One of my friends just got a last-minute offer from a top law school willing to admit him as a transfer student, thanks to credits he'd banked from a one-year program as an exchange student years ago. He's weighing that against competitive offers from other schools, while waiting on at least one more school to make up its mind.
There's what, a week left until school starts? Crazy. Stressful. Exciting!
Another friend? Just got into a school in his home state. He has placed deposits at a law school 3,000 miles away and signed a lease. He has about three days to weigh his options and make a decision (and perhaps prod the schools for more money) until he is scheduled to depart for the East Coast.
What should you do if you get a last-minute offer? Here are some tips:
Be Pound Wise and Penny Foolish
Yeah, you've probably put money down on an apartment and your seat deposit. You may have even reserved a moving truck, or if your school moves really quickly, you may have even started orientation.
It doesn't matter. How much is that last-minute law school offer worth? What's your cost for three years of education? Job prospects? You may lose a couple of thousand dollars now, but if you're going to save $20,000 in tuition, that last-minute offer is worth considering.
Going solo out of school? Spend more time developing practice skills and leave the marketing work for the experts.
Got a newer, bigger offer in hand? If you're willing to lose the bird in hand, take the offer to your locked-in choice and ask them to step their game up -- politely, of course. Schools understand that this is purely business: You want to maximize job prospects at the least cost possible, and you are suddenly in demand.
Leverage it. Negotiate a better scholarship package, either in dollar value or in terms of removing any GPA or class rank qualifiers. Everything is negotiable at this point, and schools don't want to have to scramble to fill seats at the last minute. Just make sure that you're willing to take the last-minute offer if your school won't budge (or pulls your offer out of bitterness).
Really, Really Sleep on It
Take a day or two. Weigh everything: cost, scholarship offers, cost of living, job prospects, attrition rates (how many 1Ls flunk out?), the school's vibe (a shark tank full of back-stabbers who hide and hoard books, perhaps?), and any fringe benefits -- one school is known for dangling a summer abroad program in Austria with Justice Anthony Kennedy as a carrot to top prospects, for example.
Talk it over with friends and family. Sleep on it. Change your mind six times. And then commit -- if you have two schools fighting over you, either choice is likely to be a good one.
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