What You Need To Know About Seat Deposits
You’ve applied. You’ve gotten into one of your target schools. And now, as you wait and hear back from other schools, you’re faced with a decision: should you put down a seat deposit?
Daniel Waldman, a contributor at US News and consultant at Stratus Admissions Counseling, recently discussed how applicants should approach law school seat deposits.
Dates To Know
Having multiple acceptances is a good thing, but it does take some preparation and decision making.
Since law schools often give a time limit for responding to an offer, it’s important to understand when you need to submit a response.
Accepting a seat requires you to submit a non-refundable seat deposit. According to Law School Numbers, the deadline to submit a deposit is never before April 1 and, generally, during the last two weeks of April.
You can rest assured that putting down a deposit for one school won’t impact your chances at choosing another.
“Simply put, law schools don’t know whether – or where – you’ve accepted an offer while reviewing your application,” Waldman writes. “The one exception is if you’ve applied early decision, but if you applied in the regular cycle, there is no way that putting in a deposit would impact your chances anywhere else.”
Ask For More Time
Choosing the right law school is a big decision. If you need more time to decide, Waldman says, it’s okay to ask for more time.
“Many applicants are apprehensive about approaching law school admission offices for fear that it would reflect poorly on them,” Waldman writes. “In reality, that’s what the offices are there for, especially after you’ve been offered a seat.”
However, it’s important to have a proper reason when reaching out for an extension.
“While extensions generally aren’t granted just because an applicant can’t make up their mind, a well-reasoned email could go a long way,” Waldman writes. “A proper reason, mind you, isn’t limited to extenuating personal circumstances like a family emergency, but also includes more logistical justification like waiting to hear the school’s determination on financial aid.”
More Financial Aid
Putting down a deposit doesn’t mean you won’t get any additional financial aid. In fact, according to Waldman, a change in situation may warrant more financial aid—even if you’ve already tendered your seat deposit.
“For example, if you were offered a seat at another, higher ranked school – [that] might impact their initial decision,” Waldman writes. “As always, approach them in a polite, tactful way and avoid making the inquiry come off as an ultimatum, and you might be surprised by the outcome.”