Law School Decision Dates 2008-2009

Published July 2010, last updated October 2010

Note: Updated 2009-2010 decision date graphs are also available.

During the law school application cycle, applicants often have questions about when schools tend to make their admissions decisions - how many waves of acceptances there were last year, after what point an applicant should expect a waitlist, when a school starts taking people off its waitlist, and so on. These graphs are also based upon this publicly available data, gathered in a more methodical and comprehensive manner.

Decisions are sorted in weekly increments. On the x-axis, Dec2 denotes the first full week of December, while Nov/Dec denotes the week that starts in November and ends in December. A week begins on Sunday and ends on Saturday. The tic marks on the x-axis represent the boundaries between weeks, rather than the weeks themselves, so each week's label (e.g., Oct3) will fall between two tic marks, and the data points representing decisions that came out during that week will lie directly above the label, centered between the two tic marks.

Click to Enlarge the Graphs

Yale U (CT) Harvard U (MA) Stanford U (CA) Columbia U (NY) U Chicago New York U UC Berkeley (Boalt) U Penn U Michigan-Ann Arbor U Virginia Duke U (NC) Northwestern U (IL) Cornell U (NY) Georgetown U (DC) U Texas-Austin UCLA Vanderbilt U (TN) U Southern California Washington U (MO) George Washington U U Illinois (UIUC) Boston U Emory U (GA) U Minnesota-Twin Cities U Notre Dame (IN) U Iowa Indiana U-Bloomington Boston College UC Davis U North Carolina U Wisconsin-Madison William and Mary (VA) Fordham U (NY) Washington & Lee U George Mason U (VA) American U (DC) Yeshiva U (Cardozo) University of Georgia

Here are a few caveats and methodological decisions to keep in mind as you interpret these graphs:

  1. A glance at the acceptance rates at the schools in question will reveal that most of the graphs are an inaccurate indicator of a candidate's chances of admission. In general, the graphs are skewed towards acceptances. It is possible that applicants are more likely to report a decision date when they are accepted than when they are rejected or waitlisted, or that applicants who spend time analyzing and reporting their own admissions statistics are, on average, more qualified than the typical candidate. The viewer should be aware that a graph's rejection and waitlist humps may be misleadingly low and should take care to look up the school's acceptance rate rather than drawing conclusions about his/her chances of admission based on the graph. For some schools, waitlists far outnumber rejections, indicating that reporting bias may have skewed the data towards waitlists as well as acceptances.
  2. No users were double-counted. This means that each WL/admit or WL/reject applicant was part of some initial waitlist batch but is not included in that category on the graph.
  3. For decisions that were sent through the postal service rather than through e-mail or status checkers, some applicants reported the decision date as the date when their letters were postmarked, while others reported the date when they received the letter. No attempt was made to standardize these. However, the fact that decision dates are sorted by week rather than by day minimizes the difference between the two.
  4. For schools that have part-time programs, no distinction was made between part-time and full-time applications.