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Applying to Law School

Applying to Law School is a serious undertaking. Whether you are just now entering college and thinking ahead to law school, nearing the end of college and deciding your next move, or have been out of college for awhile and considering a career change, applying to law school is an exciting and busy time requiring plenty of preparation and planning.

If you are planning to go to law school, begin preparations at least a year in advance of your target admission date. Two years is even better. Let's take a look at what you should be prepared to do in the two years before you enter law school. (Note: This guide assumes that you have thoroughly considered the pros and cons of attending law school and have determined that law school is right for you. If you have questions about whether law school is a good fit for you, talk to college professors and others who may be able to advise you.)

Two Academic Years Before Law School

  • Research law schools to determine which schools are best for you. Consider location, tuition, available financial aid, age and reputation of the law school, and potentially the track record of the school's graduates.
  • Register for the LSAT and begin studying for the exam. You can register to take the LSAT in February or June (be sure to register early as spaces fill quickly). If you take the exam in February, you'll be able to re-take the exam in June or October if you feel you need to raise your score. Set a study schedule to immerse yourself in practice test questions several days a week. Consider signing up for an LSAT prep course, or take advantage of one of the many online or software-based LSAT prep courses.
  • Get counseling advice on law school admissions. If you are still in college, you can meet with a pre-law advisor or other professor who can give you information about your qualifications for law school and any special steps they recommend you take.
  • Begin thinking about who can write your recommendation letters. Pre-law faculty and professors from related disciplines are great candidates, especially if you build good relationships with them. Also consider lawyers practicing in the field that you may work for over the summer.
  • Take the LSAT and evaluate your score. If you need a higher score to be considered for your top-choice law schools, register for the next available test (either June or October of the next academic year).


One Academic Year Before Law School

  • Narrow down your list of target law schools. Download all application materials for the schools you plan to apply to and request any additional information or forms, if necessary.
  • Begin a Credential Assembly Service application by registering with the LSDAS, and make sure a college transcript is sent to LSDAS
  • Write your personal statement or essay. Begin this process well in advance of the application deadline to give yourself enough time for several drafts and to gather feedback from pre-law advisors and other faculty. Try not to put too many cooks in the kitchen, but seek thoughtful, qualified, and constructive feedback.
  • Prepare or update your resume, highlighting any experience in law firms from summer jobs or any other legal experience as well as your pre-law coursework.
  • Gather recommendation letters from advisors and faculty members. Those writing your letters should know you well, and be well aware of your academic and professional goals that law school will help you achieve. It may be an added advantage to seek a recommendation letter from an advisor who attended your law school of choice.
  • Submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online.
  • Fill out all application materials for each law school you are applying to. Submit all materials, and ensure your recommendation letters are sent to the appropriate office. Follow up on each application to make sure all application materials were received (if you receive a notification that your application was received in full, there is no need for further follow up).
  • Send final transcripts to LSAC and the law schools you are applying to.
  • Send thank-you letters to everyone who wrote you a recommendation letter or advised you along the way of the law school application process.
  • Begin receiving your law school admission decisions. If possible, consider visiting the schools you were accepted to, helping you make a final decision.


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