(Post updated September 14, 2023)
Now that you have submitted your law school applications you may be wondering – what happens next? Although procedures may be slightly different between law schools – there are certainly some common practices. Read on for a brief overview of what happens to your application once it leaves your hands.
First, be sure that you understand what is required to have a ‘completed’ file. Most law schools will not review any part of your application until all the required elements have been received. This is our practice at Seton Hall Law. So, be sure you know how many letters of recommendation are required, that your transcripts are all in order and that you have submitted your personal statement and any other necessary writing samples and/or information. Once your file moves to a ‘completed’ status you are on your way to a decision!
Plan on it being your responsibility to ensure that your file is actually complete. Law schools typically won’t reach out to you to tell you the status of your file – you’ll need to keep track on your own using an on-line status checker or by contacting the admissions office directly. At Seton Hall, we use the LSAC on-line status checker. Once you apply, we send you an email alerting you that you can track your status, this happens relatively quickly once the cycle gets going (after September 15), so if it has been a few days check your junk or promotions folders.
At Seton Hall, your law school application will be read by a minimum of two individuals and in some cases by many more. We employ a ‘holistic’ review. This means that every element of every application is taken into consideration. Therefore, there are no cut-off LSAT/GRE scores or GPAs, and there are no circumstances where either of those (or any other) part of your file are ignored.
Because so many individuals will be reading your file (between however many schools you apply to and the number of people at each individual school involved in the review process) it is important that you place appropriate emphasis on submitting a file that represents your accomplishments and abilities positively and clearly. Any one person involved in the process could be the individual that moves your file from a denial to an admission or from an admission to a denial. Do not shortcut the process by discounting any part of your application.
Our review process is primarily accomplished with members of the Admissions staff, with faculty, the Dean and even student readers involved in some decisions. Other law schools may employ Admissions Committees (usually made up primarily of faculty) to review and evaluate files. Depending upon the procedural model, the length of time from completion of your file to an actual decision may vary greatly.
At Seton Hall, we follow a “modified rolling admissions” process. This means that while your file may be reviewed as soon as it is completed, you may still not get a decision sent to you until we get closer to our Priority Deadline of April 1st. We typically begin releasing decisions in early January, but the bulk of our decisions typically come out in late February through March. So – sit tight. While you are awaiting your decisions it is a good time to prepare for the choice you will eventually need to make. Research financial aid availability and resources and important outcomes like bar passage rates and employment results for all the schools you applied to.
Once we have made a decision, we will post it to your online account and send you an email as well. Other schools may send notifications via postal mail or even through a phone call. Make sure to check with each school you have applied to for their preferred notification method. After the decision is made – the ball is back in your court! Check out our earlier blogs for tips about choosing your law school. And, happy application completing!
*Author's note: Remember that specific policies and timelines may differ. To be sure of the path/timing of your decision from any law school other than Seton Hall, it is best to reach out to that Admissions office directly.