Applying to law
school is an involved process. The more organized you are about
researching law schools, registering and studying for the LSAT, and
completing and sending all application materials, the more likely
you will be able to keep ahead of the deadlines. The following
timeline will give you a good idea about how to proceed if you are
planning on going straight into law school after college graduation.
Do not hesitate to meet with the
Pre-law Adviser for the College of Liberal Arts, Dr. Paul Crowe, at
any point in the process, to discuss your goals and concerns about
going to law school. You should meet
with a Pre-law Adviser at the beginning your junior year if
you have not done so before.
I. Freshman and Sophomore years
Concentrate on establishing a high
GPA. It is very difficult to gain acceptance to any law school
without at least a 3.0 GPA. Work hard on developing your writing
skills and analytical thinking skills. You will need these to
perform your best in upper level courses and certainly in law
school. If you are having difficulty with college-level writing
you need to address this as soon as possible. Talk to professors
about how you can improve and seek help from the
Tuttleman Writing Center.
Consider taking a course in logic or
critical thinking, as these will develop your analytical thinking
skills and help you greatly when the time comes to start preparing
for the LSAT exam, two thirds of which consists of logic problems.
Try to find out more about law and
lawyers, especially the different areas in which lawyers work. If
possible spend some time working with a lawyer or in a legal
office. Consider taking some
courses in law related areas. Think seriously about whether
law is really the right profession for you.
Find out something about the LSAT
exam and what it requires, as well as the whole law schools
applications process. Begin to think about what law schools you
would like to attend.
Make sure you join the CLA Pre-law
Society and get yourself on their
The Society sponsors a whole range of events that will help you
learn more about law, the legal profession and how to get into law
school. It’s also a great place to meet other pre-law students in
the college and benefit from their experience and knowledge.
II. Spring Junior Year
Pick up a copy of the annual LSAT/LSDAS
Information Book and read it carefully.
Take a practice LSAT exam to get a
sense of what it is like to do the problems under exam conditions.
Although your score will be low, it will give you a sense of where
you stand and what you need to do to improve.
Register for the LSAT examination.
advantage of registering to take the exam in June is that you will
have time to retake it in October if the results are poor and you
know you can do better. You will also be able to get all your
application materials in early. If you are applying for
early admission, you may be required to take the LSAT in June.
The main advantage of taking the
exam in October of your senior year is that you will free up time
in your junior year semester to focus on your academic
performance. (Remember that your junior
year grades will be the most recently completed and thus reported
when you apply to law schools the following fall: it is very
important to strive for your best academic work at this time.)
Register with LSDAS, the service
that will report your LSAT scores and other parts of your
application to law schools.
to keep track of all of the registration and application details
that you will have to process in the coming months. Remember to
make copies of all forms, applications, and correspondence for
After receiving your LSAT Admission
ticket and LSDAS subscription confirmation, you should begin to
receive an LSAC Activity Update each month that activity occurs in
Begin to research law schools with
the goal of compiling a list of about a dozen that you would like
to attend. There are many factors to
consider when researching a potential law school, including where
it is located, its student body size, the quality of its faculty,
how much it costs, and the level of prestige attributed to it.
For help with this process, refer to the
links provided on this
website. Also, you may wish to do some of the following:
Keep track of pre-law events and
workshops on campus (make sure you are on the pre-law listserv for
Speak with faculty, staff and alumni
who have attended law school.
Review law school websites.
Visit law schools for tours or to
audit a first-year class.
Think about attending the
annually-held Law Forum in New York City or Washington D.C. See
for dates and registration information.
about who you are going to ask for letters of recommendation. The
best letters are usually written by faculty who know you well and
for whom you have done your best academic work. Try to ask for
letters at the end of spring semester so as to give the professor
plenty of time to have it done by the next fall. Include some of
your best essays so that the professor can refresh her memory of
you when she writes the letter.
If you are
taking the LSAT exam in June, now is the time to prepare. Some
general exam preparation advice is given in the next timeline
Summer between Junior and Senior Years
update your résumé.
what you will put into your personal statement. Write a
draft and have a number of people look at it for you: people who
know you well, lawyers you may know, professors and pre-law
for the LSAT. Virtually all students can benefit from taking a
prep course. Refer to the
Preparation Services section on this website for
services that offer LSAT preparation to prospective law school
applicants. If you choose to work on your own then come up with a
regular study schedule and stick to it. You should be putting in
as much time as you would for a regular course at the very least.
Make sure you practice taking the exam under exam conditions
(i.e., time yourself). Preparation materials (past exams, etc.)
can be purchased from LSAC and bookstores.
Sample tests are available in the LSAT
registration packet or in LSAT prep books. If you think of all the
time you have put into achieving a high GPA it makes sense to put
in as much time as you into prepping for the LSAT as it as
important as your GPA if not more so.
Fall Senior Year
With the help of the Pre-law
Adviser, make a shortlist of between about five and ten law
schools. You can apply to one or two “long shots,” but make sure
most of the schools you apply to are likely to consider you. LSAC
provides a simple to use online database of law schools to help
you determine your chances of getting into any particular law
school based on your GPA and LSAT score.
Write to the short listed law
schools for catalogs and application forms.
You can do this by sending the request postcards found in the LSAT/LSDAS
packet. Don’t write to law schools before August, as they tend to
print current year materials only in late summer.
intend to apply for financial aid, pick up financial aid
applications from the Financial Aid Office of the law school(s)
you are interested in. Also investigate other financial aid
Ask the Registrar's Office to
forward an official transcript to the LSDAS by filling out the
appropriate form provided in the LSAT/LSDAS Information Book. If
you take the October exam you will know your LSAT score by
become uncertain about the strength of your credentials or wonder
whether you should retake the LSAT, meet with the Pre-law Advisor
as soon as possible.
Submit your applications, résumé,
personal statement, recommendations, and all supporting materials
as early as you can after the law school starts taking
applications (this will be easier if you have taken the June
exam). Certainly try to have everything in before Thanksgiving.
Submitting your applications early can be a real advantage in the
admissions process at many schools. Be aware that the application
deadlines for early decision or early action programs are as early
Check periodically with the law
schools to make sure that your application is complete and
have received all of the admissions results, make the decision on
which school to attend. If you are unsure about this choice
consult the Pre-law Advisor.
have made your decision, inform the Pre-law Advisor. Remember to
thank the people who wrote you recommendations; they obviously did
a good job!
Have the Registrar’s Office send a
final copy of your academic transcript to your law school once
your final senior year grades are in.