so i just got an email from the financial aid office (confirming paperwork) and the lady casually mentioned the may 1st deposit...which i didn't know existed until that moment. what's the deal with it? (how much, binding?, etc.)
Quote: "Submission of this form does not bind you to attend. Only your seat deposit that's due May 1st will hold your seat."
They're referring to the seat deposit mentioned near the end of your acceptance letter. They also included an accept/decline form with your initial acceptance materials which states the terms of the deposit. You fill that out and submit it with your $500 check. If you lost that form, there is a link to a pdf version of it on the admitted student website on the "Enrolling at Duke" section and under the heading "Important Materials." The terms are basically as follows:
In order to enroll in the 2009 entering class, a non-refundable enrollment deposit of $500 must be received in the Admissions Office by the date indicated in your acceptance letter. Please write your name and LSAC # or birthdate (mm/dd) on the check or money order made payable to Duke Law School. We are unable to accept payment via credit card. The non-refundable enrollment deposit will be credited toward your first semester tuition. Please note that the submission of your tuition deposit indicates that you intend to enroll at Duke Law School. If you submit your tuition deposit to Duke, you must withdraw from all other law schools to which you have been admitted.
Basically, you have to withdraw from all other schools to which you've already been accepted, but it doesn't make you pull out of waitlists or commit to attend law school. If you get in off a waitlist and change school, or if you decide not to go to school at all, you just forfeit the $500. Just can't put down multiple deposits, basically. If you do attend, it goes towards tuition, and you don't lose anything.