It's early. You're early. This whole damn place is early.*

For most of you applying to law school, this time of year is a busy one. It's also when nerves start feeling frayed. Someone online was admitted to UVA. Then another to Duke. It seems like all others have left the gate and you're still stuck on rethinking almost every single word of your personal statement.  

Whether you're already sending in applications, waiting for your LSAT score, or in the midst of full-time test prep, one thing is certain: you have a lot of waiting ahead of you. In the past we've said many a time that the waiting is the hardest part, so we have two quick reminders to keep in mind throughout this process that might, we hope, allow you to take a deep breath and stay calm. First, we're still very, very early in the cycle. As of DECEMBER last year, a very front-loaded cycle, only 25% of applications had been submitted. We say this countless times to countless applicants every single year throughout the beginning of the cycle — you are absolutely, categorically not applying "late" just because you haven't already submitted your applications. Really. As a rule of thumb, applying any time before Halloween is considered "very early," applying before Thanksgiving is "early," applying before the New Year is "on time," and you're not "late" until January–March (and that's not to say that means you can't end up with great results even if you do apply "late" — we see it all the time). In fact, the vast majority of law schools don't even begin reading files until November, after their fall recruitment travel schedule is over. So if you haven't submitted a single application yet, or you're still coming up with a great personal statement topic, or you're studying for the November LSAT — don't worry. It's still early.

Second, everything tells us that this is going to be a long, looooong cycle. Last year, many schools were caught off guard by the increase in applications, especially from top LSAT bandwidths, and some ended up overenrolled and/or scrambling to make the numbers add up in just the right way in the springtime. For those of you who applied late last cycle, this may have manifested as results inferior to what you might have expected because schools had, in some ways, already filled up their classes. Admissions offices don't want to make the same mistakes this year, so they're likely to be slower and more cautious in making decisions. They'll want to get a better feel for the overall applicant pool and how it changes over time before they make many offers to those who aren't above both of their target medians. What this means is that you likely won't be hearing from your reach schools right away, even while others might be reporting acceptances online. Breathe! It's probably not anything about you or your application causing the holdup.

*Footnote: What's up with this title of this blog, anyway? Check these out, you should watch them both (unless cursing isn't appealing to you, then do not watch):