Jessica Anderson

Applying to an unranked law school ‘early decision’ is like playing musical chairs with one other person and three chairs.

Remember when you were applying to college how some schools had “early decision” programs? You’d apply to your first-choice school, and in exchange for them telling you early, you had to commit to go to that college and no other. As if applying to colleges was some kind of national game of musical chairs, and people who didn’t get a seat would end up being forced to pursue higher education in Mexico.

I didn’t apply to anywhere “early decision” because I value options and don’t scare easily. I applied to 11 colleges, got into ten (eff you, Stanford), and then visited four or five of them. Obviously, other kids did things differently. It’s not uncommon to see a lot of Ivy League caliber kids commit to a great school early in the process. People choose their colleges based on all kinds of factors, and when you know, you know.

Law schools are very different. Students usually go to the best law school they get into, unless a school that is slightly lower-ranked offers them a ton of money. The only places that should be running an “early decision” program that includes binding commitments are Harvard, Yale, and Stanford.

You could make a case for some other top-ranked programs doing early decision for law school. But when you see an unranked program getting in on the action, it feels like the school isn’t tempting students into “early” decisions so much as it is trying to rush people into “bad” decisions….

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