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Law School Application Timelines: How Late is Too Late?

It used to be the case that law school applications needed to be in by December for students to have a realistic chance of admission. Even just seven years ago, so many students were applying to law school that applications submitted in January would be considered almost unacceptably late.
Today, law school admissions have changed somewhat. While law schools still practice rolling admissions, the effects of the recession have taken a toll on the number of law school applicants. According to data released by LSAC, since 2010, law schools have seen a 37 percent drop in applications nationwide.

What does this mean for you?

Since fewer people are applying to law school, law schools are now more understanding than they have been in the past about late applications. Students applying in January still have reasonable chances of admission, and students applying in February don’t need to worry (too) much, either.
If you’re taking the December LSAT, aim to spend your winter break getting your application materials prepared for submission as soon as possible. Make sure you’re aware of any deadlines in January that you’ll need to meet to stay competitive for scholarships.
The same applies to those of you taking the February LSAT for the first time. Your choices will be more limited, but applying with a February LSAT won’t bar you from attending law school in the fall.

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What if it’s already past March?

Top law schools’ deadlines are typically at the beginning of February. Other strong law schools have deadlines in early-to-mid March. While some law schools will continue to accept applications through the beginning of June, your chances of acceptance will be decidedly lower past March. If your application materials are still not complete by this time, take a moment to seriously assess whether you should apply in this cycle or delay to the next cycle.
Taking a year off to gain work, volunteer, or travel experience could be a worthwhile use of your time. You can also use the time to get your application materials prepared for early submission in the next cycle. Doing so will give you the “early advantage” that boosts your likelihood of acceptance at a great school.
Looking for help deciding which LSAT test date is best for you? Check out our post here.

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