Stressful Situation #1,602: Law School Deposits

Fascinating. I get more anxiety-stricken messages this time of year than when you are working on your applications or even taking the LSAT. 

Are you stressed out now that deposit deadlines are looming? You are not alone. And of course it's stressful, because you're being forced to do something that is painful for a lot people: You have to COMMIT TO AN OPTION and LET OTHER ONES GO.

Here's the truth. You can't attend more than one law school at the same time. Well, I suppose you could if you wanted to fake an identity and drive yourself insane, because attending one law school is hard enough, trust me. One is plenty.

So come August, you'd have to pick a horse anyway. The schools are asking you reserve a spot four months in advance of orientation (or even less). It's not so unreasonable when you think about it.

But ANNA!!! What about my waitlists? Or schools I haven't heard from at all? I'll never find out if I might have gotten into Yale, and that KILLS ME!!! 

Read your deposit language carefully. In the typical scenario, you can accept only one offer by the deadline. But a waitlist is not an offer. (I'm sure you wish it were!) You can stay on as many waitlists as you like — unless you were accepted via a binding admissions program, in which case you have to have withdrawn everywhere else, full stop.

But ANNA!!! [I do get lots of all-caps and exlamation points and emoji. I am unilaterally adding capitalization, though, because.] What happens if I get into [Dream School] and I've already paid a deposit at [Other School]?!?!?

Then you politely withdraw from the school where you put down your deposit, and you put down a deposit at the school that just made you an offer.

You have to be willing to forfeit your first deposit, because that's the whole point of a deposit — it's basically a penalty if you change your mind after the deadline date. But another way to look at it is as INSURANCE. Paying the deposit guarantees you a spot at that school while you're playing the waitlist game and hoping to "upgrade" during the summer. You don't have to spend your summer that way, of course. You could just put down your deposit and call it a day, but you do have choices. The key here is that you can have only ONE deposit, saving you ONE law school seat, at any given time. 

But ANNA!!! If I put down more than one deposit, I have more time to procrastinate/think about it/agonize over it/stress about it, and how will they even know?

Sounds crafty, and you're not the first person to think of that, Craftypants. They WILL know, because LSAC collects deposit information from the schools and then shares information with the schools about multiple deposits.

If you're on that list, you will likely only receive a message with stern language, but worst case scenario, it might be considered misconduct in the application process, and you're at risk of losing all your offers. That's not a likely outcome, but still. All that to buy yourself a few more months of wishiwashiness? You have X offers in front of you by the deadline; it's time to pick one. (Don't miss the deadline, though; that's the more surefire way to lose an offer.)

Since the schools will find out anyway, isn't it easier just to take the high road? Don't hog multiple spots when you can attend only one school anyway, and when they could be making an offer instead to some soul on the waitlist whose dream in life is to go there. 

Really, this is a time to celebrate. Get that stress monkey under control and enjoy this part of the cycle you've worked so hard for. If you're going to spend all those mental cycles on something, now's a good time to revisit whether you should be accepting ANY offer. (It's true.) 

It's great to have options!!! :D

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