The road to your J.D. or LL.M. can be complex and sometimes confusing. To help keep you on track, here's a calendar of what law applicants should be doing, and when.
Don't Forget: Some law schools will start taking applications in September and continue accepting them until early next year.
Depending on your particular situation, the earlier you submit your applications, the better, especially if you're applying to schools that use rolling admissions.
Regular registration closes on October 18 for the December 3
LSAT at published test centers. (The test date is December 5 for Saturday
Sabbath observers). The late registration deadline closes on October 25. To register,
go to the LSAC website (www.lsac.org).
Are you unsure if you need a LSAT prep course? Call us at
1.800.809.0800 (+1 703.242.5885 outside the US and Canada) to discuss your situation. We're here to help you!
If you're applying to law schools this year, you should have already finalized your school choices. If your top priority is to begin law school next fall, count on applying to several different schools. You don't need to apply to every school out there, but you do need to be realistic about admissions statistics and leave yourself with some room to maneuver if you aren't accepted at your top-choice schools. Apply only to as many schools as you can submit well-prepared applications for. You'll get better results by applying to 5 stretch schools with
applications that reflect 100 per cent of your best effort than you will by applying to 10 schools with
applications that each reflect 50 per cent of your best effort.
If you're applying to law schools next year, begin researching schools now. Define your most important search criteria to narrow down your school choices.
Visit schools. Try to meet with admissions staff and students, and see if you can sit in on a class. Begin networking with current students, faculty, and alumni from your targeted schools.
If you're applying to law schools this year, you should
begin formulating your story themes and 'wow' factors right away. Good ideas and
deep introspections cannot be rushed!
law school admissions committees will be taking a hard, critical look at
your profile. You must do the same thing first. Only by understanding your candidacy from their perspective, can
your weaknesses, highlight your strengths, frame your fit, and employ the 'wow'
factors that differentiate yourself from the
many other highly qualified applicants in your demographic.
Your weaknesses. Sometimes it is best not to bring
attention to a weakness. Other times, it must be mitigated. Weaknesses can be
mitigated in the personal statement, addendum, or letters of reference.
Your strengths. You need to become a self promoter
without coming across as arrogant. You also need to prioritize your strengths as
you will not likely be able to highlight all of them in adequate detail within
Your story themes and 'wow' factors. What are the
most important points you need to make about your background, values, beliefs,
experiences, and reasons for pursuing law school? Have you adequately
prioritized these points? If you attempt to convey too many different points,
you risk coming across as disparate and not covering any points in adequate
detail to successfully set apart your application. What makes you unique in a
way that is going to make any admissions officer just really want to recruit you
to their school?
Your fit. Why are you a match made in heaven for the
specific law school being targeted? Why will you be a better fit and contribute
more to the program and community than the other applicants? Does your
application convincingly argue that, if admitted, you will gladly attend the
If you're applying to law schools next year, you need to
take a critical inventory of your candidacy. Will you clear the academic
qualifications hurdles at the schools you are targeting? Would you benefit from
an alternative transcript? Can you find some additional extracurricular
activities that will not cast a perception of expediency to the admissions
of recommendation, in my experience, do not get enough
attention in the admissions process. While the academic record, LSAT and personal statement typically carry more weight in a competitive process, I can't emphasize enough how much difference strong letters can make."
– Senior Admissions
Consultant Susan Brooks, former Associate
Director of Admissions at Georgetown University Law Center.
Draw up a schedule of what schools you want to apply to,
when. Remember that it's generally to your advantage to apply early to law schools
that use rolling admissions policies, since the earlier
you apply the greater number of openings available.
We stress generally since it may be
advantageous to wait until later in the cycle if you
need more time to complete an alternate transcript, retake the
Most schools have released their applications and essay
questions. Download the forms (or bookmark the sites) for the schools you are
If you haven't yet already, start brainstorming for your personal statement topics.
Oftentimes, you'll want to use different personal statements at different law
schools. (They are relatively unique and seek different traits in their student
bodies after all.) The sooner you start brainstorming for topics, the more time
you will have to polish your essays and still submit an early application.
Determine if you need to include an addendum to your
personal statement. What additional points, if any, do you need to make? If you
are attempting to mitigate a weakness, be sure you don't come across as
excusatory or whiney. Doing so will only draw more attention to your flaw.
Letters of recommendation. Will you benefit from an
additional, optional recommendation to substantiate a story theme or 'wow'
factor, highlight your strengths, or, possibly, mitigate your weaknesses? Can
your selected recommenders discuss your candidacy in adequate detail? Sometimes,
it's in your best interest to submit recommendations directly to the schools and
bypass the LSDAS. Whichever route you go, be proactive and advise them on what
points they need to make to give your applications the best shot.
Our Law School Admissions Timeline
page will be updated on November 1.
Do you have questions about any of the items you see here? Please call us at
1.800.809.0800 (+1 703.242.5885 outside the US and
email us if you do. Our consultants can help you with school selection, application strategies, application preparation, and all other aspects of the law school admissions process.
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