Vanishing Assurance
Editorial Board

The Georgetown University Law Center announced the indefinite suspension of its early assurance admissions program last week. For the past 29 years, this program admitted a select number of high-achieving Georgetown undergraduate students to Georgetown Law School without requiring them to take the LSAT. Students would apply in early spring of their junior year and receive a nonbinding decision by the end of the semester. Despite the absence of LSAT scores, required for admission at virtually every other law school, Georgetown’s early assurance program was incredibly competitive, with high selectivity and a minimum GPA requirement of 3.8.

The abrupt cessation of the program will come as a surprise to undergraduate students who have been working towards the goal of early admission since starting at Georgetown. Many pre-law students have cited the early assurance program as a huge initial draw to Georgetown’s undergraduate schools. In addition, the email announcement itself provided little transparency with regards to why the Georgetown University Law Center decided to suspend the program. The lack of information and notice to students who have been preparing to apply is incredibly disappointing. Keeping in mind that Harvard Law School recently initiated an early assurance program for its undergraduates, Georgetown’s decision becomes all the more confusing. The Georgetown Law Center is arguably hurting its own competitiveness through this decision. At the very least, students deserve a clear official explanation for the unexpected termination of a highly lauded and well-advertised program.

The rationale for early assurance is to allow top undergraduate students to take advantage of more varied coursework, engage in extracurriculars or work at an internship during their senior year. Georgetown has a similar early assurance program with the School of Medicine, which has not been discontinued, that aims to give students the opportunity to focus on other academic pursuits and mitigate the pressures of the application process, MCAT preparation and interviews. Given the high selectivity of these early assurance programs as well as the exceptional statistics on the admitted undergraduate students, it is evident that student performance is not the issue. The unique program with the law enter was a positive way to attract and retain the best Georgetown undergraduates, but also allow students freedom to choose the best graduate school for them without the added stress.

Additionally, the law center should consider the importance of having a diversity of experiences in its student body. Harvard Law School, for example, states that its early assurance program, in which students are admitted at the end of junior year and begin law school two years after graduation, is intended to allow students to gain experience and explore options in diverse fields before pursuing additional education. In keeping with Georgetown’s commitment to cura personalis and the growing national conversation about mental health and academics on college campuses, the value of providing more flexible post-graduate opportunities should not be understated.

and the growing national conversation about mental health and academic stress on college campuses, the value of providing more flexible postgraduate opportunities should not be understated.

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