Paul L. Caron

Thursday, April 8, 2021

A ‘Bank Run’ At Notre Dame Law School

Update:  Karen Sloan (, A 'Thunderdome' Competition? Admitted Students Got Shut Out at This Law School Amid Deposit Frenzy

Inside Higher Ed, A ‘Bank Run’ at Notre Dame Law:

Notre Dame Law (2020)It was a banner year for law school applications. The number of applicants this year was up about 21 percent compared to last year, according to the Law School Admissions Council. Total applications were up 32 percent.

An increase that big can be tricky for an admissions department. Now, at least one law school has overadmitted its incoming class.

Admitted applicants to University of Notre Dame Law School were told upon acceptance that there were no reserved spaces for students. The deadline was April 15, but if the university received its maximum number of $600 deposits, the rest of the admitted students would be waitlisted.

On Tuesday, a few minutes before 11 a.m. Eastern time, Notre Dame sent those admitted students an email. Two-thirds of the seats had been claimed by deposits, a benchmark usually reached two to three days before the deadline. The email said Notre Dame would send another note when 80 percent of seats were reserved, and two more emails when 90 and 100 percent of seats were claimed.

Five hours later, 80 percent of spots were taken, Notre Dame told admits. One hour after that, at 5 p.m., Notre Dame told applicants there was no more time.

“We have now reached our target number of deposits,” the email said. “We have turned off our deposit forms to ensure that we do not overenroll.”

The incident, first reported in Above the Law, a website for legal news, has shaken prospective law students. Applicants who were waiting on offers from other schools, who weren’t checking their email or who couldn’t come up with $600 quickly saw their chance to attend Notre Dame Law School vanish, despite the fact that they were admitted. ...

Notre Dame also initially told admits that placing a deposit with another law school could result in losing a scholarship offer from Notre Dame. ...

On Reddit’s “Applying to Law School” forum, more applicants have vented their anger and frustration at Notre Dame. On Wednesday the page was awash in memes about the incident, which some Redditors took to calling the “NDLS massacre.”

In response to questions, Dennis Brown, spokesperson for Notre Dame, said this is the second year that the law school has had a deposit deadline of April 15 or when the maximum number of deposits is reached. Admitted students were advised of this in their acceptance letter, scholarship letter, information packet and on the website for admitted students, he said. Emails after 67 and 80 percent of maximum deposits were reached were meant to offer transparency to students.

“For applicants who have concerns about paying the deposit fee, they regularly ask Notre Dame Law School to waive the deposit fee. That’s a regular conversation our admissions office has with students,” he said via email. “The purpose of the deposit is for students to take the decision seriously, not to be a financial hurdle. If it is a financial hurdle, we are happy to remove it.”

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