Rolling admissions

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tesseract0421
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Rolling admissions

Postby tesseract0421 » Wed Feb 10, 2010 4:03 pm

Does anyone understand why most schools do rolling admissions? Aside from the admissions staff being able to manage the workload of reviewing applications, I can't think of a good reason why schools do this. I just find it interesting because it's really an unfair process for applicants. It is a known fact that early applicants are given an advantage due to the rolling process, but why is that? Why are applicants awarded for being able to make decisions early? Making a decision later doens't mean you would be any less committed to studying law or any less qualified.

I'm an experienced applicant, and I feel that rolling admissions really hurt experienced applicants who may have more responsiblities (family, work) than some undergrad kid that has the luxury of spending his last summer and semester to go through the application process early.

Sorry...just venting here...I really feel like rolling admissions benefits law school operations but is unfair to applicants.

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Unitas
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Re: Rolling admissions

Postby Unitas » Wed Feb 10, 2010 4:08 pm

Boy oh Boy are you going to be pissed off when you find out about waitlists.....

Everything about admissions is an advantage to the law school operators, not the students. It is the way it works.

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gossipgirl
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Re: Rolling admissions

Postby gossipgirl » Wed Feb 10, 2010 4:12 pm

Better for:

1) Applicants- can make decisions over a longer period of time than if the school had regular decisions (like in UG you have only a month to make decisions which may not be convenient to many people)

2) Staff- get stuff in, send stuff out, why this is better seems obvious

3) Financial Assistance- look, when you can send out money offers early in the cycle and then people can withdraw early, that money can be cycled back into the applicant pool...under the non-rolling system, everyone naturally waits until April 30th to make a decision and then people accept sticker options when they would have otherwise gotten some money or some people take lower options even though under a rolling system, they would've gotten some amount of financial assistance

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quetzalcoatl
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Re: Rolling admissions

Postby quetzalcoatl » Wed Feb 10, 2010 4:15 pm

Pragmaticly, LS's have to do rolling admissions to handle the amount of work. It is a little crazy how early some people apply though. People make a big deal about the poor in general not having access to LSAT prep and other help. People dont make as much of a deal about other ways of 'gaming' the admissions process. If I didnt spend time on TLS and other sites I would have no idea that applying 2 months before the app deadline is considered 'applying late'. Tips on addendums and LOCI's are also an issue. It is a little scary that not knowing this info could have a serious effect on your chances.

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smgallag
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Re: Rolling admissions

Postby smgallag » Wed Feb 10, 2010 4:59 pm

tesseract0421 wrote:Does anyone understand why most schools do rolling admissions? Aside from the admissions staff being able to manage the workload of reviewing applications, I can't think of a good reason why schools do this. I just find it interesting because it's really an unfair process for applicants. It is a known fact that early applicants are given an advantage due to the rolling process, but why is that? Why are applicants awarded for being able to make decisions early? Making a decision later doens't mean you would be any less committed to studying law or any less qualified.

I'm an experienced applicant, and I feel that rolling admissions really hurt experienced applicants who may have more responsiblities (family, work) than some undergrad kid that has the luxury of spending his last summer and semester to go through the application process early.


Sorry...just venting here...I really feel like rolling admissions benefits law school operations but is unfair to applicants.


I don't understand how the degree of responsibilities as a working applicant factors into the fairness of the applications process. Many of the activities do not require substantial time after initiation, such as LoR and transcript requests. Drafting a resume is something most are capable of doing in an afternoon. While your personal statement may be a bit more difficult, the only activity that is significantly affected by degree of responsibility as a working adult/parent is LSAT preparation.

If you find your responsibilities interfering with preparation, and if your commitment to law is strong, then why rush your application just to apply late within a given cycle? Why not let this cycle pass, be prepared with a stronger application for the next cycle, and be the early applicant with the increased advantage?

narkizopoint
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Re: Rolling admissions

Postby narkizopoint » Wed Feb 10, 2010 5:07 pm

smgallag wrote:If you find your responsibilities interfering with preparation, and if your commitment to law is strong, then why rush your application just to apply late within a given cycle? Why not let this cycle pass, be prepared with a stronger application for the next cycle, and be the early applicant with the increased advantage?


Correct. Thats what I did.

notanumber
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Re: Rolling admissions

Postby notanumber » Wed Feb 10, 2010 5:16 pm

quetzalcoatl wrote: If I didnt spend time on TLS and other sites I would have no idea that applying 2 months before the app deadline is considered 'applying late'. Tips on addendums and LOCI's are also an issue. It is a little scary that not knowing this info could have a serious effect on your chances.


+1 - I thought that I was really on top of things for applying in early January. A whole month before most deadlines. Then I found TLS. Crap.

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kalvano
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Re: Rolling admissions

Postby kalvano » Wed Feb 10, 2010 6:55 pm

How exactly is it unfair?

They make no secret of it. It's not as if it is some hidden gem of knowledge only made available to a select few. Every piece of reading on applying to law school everywhere says to get your apps in early.

You're saying there is an unfair advantage to being prepared and on top of your game?

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sufjan
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Re: Rolling admissions

Postby sufjan » Wed Feb 10, 2010 7:10 pm

i'll bite.

i don't understand how it's unfair either. i'm married, work full-time, go to classes at night in a master's program and applied very early in the cycle.

it has more to do with planning than life situation

you got to want it, buddy

SummerBrees
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Re: Rolling admissions

Postby SummerBrees » Wed Feb 10, 2010 7:19 pm

tesseract0421 wrote:Does anyone understand why most schools do rolling admissions? Aside from the admissions staff being able to manage the workload of reviewing applications, I can't think of a good reason why schools do this. I just find it interesting because it's really an unfair process for applicants. It is a known fact that early applicants are given an advantage due to the rolling process, but why is that? Why are applicants awarded for being able to make decisions early? Making a decision later doens't mean you would be any less committed to studying law or any less qualified.

I'm an experienced applicant, and I feel that rolling admissions really hurt experienced applicants who may have more responsiblities (family, work) than some undergrad kid that has the luxury of spending his last summer and semester to go through the application process early.

Sorry...just venting here...I really feel like rolling admissions benefits law school operations but is unfair to applicants.



Not to be a smart ass but if your responsibilities are preventing you from getting your application in early now...how do you think you will manage during LS?
It's all a bunch of BS if you ask me! Just another way to make money. NO reason in hell why we shouldn't be able to earn a bachelor in law, take the :x bar and then practice...the same way that most of the world does, but that is another discussion all together

notanumber
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Re: Rolling admissions

Postby notanumber » Wed Feb 10, 2010 7:32 pm

kalvano wrote:How exactly is it unfair?

They make no secret of it. It's not as if it is some hidden gem of knowledge only made available to a select few. Every piece of reading on applying to law school everywhere says to get your apps in early.

You're saying there is an unfair advantage to being prepared and on top of your game?


They make no secret of it but it's also not as properly emphasized as it probably ought to be. It's a similar situation to the importance of the LSAT. All schools say "we'll consider every candidate," which is strictly true, but substantively misleading. I was wondering if my recollection of this was accurate or not so I quickly took a look around Harvard's web-page. They don't ever really emphasize the importance of applying early (and in several spots make it seem like the December test is a great time to take the LSAT and any application by Feb 1 will be fine and dandy).

It's not "unfair" in the grand scheme of things but it is just another small factor that skews the process in the favor of students from elite schools with comprehensive advising, those with access to prep materials, and those without other major obligations. Obviously, these can all be overcome, but it is a real factor.

I'm not crying over my own "late" applications, which were largely a result of LSAT scheduling conflicts stretching back to 2008 that no amount of preparation could have changed. I've already gotten a great T10 offer and I suspect I'll get accepted to plenty of other T10 schools. If I don't get into where I want I'll just reapply next year. But the process isn't as transparent as it could or should be.

runn3rs
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Re: Rolling admissions

Postby runn3rs » Thu Feb 11, 2010 12:09 am

Adcomms also get a better sense of the applicant pool as the cycle moves on. If they see a huge surge in applications in October, they might reject marginal applicants while a decline in applicants could mean they accept more. If they had to do a straight shot acceptance/waitlist/reject at one time, they'd accept a small number and WL like crazy. That would push the madness into just a few months between announcements and seat deposit deadlines.

tesseract0421
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Re: Rolling admissions

Postby tesseract0421 » Thu Feb 11, 2010 12:22 am

Great to see we have a good discussion going here!

First, to clarify my position, my reference to being an experienced applicant has more to do with the decision-making aspect and not so much the workload of applying (studying, filling apps, writing PS). And I poorly worded my statement about undergrad vs. experienced applicant (just because I'm an experienced applicant and was venting). I believe the unfairness applies to all applicants applying "late". Admission should be based on merit (grades, work experience), aptitude (LSAT), and shown desire to practice law (personal statement, law-related experience). Applying early does not speak to any of those elements. Sure, someone might have a great desire all his/her life to practice law and submitted applications in September, but how is that person more qualified/valued than someone who maybe had a life changing experience in December and decides to go in law? It's not to say that people should have the opportunity to attend law school no matter when they make a decision. Law schools SHOULD have reasonable mechanisms to help manage their attendence and programs, and that's what a deadline is for. But where just having a deadline allows for equal evaluation of applications in the same timeframe, rolling admissions evaluates applicants unequally based on timeframes...hence my view that the process is "unfair".

In response to other posters:

"Why not let this cycle pass, be prepared with a stronger application for the next cycle, and be the early applicant with the increased advantage?"

Sure, I can certainly do that, accept the process for what it is, and just play the game. But the point of my post wasn't to solicit ideas on what I should do, but just wanted a general discussion on how others feel about the process.

"You're saying there is an unfair advantage to being prepared and on top of your game?"

I'm certainly not saying that people shouldn't apply early. The system is what it is, and if there's a way to maximize admission chances, someone should take advantage of it. I'm just pointing out my view that the system is screwed up, not the applicants.

"you got to want it, buddy"

Does applying early mean you want it more? If this is indeed what the law schools are thinking, while I may not agree, I would accept it because it's at least a reason that's about the applicants. But my position is that schools don't believe applying early means you want it more, it's about them and it just helps them manage their workload.

"Not to be a smart ass but if your responsibilities are preventing you from getting your application in early now...how do you think you will manage during LS?"

That's simple...I wouldn't be working full-time when I'm going to law school.

To those who disagree with me, I sincerely appreciate the response and suggestions to what I could to just live with the process and play the game. But I haven't heard anything about if you think it's actually a fair process for applicants? Why should early applicants be at an advantage? Give me reasons how rolling admissions is not just good for law school, but good for the applicants pool as a whole. The current system is essentially where qualified students are not admitted to deserved schools, and schools are not necessarily taking the "best" applicants for them.

Sorry for the long post, I'm just passionate about this having gone through the process recently. I mean, this isn't free burritos at Chipotle day where "first come-first served" is an adequate process for deciding who should be admitted (or get a free burrito). This is freaking higher education...applicants should be evaluated equally in the process based on merit, aptitude, and desire.

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Unitas
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Re: Rolling admissions

Postby Unitas » Thu Feb 11, 2010 12:27 am

tesseract0421 wrote:Great to see we have a good discussion going here!

First, to clarify my position, my reference to being an experienced applicant has more to do with the decision-making aspect and not so much the workload of applying (studying, filling apps, writing PS). And I poorly worded my statement about undergrad vs. experienced applicant (just because I'm an experienced applicant and was venting). I believe the unfairness applies to all applicants applying "late". Admission should be based on merit (grades, work experience), aptitude (LSAT), and shown desire to practice law (personal statement, law-related experience). Applying early does not speak to any of those elements. Sure, someone might have a great desire all his/her life to practice law and submitted applications in September, but how is that person more qualified/valued than someone who maybe had a life changing experience in December and decides to go in law? It's not to say that people should have the opportunity to attend law school no matter when they make a decision. Law schools SHOULD have reasonable mechanisms to help manage their attendence and programs, and that's what a deadline is for. But where just having a deadline allows for equal evaluation of applications in the same timeframe, rolling admissions evaluates applicants unequally based on timeframes...hence my view that the process is "unfair".

In response to other posters:

"Why not let this cycle pass, be prepared with a stronger application for the next cycle, and be the early applicant with the increased advantage?"

Sure, I can certainly do that, accept the process for what it is, and just play the game. But the point of my post wasn't to solicit ideas on what I should do, but just wanted a general discussion on how others feel about the process.

"You're saying there is an unfair advantage to being prepared and on top of your game?"

I'm certainly not saying that people shouldn't apply early. The system is what it is, and if there's a way to maximize admission chances, someone should take advantage of it. I'm just pointing out my view that the system is screwed up, not the applicants.

"you got to want it, buddy"

Does applying early mean you want it more? If this is indeed what the law schools are thinking, while I may not agree, I would accept it because it's at least a reason that's about the applicants. But my position is that schools don't believe applying early means you want it more, it's about them and it just helps them manage their workload.

"Not to be a smart ass but if your responsibilities are preventing you from getting your application in early now...how do you think you will manage during LS?"

That's simple...I wouldn't be working full-time when I'm going to law school.

To those who disagree with me, I sincerely appreciate the response and suggestions to what I could to just live with the process and play the game. But I haven't heard anything about if you think it's actually a fair process for applicants? Why should early applicants be at an advantage? Give me reasons how rolling admissions is not just good for law school, but good for the applicants pool as a whole. The current system is essentially where qualified students are not admitted to deserved schools, and schools are not necessarily taking the "best" applicants for them.

Sorry for the long post, I'm just passionate about this having gone through the process recently. I mean, this isn't free burritos at Chipotle day where "first come-first served" is an adequate process for deciding who should be admitted (or get a free burrito). This is freaking higher education...applicants should be evaluated equally in the process based on merit, aptitude, and desire.


Kakarot wrote:Boy oh Boy are you going to be pissed off when you find out about waitlists.....

Everything about admissions is an advantage to the law school operators, not the students. It is the way it works.


TITCR

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tomhobbes
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Re: Rolling admissions

Postby tomhobbes » Thu Feb 11, 2010 12:35 am

Just apply to Yale.

legalized
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Re: Rolling admissions

Postby legalized » Thu Feb 11, 2010 11:25 am

tesseract0421 wrote:Does anyone understand why most schools do rolling admissions? Aside from the admissions staff being able to manage the workload of reviewing applications, I can't think of a good reason why schools do this. I just find it interesting because it's really an unfair process for applicants. It is a known fact that early applicants are given an advantage due to the rolling process, but why is that? Why are applicants awarded for being able to make decisions early? Making a decision later doens't mean you would be any less committed to studying law or any less qualified.

I'm an experienced applicant, and I feel that rolling admissions really hurt experienced applicants who may have more responsiblities (family, work) than some undergrad kid that has the luxury of spending his last summer and semester to go through the application process early.

Sorry...just venting here...I really feel like rolling admissions benefits law school operations but is unfair to applicants.


I am counting on that rolling admission.

We all know when their application deadline opens. It shows a commitment to getting into that school that you can sort your business out completely and be ready to roll by September 1.

I personally WANT to be rewarded for the fact that I am planning my business to have everything ready by the middle of August at the latest. 3 of my 4 planned LORs are being written as we speak...and i don't apply til the fall! But i have seen how hard it is to catch up with my UG professors when i tried to do it last summer. Now they are in "professor" mode and not "summer vacay" mode so it's a great time.

LSAT offered 4 times in the 12 months preceding Sept. 1 of this year. No reason for you to not plan your business that your last retake is in June, if necessary.

There is nothing about this process that can't be completed in advance of the opening of the admissions window. I don't want to be given the same consideration as someone that waltzed their application in 2 minutes before 5pm on the final deadline date.

They want people who really want to be at the school. Early applicants show that instantly.

And sometimes if you know you have certain weak points in your app you want to have the wisdom to know when to sit out a cycle and wait a year to apply early. Like I did when i realized how serious the process is if you want to get accepted to top schools.

Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance.

legalized
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Re: Rolling admissions

Postby legalized » Thu Feb 11, 2010 11:29 am

And this is not some rare phenomenon. A lot of undergrads do rolling admissions as well. People just didn't realize what that means til the mad rush of lemmings headed to law school.

It's an advantage for you if you have evaluated the schools and know where you want to go and why.

It's a disadvantage if you are not really going about the application process with some sense of urgency.

notanumber
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Re: Rolling admissions

Postby notanumber » Thu Feb 11, 2010 12:26 pm

legalized wrote: LSAT offered 4 times in the 12 months preceding Sept. 1 of this year. No reason for you to not plan your business that your last retake is in June, if necessary.


I agree with most of what you're saying, but the rigidity of the LSAT test dates is a huge problem for people who work in nontraditional fields including peace corps, military, and business. I was unable to sit for the first 3 2009 LSAT tests because I had no idea where in the world my work would put me during those dates. I was only able to take the December LSAT because I had a very firm meeting scheduled in a city thousands of miles away from where I live. It was not ideal to take the test in a strange city after a long evening of networking and "talking shop" over drinks but the LSAC forced my hand.

If they wanted to make the process more fair for nontrads the LSAC should really move to a GRE-like test format with flexible administration dates.

legalized
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Re: Rolling admissions

Postby legalized » Thu Feb 11, 2010 1:07 pm

notanumber wrote:
legalized wrote: LSAT offered 4 times in the 12 months preceding Sept. 1 of this year. No reason for you to not plan your business that your last retake is in June, if necessary.


I agree with most of what you're saying, but the rigidity of the LSAT test dates is a huge problem for people who work in nontraditional fields including peace corps, military, and business. I was unable to sit for the first 3 2009 LSAT tests because I had no idea where in the world my work would put me during those dates. I was only able to take the December LSAT because I had a very firm meeting scheduled in a city thousands of miles away from where I live. It was not ideal to take the test in a strange city after a long evening of networking and "talking shop" over drinks but the LSAC forced my hand.

If they wanted to make the process more fair for nontrads the LSAC should really move to a GRE-like test format with flexible administration dates.


But that's what late registration fees are for. Wait till you get wherever you are going and pay the extra cost of being physically unstable. That's what I would do. Or start planning to take the test/shift your application time frame to more than one year out. If by the time you take it the early admission advantage is lost, not going to hurt to push your app. out a year.

Really, people need to look at it as "if it's rolling and I am in there the first week, my applicant competition pool is NOT the 5,000 or however much will have applied by time the cycle is ended...it's the 50, 500, whatever, that got theirs in before mine"

"I like them odds!" :)

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raperez129
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Re: Rolling admissions

Postby raperez129 » Thu Feb 11, 2010 1:38 pm

narkizopoint wrote:
smgallag wrote:If you find your responsibilities interfering with preparation, and if your commitment to law is strong, then why rush your application just to apply late within a given cycle? Why not let this cycle pass, be prepared with a stronger application for the next cycle, and be the early applicant with the increased advantage?


Correct. Thats what I did.



ditto, me too....

twopoodles
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Re: Rolling admissions

Postby twopoodles » Thu Feb 11, 2010 9:30 pm

I also juggle work (self-employed no less), kids, school, so on and so forth. But I started my applications in August, before school started. Glad I did because my LORs and transcripts took forever. Yet, I had everything turned in by November and had my first notifications early in December. :)

Still, I think the idea of rolling admissions is somewhat strange because if they wanted couldn't they just hold on to everyone's file and then pick the best? Seems they are doing US a favor, and probably because one school did it and they wanted to compete. I know several people waiting on grad school applications, Fulbright scholarships, etc., and they won't know 'til spring.




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