This week’s podcast discusses the concept of early decision with law school applications. Some schools offer applicants the option to “apply early” to schools, which can be beneficial to students seeking entrance to a particular school. Early decision applicants often have an earlier deadline for their application, and will obtain their admissions decision sooner. This allows applicants to know far in advance if they have been admitted to the school of their choice. However, most early decisions are also binding, which require the student to attend the program they were admitted to, and to withdraw all applications with other schools.
On the program we have Anna Ivey, author of The Ivey Guide to Law School Admissions; Sarah Zearfoss, Assistant Dean for Admissions at the University of Michigan Law School; and Al Watson, Assistant Dean and Director of Admissions and Financial Aid at the University of Cincinnati College of Law.
Our first guest, Anna Ivey, says that when applying early decision, students should make sure that the school is their first choice. This is important because of the binding aspect most of the early decision agreement have in place. Ivey also reminds students that even though students are applying early, that doesn’t mean the application should be any different. An applicant should always complete the application to the best of his or her ability, and obey all school-imposed deadlines.
Sarah Zearfoss, Assistant Dean for Admissions at the University of Michigan Law School, says that although admissions chances are sometimes better for students applying early, uncompetitive numbers can still prove to be a hindrance for any candidacy. She also reiterates Ivey’s point that students choosing to apply early should make sure the school is their first choice, as they will often be bound to attend if accepted. Finally, she suggests that early applicants look into financial aid at the schools to which they are applying, because it could be different than it is for students applying for general admission.
Our final guest, Al Watson, says that early decision is a benefit for students who know where they want to attend. He cautions, however, that each student needs to decide what location, school, and academic program is best for him or her, and then decide if applying early decision is the best option.
Anna Ivey – Author of Ivey Guide to Law School Admissions
Sarah Zearfoss – Assistant Dean of Admissions at the University of Michigan Law
Al Watson – Assistant Dean of Admission and Financial Aid at the University of Cincinnati School of Law