissions office goes through many applications, and when they first come in, those just with good grades and interesting essay should suffice.
However, as more applications come in, and it becomes more competitive, the bar will be raised. An application that once would have been accepted may not seem more standard and become denied admission.
This is why as time goes in, it becomes more important for your application to stand out (of course, you always want your application to stand out, but the more time goes by, the more it will have to stand out). Earlier on, it will not be as much of a concern.
Later Applications- Applying to Law School Later
Now you may be thinking, “Ok, I have great credentials, a significant amount of outside experience, and a top LSAT score, I can apply later then right?”
Well, not exactly.
Truth be told, there’s only one reason to ever apply later than early: you need more time to build your resume/application.
The only real benefit to sending your law school application in later would be if a student needs more time to develop their application. Of course, the best way to avoid this is to focus on building your application well before it’s time to apply. (We’re talking years before).
Obviously, if you’re away in another country for charity or working an overseas internship or something similar, and are applying because you were away and literally had no time to apply, that’s a legitimate reason to apply late.
Another scenario would be someone who’s currently in college and expects their fall grades to add a significant amount of value to their application, and are waiting for fall grades to be posted.
Outside of these benefits, the only other benefit would be if a school misjudges the amount of quality applications it expects to receives, and have denied many students, and now have more room for acceptance.
However, this is something that cannot be predicted, and is very rare with the top law schools. It would be much more beneficial to apply early before more applications are received, than to wait and hope those who apply are turned down first.
Final Solution: When Should You Apply to Law School
It’s simple: do you need more time to build your resume/application. If the answer is yes, apply later. If the answer is “no”, apply earlier.
This doesn’t mean the application must be sent the first day of acceptance or to rush the application and send in a sloppy application. You want your law school application to be well thought out.
What it does mean is to have your application completed early, such as several months before applications are accepted. This will allow more time to re-write the essays, have others look over your application, and have the choice to submit your application early without stress or pressure of having it completed.
Secondly, in the off chance, you forget to include something in your application, there will be time to fix the error if you apply to law school earlier, rather than later.
So, to conclude today’s question, unless you need more time to build your resume/application with more credentials, it is better to apply to law school early, rather than later.
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