It’s a busy time right now for those of you working on your law school applications. One frequent question we hear over and over again from applicants is “when is the best time to submit my law school application?” When is the best time to get that application in front of the admissions committee? Is there any significance to timing?
Would you like to hear what some of the Deans of Admissions at the law schools you are applying to have to say in response to these questions? In a few of our recent episodes, Law School Podcaster spoke with the people in charge of admissions at UCLA School of Law, Georgetown University Law Center, University of Chicago Law School and George Washington University Law School and asked them to share their views on when the best time is to submit your application and the reasons for this strategy.
UCLA School of Law, Assistant Dean for Admissions and Financial Aid, Rob Schwartz tells us that, “in general, it’s better to be able to apply earlier in the process — particularly for very selective law schools that are getting thousands and thousands of applicants.” In our segment, “Law School Application Strategy: What You Can Do Now to Help You Get Accepted,” Dean Schwartz explains: “Most people will tell you that it is certainly better to submit your application earlier than later. For example, at UCLA, our application deadline is February 1st, we received about 8,200 applicants this year and we’re only going to admit a class of 300. We do admit conservatively enough because we know that we’re going to be getting applications through February 1st and we know there are going to be applications that will come in later that we are going to want to admit to the law school.”
What does “early” mean? Schwartz says that “[g]enerally, it is good advice to get it in as soon as possible. I generally would say to people to try to shoot for the latest by the Christmas, New Year’s period and if you can get it in by Thanksgiving or between Thanksgiving and Christmas, even better.”
Dean of Admissions at Georgetown University Law Center, Andy Cornblatt, agrees with that time frame. In our segment, “Creating the Killer Law School Application: A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating the Best Application,” Dean Cornblatt offered tips to law school applicants and said “I think probably the most underrated piece of this, is when to apply. Most law schools have rolling admissions and that means the sooner you apply, the better your chances are of being admitted. So while the application deadline is February 1st, I strongly suggest that applicants get their application in before Thanksgiving and that means usually that most of our successful applicants take the LSAT in June or October of the application cycle that they are in. December is just fine, but if you want early consideration, which really helps your chances, you want to have already have taken the LSAT, which means that I would recommend that most students, if they can, take it in June or October of the application cycle that they are in.”
The application process provides several opportunities for applicants to stand out and our experts tell us that getting your application in early communicates something significant to the admissions committee. Dean Cornblatt at Georgetown offered this insight: “Someone who is on top of their game and who is applying early and who is in the mix sooner rather than later. That communicates to us someone who is organized and someone who is really interested.”
While earlier is better than later, don’t submit your application until it’s in top form and error free! Consider these words of advice from Anne Richard, Associate Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, for George Washington University Law School. “The time to submit the application is when it is done and in the best shape possible but, earlier is better, because I believe most law schools have a rolling admissions process.”
Finally, even if you get your application in early, don’t read too much into the fact that you don’t hear back right away. Assistant Dean for Admissions at The University of Chicago Law School, Ann Perry, advises applicants to understand that the rolling admissions cycle is a process that requires some patience. “I think the applicant needs to just realize that they need patience in the admissions cycle, meaning that just when they turn in their application, they are not going to get an answer within a week. They need to give the schools time to review all of their applications as they are making their decision.”
Tune in to the full shows, “Law School Application Strategy: What You Can Do Now To Help You Get Accepted” and “Creating the Killer Law School Application: A Step-by-Step Guide To Creating The Best Application” to hear more tips from these experts on how to make your law school application stand out!
Law School Podcaster is also working on a new show, “The Law School Personal Statement and Letters of Recommendation,” to help you with these important parts of your application.