Why Early Decision?

“Northwestern Law is my first choice.” “Northwestern Law is my dream school.” “If admitted, I would accept immediately.”

We hear things like this all the time, yet, to our surprise, many of the applicants who say them do not take advantage of our Early Decision program. We’re not sure whether applicants are unfamiliar with the option entirely or decide that Regular Decision feels safer than the binding commitment that comes with Early Decision, but if you’re an applicant who would confidently make one of these remarks, you should apply Early Decision!

Don’t get us wrong, Early Decision is not for everyone. Many applicants, for good reason, want to weigh all of their law school options before committing to a particular school. That being said, if you have thoroughly researched all of your options and decided that Northwestern Law is the best fit for you, there is high upside to applying Early Decision and virtually no downside.

What is the upside? The biggest upside is the guaranteed $50,000 per year scholarship that comes with Early Decision admission. Not only that, but to maintain the scholarship for all three years of law school, you must simply stay enrolled as a Northwestern Law student. This means no GPA requirements, no class rank requirements, just registering for classes each semester and showing up. Our Early Decision scholarship is also the only scholarship we award exclusively on the basis of merit.

You’re probably thinking this all sounds great but the process must be extremely competitive. True. Strong academics, work experience, and interpersonal skills are even more important when we’re handing out acceptance letters and $150,000 scholarships. However, this should not discourage you from throwing your application in the Early Decision bucket. Here’s why.

Even if you are not admitted through Early Decision, there is a good chance you’ll be placed in the Regular Decision pool for further review. At this point, applying Early Decision can only help you. First, you may receive an expedited decision, as the Admissions Committee has already reviewed your application ahead of most others in the pool. Second, interest in Northwestern Law is one of many factors we consider in the Regular Decision admissions process, and having applied Early Decision signals a level of commitment that can be a difference-maker. We want applicants who want us!

Finally, if you noticed we said virtually no downside above, let us explain. It is technically possible that you could be part of a small percentage of applicants who apply Regular Decision and receive a scholarship that exceeds $50,000 per year. In that case, there would be a downside. However, it is also possible that you could receive a smaller scholarship offer (remember, it is a separate process in which we look at both need and merit). Nothing is a guarantee, except the Early Decision scholarship.

If you decide the Early Decision option is for you, remember that an interview is required (pay attention to the deadlines, and a completed application is due by December 1. For more information, visit our website or email.

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