When to begin thinking about it?
You should begin planning to apply in your junior year. Utilize all of the services and resources offered by the Pre-Law Program, including meeting with the Pre-Law advisor to discuss your application/LSAT preparation strategy.
The law school application process includes the following 7 components that are all important:
LSAC and LSAC’s Credential Assembly Service (CAS)
The LSAC is the central clearinghouse for all application materials, including your academic transcripts, LSAT score(s) and letters of recommendation. You can also access, save, and submit law school applications through LSAC. All ABA law schools require applicants to use CAS. You should register and pay for a CAS account – in addition to your main LSAC account – by September of the year when you apply.
Law School Admission Test (LSAT)
The LSAT is required by most law schools in the U.S.; although several law schools now accept the GRE as an alternative, you should assume that you will need to take the LSAT! It is a standardized test focusing on reading comprehension, as well as analytical and logical reasoning skills. You must allow adequate study time as law schools will see all of your scores. Test scores do not typically improve significantly with retakes.
Official Transcripts must be submitted directly to the Credential Assembly Service of LSAC. Transcripts must be requested and submitted from every school/college where you were enrolled in classes as an undergraduate. You request transcripts the Registrar’s Office. CAS will submit your transcripts and GPA conversion calculation to law schools. Be sure to give the Registrar’s Office the LSAC request form and report fee, matching it to your CAS account. You should allow LSAC at least 2 weeks to process your transcript.
Personal Statement / Essays
Admissions committees will use your personal statement / essays, and other addenda to evaluate your “fit” for their law school, as there is usually no formal interview process. The Pre-Law advisor will critique and offer feedback on these documents if you wish. Personal Statements / essays usually invite you to answer a specific prompt in order to learn more about you and your communication and writing skills. Addenda offer you an opportunity to explain any discrepancy or item of concern in your application materials, such as your LSAT score or poor grade(s) on a transcript.
Letters of Reccomendation
Law schools require letters of recommendation. They offer insight about your academic and intellectual abilities, as well as your potential to succeed in law school. All law schools require two letters of recommendation but will generally accept up to four letters. Letters from a faculty member are preferred, particularly if you intend to go to law school immediately or if you graduated recently. External letters of recommendation are also acceptable, coming from an employer, internship supervisor, or other professional contact. Because these letters are so important, choose your recommenders wisely. Consult with the Pre-Law advisor about your selections if you wish.
Character fitness and misconduct issues are a key area of focus for law schools, for attorneys must abide by a professional and ethical code of conduct. It is CRITICAL that you disclose all legal and school disciplinary misconduct charges and violations, EVEN IF your record was “expunged” or otherwise favorably resolved. Some law schools require a fully encompassing disclosure that may even include speeding tickets. Discuss any misconduct disclosure issues and questions you may have with the Pre-Law advisor for advice on such disclosures.
Financing law school
Financing law school is a serious matter that you should fully consider before deciding to attend law school. Although financial aid for law school is limited, you should prepare a FAFSA as you/your parents did at the undergraduate level. Merit aid is generally awarded simultaneously with acceptance, but some law schools announce merit aid awards at a specified date after admittance. There is generally not a separate application process for such awards, but you will need to thoroughly research each law school’s policy. Federal loans are often a primary source for financing law school, and the Pre-Law advisor will provide resources about the mechanics of federal loan financing.