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How do I apply to Law School?

Timeline and information for applying to law school.
Apr 2, 2023

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. Timeline
  3. October: 12 months before you submit your applications
  4. December: 10 months before you submit your applications
  5. January: 9 Months before you submit your applications
  6. April: 6 Months before you submit your applications
  7. May: 5 Months before you submit your applications
  8. June: 4 Months before you submit your applications
  9. July: 3 months before you submit your applications
  10. August: 1-2 months before you submit your applications
  11. September through until you hit submit on your applications
  12. February to April: Applications submitted
  13. May to August: Almost time to get to law school
  14. Related Articles

Summary

To apply to law school you have to complete the following steps:

Step 1) Learn about law school and the application process and decide you want to go

Step 2) Create an LSAC account at lsac.org

Step 3) Make an application schedule to plan out all the way to submitting applications

Step 4) Prepare for the LSAT

Step 5) Identify your Letter of Recommendation writers and ask them if they are willing to write your letter

Step 6) Start writing your personal statement

Step 7) Take the LSAT

Step 8) Prepare for the LSAT again

Step 9) Take the LSAT again

Step 10) Gather and submit all of the application materials online

Timeline to apply to law school in some more detail:

Each law school has a slightly different application deadline, you should give yourself at least 12 months to complete the necessary steps. If you are within that window, don’t worry. You can do it faster, or you can put off your application for a year. The main reason we say to plan for a year is to allow you to take the LSAT twice and still apply early in the application window. 

This timeline assumes you are taking the LSAT which is still the most popular test for law school. However, many schools are now accepting the GRE which makes your test prep a little easier if you are also applying to non-law school programs.  

Making the decision to apply to law school is exciting! But the excitement is quickly overshadowed by worry and confusion. When do I apply? How? What do I need todo ?

One way to put your best foot forward and increase your chances of getting in is to start the application process early. Since most law schools use ‘rolling admissions’, applying earlier is better for you! 

In general, you should start the application process by September the year before you want to apply. Meaning 2 years before you want to attend. If you’re an undergrad, this means starting the process at the beginning of your Junior year. 

With that overall timeline in place, we can break down what you should consider doing in those 12 months. 

October: 12 months before you submit your applications

Create an LSAC.org account. The LSAC is the Law School Admission Council, a nonprofit organization that provides a variety of services to prospective law school students, including administering the LSAT (Law School Admission Test) and hosting the application process for some schools. Get comfortable with the LSAC website because you will be using it quite a bit on your law school application journey, you will also be paying them quite a bit of money, but that is a rant for another post. If applying to law schools is going to create a financial burden the LSAC does offer fee waivers which you should check and apply to. 

December: 10 months before you submit your applications

Start preparation for the LSAT. This may seem a little early, but we recommend starting this early for two reasons. First, for most, the end of December is a relatively slow time that we think is a great time to get started studying. Second, getting introduced to the LSAT this early will allow you to determine the best way for you to study (all at once, bit by bit, or some combination thereof) and to determine what LSAT tests you want to take. Based on our own experience and from looking at the data from over 40,000 applicants, we recommend planning your schedule so that you can take the LSAT twice prior to finalizing your application.  

In December you should decide if you want to take the February LSAT because the deadline is usually at the end of December. 

January: 9 Months before you submit your applications

We recommend planning to take the April and August LSATs. You can even register for both and then get a refund for the August test if you crush the April one. 

In January you should sign up for the LSAT (assuming you haven’t already signed up for the February one). 

You should solidify how you are going to study. There are many options for how to study for the LSAT including: online courses, live courses, tutors, self study. All options have pros and cons. If you want some guidance on determining how to choose a study option check out our guidance post here.

In general we recommend giving yourself 3-month blocks to study for the test. This means you should start studying in January for the April test and May for the August test. 

Finally you should start studying! 

April: 6 Months before you submit your applications 

Take the April LSAT which usually falls around the middle of the month. It takes about 3 weeks for you to get your LSAT score, so you will get your score in the beginning of May. Regardless of how you feel like you did after you walk out of the exam, we recommend taking those three weeks OFF from studying! At this point you have just finished a pretty intense three months of studying either on your own or with a company. Taking three weeks to decompress will help you get into the right headspace to get your results and maybe do more studying to take the test again. 

May: 5 Months before you submit your applications 

  1. Get your test results (Well done! Regardless of how you did, preparing for and taking the LSAT is hard work)!!! 
  2. Sign up for the Credential Assembly Service (CAS) via your LSAC.org account to start getting ready to apply. 
  3. Reach out to people who you want to write your letters of recommendation (LORs). Schools require between 1 and 3. If possible, consider having a balance of professional and academic letter writers. 

June: 4 Months before you submit your applications

  1. Decide if you are going to take the LSAT again and if so, sign up for the August test. 
  2. Finalize the list of schools you plan to which you plan to apply. If a school’s LSAT feels out of reach, don’t get too discouraged. A new approach to studying can have drastic effects on your LSAT success, and you still have time to do a full course and take the test again. 
  3. Sign up for another prep course (if you want).

July: 3 months before you submit your applications

Start to gather the necessary materials for your applications. The LSAC CAS will help you compile all the docs. 

Most schools require the following:

Easier:

  1. Application form
  2. LSAT score
  3. Undergraduate transcript (can take a few weeks)

Harder:

  1. Resume
  2. Letters of recommendation (between 1-3 depending on the school)

Hardest/Most Painful

  1. Personal statement
  2. Application fee

Only some schools require the following and they are sometimes optional:

  1. Supplemental essays 
  2. Diversity statement 
  3. Why ____ Law School?

August

  1. If you are happy with your score then some schools accept applications as early as August so you can apply now! Don’t rush your letters and essays though. Applying in October to any school is still great. You are better off with a great application in October, than a weak application in August.
  2. Take the LSAT again

September through until you hit submit Continue to gather and refine your application materials. Submit when you are happy with them! Don't forget applying earlier is better than later!
  • Refine your application materials. They will never be perfect, but they should be continually worked, reviewed, and improved. 
  • Did we mention refining your application materials
  • February to April " data-kt-scroll-offset="100" tabindex="-1">Feb-to-AprilThis is when you will hear back from schools. You will get accepted, waitlisted, or denied. You can use our status checker to make it a little easier to find out quickly if you have an update on your profile. 

    May to August " data-kt-scroll-offset="100" tabindex="-1">May-to-AugustIf you are waitlisted (and hoping to get off and get accepted), then you should continue to keep in touch with the school. You can submit a letter of continued interest (LOCI) and should stay in touch with the admissions committee. 

    Once you have determined what school you are going to go to then the next step is to prepare to go!

    Related Articles " data-kt-scroll-offset="100" tabindex="-1">related#lsd-id#

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    3. There is an LSAC, and an LSAT, and a Spivey, and I want a powerful score, but also 7 Sages sound helpful
    4. Preparing for Law School
    5. How Do I Pay for Law School?

    Windsor MIT '22, Harvard College Advisor

    I am the half of LSD that didn't take the LSAT, or go to law school (Sorry about that). But I did go to MIT business school while surrounded by law students and lawyers, so I am somewhat qualified to talk about the intricacies of law school apps and finances.

    Windsor (the dog) didn't write this but he WAS a Resident Tutor and career advisor at Harvard College with me, so deserves some credit.

    General

    General chat about the legal profession.
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    Help us make LSD better!
    Tell us what's important to you
    1a2b3c4d26z
    16:59
    Like is there any legit reason they can't do that
    Ijustwannagetinman
    17:00
    Who says waitlists pull who they need in a class?
    Ijustwannagetinman
    17:00
    Like where are people getting that information
    well you see some students need...
    Ijustwannagetinman
    17:00
    Surely students who submit LOCI are prioritized over those who don’t
    ClassyPleasantHeron
    17:00
    GULC runs its waitlists like Eminem writes his rhymes. They start out simple, and then get rewritten into some lyrical miracle for real-icle material like cereal for the venereal... and yes, you should stop paying attention at some point and pick something else.
    idk apparently GULC has a tier list of the people they waitlist
    Ijustwannagetinman
    17:00
    GILC is different bc they have two waitlists
    3*
    Ijustwannagetinman
    17:00
    But generally won’t writing a LOCI help
    Paid my deposit at UC Irvine yesterday. I'm done with all 7 waitlists
    17:01
    @ClassyPleasantHeron: bars
    17:01
    If you're a yield protection WL that they would love to admit, but don't believe they can enroll because you'll get into better schools, they say you're super duper special and maybe a few more such applicants stay on the waitlist and write a "please admit me I'll do anything I'll pay sticker I love GULC way more than I should" email instead of saying "fuck y'all" ans withdrawing
    Ijustwannagetinman
    17:01
    SOMEONE ANSWER ME AM I WRITING LOCIS FOR NOTHING
    17:01
    what
    trees1234567
    17:01
    dean andy said it in his information session! he indicated they pull from all 3 waitlists depending on who they are looking for - LOCIs do help!
    ClassyPleasantHeron
    17:01
    @Ijustwannagetinman: you're writing LOCIs for practice so that you can become a better writer.
    Ijustwannagetinman
    17:02
    Im not talking abt Georgetown specifically I’m talking about UCLA bc my husband lives there
    Ijustwannagetinman
    17:02
    (We haven’t met yet) (it’s unclear if he exists)
    17:02
    no one can tell you if you're going to get off a WL, but writing a LOCI generally helps because the school knows you still want to go there
    17:03
    No, write your LOCIs. Those are a data point that indicates higher odds of accepting a waitlist admit (lower risk to the school's yield)
    17:03
    a LOCI certainly won't hurt
    17:05
    This is almost entirely independent of the "reward" (filling some bucket they want more represented in their incoming class, whether it's high GPA, high LSAT, URM, FGLI, veteran, STEM, a particular type of work experience or legal interest) but that part depends on who else commits (out of your hands) and your profile (set in stone at this point)
    17:06
    it is why some people retake the LSAT to increase their WL chances if they don't want to do another cycle
    17:06
    Unless you retake the LSAT and raise your score to/over a school's median, or win some Preßtigious fellowship or award, both hard to do in the next month
    trees1234567
    17:06
    jb is undoubtably a top 3 LSD user
    17:07
    :)
    17:07
    How I feel about the special preferred waitlist
    17:09
    Every day passes that I am scared shitless that I got all excited about an interview and then imma get hit with the R
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