Early Decision Plan
The Early Decision Plan is designed for prospective law students who have thoughtfully considered what would represent, for them, the most effective legal education; have investigated carefully a range of law schools; and have concluded that Columbia is clearly their first choice.
For early decision candidates, the application process is simplified and expedited considerably; it is less expensive in terms of time, effort, and money. Early decision candidates must complete their applications by November 15 and are generally notified of the Admissions Committee’s decision in December. This early notification assures applicants of having successfully completed the law school application process, allowing them to resume professional, family, and educational responsibilities without any uncertainty. These benefits, however, are accompanied by the cost of self-restricting law school choice. Candidates applying on an Early Decision basis commit themselves to matriculate at Columbia if admitted.
Successful early decision candidates may not initiate any new law school applications, must decline any acceptances they may have received prior to admission to Columbia and the Early Decision Plan, and must immediately withdraw other applications once notified of their Columbia acceptance in December. Failure to honor these commitments will result in Columbia revoking its offer of admission.
Some early decision applicants not offered admission will be reviewed again in April as part of the regular applicant pool; others will be informed that their application for admission has been denied and will not be evaluated again that year.
Early Decision Materials
Early Decision Checklist
Application for Admission
The 2018 application for admission will be available on September 1, 2017. A preview copy will be available here in mid-August for review purposes.
Payment Certification Letter (.pdf)
Please note that the Payment Certification Letter is required only for applicants submitting application fee payments via check or money order.
Two Letters of Recommendation
Dean's Letter, if applicable
Early Decision Contract
Candidates may be contacted for interviews. Please note that we are unable to consider requests for interviews.
Application Fee ($85)
2016-17 Dates and Deadlines
September–November: Fall Recruitment Season
September 1: Applicants may begin to submit applications to the J.D. Program
September 24: Last LSAT administration date that meets the Early Decision Plan deadline
November 15: Early Decision Plan application deadline
January 1: Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) forms may be submitted to the government, if applying for financial aid
March 1: Financial Aid application deadline
May 15: Housing application deadline
June 1: Deferral request deadline
Frequently Asked Questions