If you’re ever even slightly unsure about the acceptance process, be sure to check out the law school’s website or contact them directly to ensure you are taking the right steps.
How long do I have to accept?
When you receive an offer of admission, it comes with a deadline to make a decision. So after you’re done celebrating, look closely at the offer to see when you need to accept it by. Mark it in your calendar and set a reminder a week or two before. Depending on when you received an offer of admission, you may have a few months, a few weeks or just a few days to accept it.
What does it mean to provisionally accept an offer of admission?
Most law schools will give you the option to first provisionally accept an offer of admission. This means that you’ve accepted it but it’s not set in stone. Any other current offers will be declined but your applications for schools that you haven’t heard back from yet will remain active. You can only provisionally accept one offer at any given time. To prevent applicants from holding onto multiple offers at once, law schools in Ontario (and potentially throughout Canada) collaborate through OLSAS to ensure applicants aren’t accepting multiple schools at a time.
To give an example of the provisional acceptance process, let’s say it’s the end of March and you’ve been accepted to both Osgoode and Queen’s. You’re happy to go to Osgoode, but you still haven’t heard back from Western, your dream school. Your April 1st acceptance deadline is tomorrow, so you provisionally accept Osgoode. Your Queen’s application is rejected, but your application to Western remains open.
Provisional acceptances automatically turn into firm acceptances after a certain date (typically at the beginning of July), or you can switch it to a firm acceptance yourself.
What does it mean to firm accept an offer of admission?
When you give a firm acceptance, this means that any other current offers are rejected, and all other applications are withdrawn and marked as “no further consideration”. A firm acceptance of an offer means you will be attending that school.
Pay the deposit to keep your seat
Different schools have different deposit deadlines, but after you provisionally accept an offer of admission you’ll get a date for which you have to pay a non-refundable deposit to keep your spot. The deposit will be used towards the cost of your tuition. If you miss the deadline, it may cause you to forfeit your seat.
If you pay the deposit and then receive an offer at another school that you’d prefer to attend, you can cancel the acceptance and lose the deposit. It may hurt the wallet, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s a small price to pay to be able to attend a law school more suited for you.
Again, it’s always a good idea to look on the law school’s website or ask them directly about the acceptance process – especially if you have any confusion or unanswered questions.