FAQs: Binding Early Decision

What is the binding Early Decision program? 

Our binding Early Decision program is an expedited process in which the Admissions Committee agrees to review your application earlier in the cycle and provide an initial decision before the end of the calendar year. If you are admitted, we require that you commit to matriculating at the Law School and that you immediately withdraw all applications at other law schools. You may not initiate any new applications after being notified of your admission at Chicago. 

Who should apply Early Decision?

The Early Decision program is designed for applicants who have thoroughly researched law schools, carefully considered their options, and concluded that the University of Chicago Law School is their top choice. In return for the benefits of receiving an expedited decision and the certainty of completing the admissions process early, the applicant must commit to attending Chicago. If you are uncertain that Chicago is your first choice or you believe it will be necessary for you to weigh all options, Regular Decision will probably be a better fit for you.  

How do I indicate that I want to apply Early Decision?

Early Decision and Regular Decision applicants will complete the same application, but you will have the opportunity to indicate your intent to apply Early Decision in the application. In the "Application Type" question, Early Decision applicants must select "Early Decision Program". Early Decision applicants also must complete the Early Decision Agreement.

May I change my mind after choosing Early Decision or Regular Decision?

Yes, you can switch from Early Decision to Regular Decision (or from Regular to Early if you inform us before the Early Decision application deadline). If you have already submitted your application, you must contact the Admissions Office and ask us to switch your application. If you are switching to Early Decision, we will ask you to complete the Early Decision Agreement and will update your application in our database to Early Decision once the Early Decision Agreement has been received.

When is the Early Decision deadline? 

The Law School must receive your application and required materials from LSAC on or before December 1. You cannot take the December LSAT and be considered for Early Decision (no exceptions). 

When will I receive my decision? 

We typically send out decisions for Early Decision applicants by the end of December. Early Decision applicants are either accepted, denied, or waitlisted for further review in the Regular Decision process. If your application is waitlisted, admission, if offered, will no longer be binding. We notify Early Decision applicants of their decisions in the same manner as Regular Decision candidates (click here for more information on our Decision Notification Procedures). 

Do Early Decision candidates receive an advantage in the admissions process? 

By applying Early Decision, an applicant is clearly indicating that Chicago is his or her first choice and the Admissions Committee will note your enthusiasm for Chicago throughout the admissions process. In addition, the Admissions Committee has more room in the class at the Early Decision stage. However, applying Early Decision will not overcome any significant weaknesses in an application and Early Decision candidates are evaluated based upon the same criteria as Regular Decision candidates. 

What is the difference between Early Decision and Chicago Law Scholars?

Chicago Law Scholars is an early decision program available only to undergraduate students at, and alumni of, the University of Chicago undergraduate College. Chicago Law Scholars applicants have an earlier deadline (September 15) and will receive a decision earlier (by November 1).  Applicants to the Chicago Law Scholars program enjoy the same advantages as Early Decision candidates (enthusiasm for Chicago, an expedited decision, and the advantage of being considered early in the process). If you wish to apply to the Chicago Law Scholars program (and are a University of Chicago undergraduate student or alumnus of the College), but did not take the June LSAT, please simply apply to our Early Decision program instead.   

Do Early Decision candidates receive financial aid? 

All Early Decision candidates will be considered for scholarship aid in the same manner that Regular Decision candidates are evaluated. Early Decision candidates will also be eligible for student loans. Please note that, as an admitted Early Decision candidate, you will likely be asked to confirm your intent to enroll at Chicago before you receive your financial aid award. Early Decision candidates are typically considered for scholarship aid at the same time as our first group of Regular Decision candidates in January.