The deadlines for seat deposits at law schools are rapidly approaching. Meaning that it is time to decide where you will spend the next three years of your life. In many cases, these decisions prove difficult. Scholarships, living expenses, geographic locations and other considerations all play a part in the decision process. We at PLAS would like to offer a few tips to help you through this process and an important disclaimer as well.
When you applied to your list of schools, you likely had them ranked in some sort of order. One idea is to stick to your pre-application ranking. This allows you to make a seemingly difficult decision simpler. However, as scholarships often times accompany the acceptance letters, some schools may seem more attractive than before. If this is the case, try to gain as much information as you can before the seat deposit deadline. Visit campuses, schedule phone appointments, speak with career counseling, discuss your options with knowledgeable relatives, etc. Consider: What information will help you make this decision? The bottom line is that you have to make a decision. So make a choice and embrace whatever decision you make. Then you can begin thinking about next steps such as housing or roommates.
Many applicants view the law school selection process as a Right/Wrong dichotomy. They think that if the pick the Right law school, everything will be wonderful and life will be perfect. If they pick the Wrong law school, life will be miserable and they will spend their days regretting it. This is not helpful and in most cases, not true. It is more accurate to approach this decision by acknowledging that there is no one perfect law school for everyone. Every law school will have strengths and weaknesses. Your job should be to consider what your priorities are in a legal education, and to choose a school that matches those priorities. Then, once you are in law school, take advantage of every opportunity, program, and connection they offer to maximize your law school experience.
If you need extra time to make your decision, you may ask for an extension. Before asking for an extension, consider: What am I going to do with this extra week that will make my decision easier for me? For most people, your situation will be exactly the same one week from now–it’s just delaying the decision. If you absolutely need the extra time, request it and use it wisely.
Now, for the disclaimer: one option you should not consider is submitting many final seat deposits at multiple law schools. Read this excerpt from LSAC:
“Applicants should be aware that a law school is not required to maintain an offer of admission if it discovers that the applicant has accepted an offer at another institution. Beginning on May 15 of each year, law schools may be provided with information concerning all enrollment commitments to any law school made by those applicants who have indicated an intention to enroll in that school’s entering class. Applicants should be sure that they understand policies on multiple commitment deposits set by schools to which they have applied.” (http://www.lsac.org/jd/lsat/misconduct-and-irregularities/what-to-expect?sfvrsn=2).
Submitting multiple seat deposits is a tricky business. Schools can retract your offer of admission, the practice is costly and borderline unethical, and it only prolongs the decision process. You have done all the hard work to receive these offers so take the last step and make your choice. Then you can relax – at least until September.