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Staff, law student comment on law school admissions change

On Aug. 31, Notre Dame Law School announced that they will be terminating their early decision program. This means that all prospective students will now have the ability to apply to the non-binding regular decision application. One’s interest in attending the law school will now no longer be shown through the time they apply, but interest demonstrated in “Why Notre Dame Law School?” statement. 

Dillon Yang, president of Notre Dame Law School Student Bar Association, discussed how low-income students were at a disadvantage applying early decision, compared to those who could afford admissions counseling. 

“A bunch of studies show that if you apply early decision, there is an increase or boost in the LSAT score,” he said. “When you look at many different factors like that, the ones who are able to afford prep classes and the ones who are able to afford admissions counseling are the ones who have these sorts of resources to be able to put together a package of early decision.”

According to director of law school admissions Marisa Simon, the administration’s decision was made to alleviate applicant stress.

“Our main objective was to create less stress for applicants,” Simon said in an email. 

Simon also noted the law school regularly reevaluates the admissions process for applicants and that the need for this change was observed in the last application cycle.

“We constantly consider changes to the admissions process which could improve the experience for applicants, and the reasons for this change became more apparent over the last application cycle,” she said.

Simon said that she does not anticipate that this change will bring significant changes to the number of applications received, but also acknowledged she expects applicants were relieved to hear the elimination of early decision. 

“In notifying prospective students of this change, we have sensed their relief in not having to make that difficult decision prior to applying,” she said in an email.

Yang seemed to be more apprehensive about the fact, saying there could be a chance that this hurts the application process for students that have their heart set on Notre Dame law. Still, he maintains that if a student is a good applicant, the admission board will be able to see that with or without early decision. 

“I think that it might [hurt an applicants chances], but I think that also if you’re a good applicant, I think our admissions board would definitely see that. If you are within the statistics of being the type of candidate that the school is looking for, I don’t think it should deter too much,” Yang said. 

He goes on to explain that he has not heard much talk of this move throughout the law students, maintaining that this may be that the move has been relatively recent. However, he stated he saw alumni positively respond on LinkedIn. 

“I’ve seen some alumni posts about this on LinkedIn and how proud they are of their school and how proud they are of the University for taking this step,” he said. 

Yang noted his pride in the law school’s commitment to diversity. 

“I’m definitely proud of the school for taking this big step and committing themselves to a more diverse law school.”

Contact Emma at eduffy5@nd.edu

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Notre Dame Law School scraps binding early decision application

Notre Dame Law School has ended binding early applications, the school’s office of admissions announced in a press release Wednesday. The release cited unfair wealth advantages and anxiety as main reasons for the elimination.

“Early decision programs tend to advantage wealthier students and create anxiety for many students when choosing an application program,” the release said.

The early decision application program bound students to Notre Dame Law School before they could weigh financial aid options, sparking the concerns that led to this decision.

Instead of the early decision program, applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, according to the press release.

“Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis beginning in Sept. and initial admissions decisions will be released in late Nov. or early Dec. While the application will close on March 15, prospective students are encouraged to submit applications early in the admissions cycle,” the law school wrote.

The law school heralded increasing diversity and first-generation law students in its last two classes, and said this latest step would promote further “diversity, equity and inclusion.”

“Our success at enrolling diverse students who have demonstrated excellence will be amplified by this modification of our admissions procedure,” G. Marcus Cole, dean of the law school, said in the statement.

Experts told Reuters, a news agency, that the move was expected, and that other law schools may follow. They cite “ongoing uncertainty about the national applicant pool and concerns about access and equity.”

The press release also said that students are encouraged to show commitment to the program in their “Why Notre Dame?” application essay.