Within the next month hopefully everyone will at least be hearing back from places they want to go to for law school. Shortly I’ll be changing the general direction of the blog too. It’ll go from a mostly LSAT/admissions mode to more specific information. Eventually, most things will, of course, center around the school I choose, although I still think there’s value in reading about a different law school. After all, 1L is unlikely to be too terribly different, especially giving the ABA mandate that all school’s teach the same core subject matter to 1Ls. Having said that, and while I have a general idea of where I’ll be attending in the fall, I have not committed to my decision yet. I still have a few applications out there in the ether.
Given that I’ve gotten into most of my schools, I’m still waiting to hear back from a few, and I’ve been wait-listed at two, my guess is a lot of you are in the same situation. For those acceptances, don’t they feel great? Nothing is better than getting that letter of acceptance, especially when it comes with those lovely dollar $ign$ designating that they’ll shave off tens of thousands of dollars. The only problem is, after one of those, now you’ve got to make a tough decision and start your short-list. Of course, you can always go and check out my handy formula on how to rank law schools on your terms. Of course, after the acceptances there’s a chance you’ll run across the wait-list letter. It took me a lot of thinking to figure out how to approach these things. The first instinct of course is, why not stay on the wait-list? It can’t hurt right? Well, from what I’ve been able to gather, wait-lists essentially don’t go into effect until April at the soonest. For many schools, that’s about the time seat deposits and letters of intent are do. This really rules out trying to stay on a wait-list for too long. Considering they may not admit you until August, and getting in off the wait-list is anything but certain.
Keeping all this in mind, I’d advise not going the wait-list route for more than one school. I’d also recommend only doing it for that one school that is in your top three running. I plan on notifying the one wait-list I’ve decided to go with by the end of March to remove me if I haven’t heard back from them by then. Banking on your wait-list school when you’ve been accepted elsewhere is a huge risk, especially if you hold onto it past the April 16th deadlines, you may not be attending law school in the fall. Although there’s always chances for great things off the wait-list. If you believe things over at LawSchoolNumbers there’s always a chance, especially if you’re a splitter, that you get a scholarship off of a wait-list. Like I said earlier in the post, I’m a huge fan of creating a running short-list of schools as you’re seeing acceptances, wait-lists, and denials roll in. I had my running list of schools prior to any decisions when I applied. It’s safe to say all those initial rankings of my own have altered a decent bit. Especially in light of scholarship money, a huge factor that will probably sell me on my final choice.
When it comes down to law school decisions, I’m a huge fan of reducing future risks. The legal market is anything but certain in this day and age. While there’s some credence to picking a more prestigious and highly ranked school, you always have to factor in employment options in a particular market (unless you’re going to a T-14, your prospects are probably fairly regional), cost of attendance (this is where scholarships can play a huge part in reducing your cost), and bar pass rates (what’s the point of going to law school if you don’t actually pass the bar and become an attorney).
Having said all that, I hope everyone enjoys the holiday break from classes. Some of you may have graduated early, and for the rest of us, we’ve only got one more semester to go. Law school is getting so close I can taste it, enjoy the time away from classes, relish in those acceptances that’ll be rolling in over the next month, and I’ll see you all next week for my next blog post!