Law School Admissions Timeline
2 Years to Law School
*Start thinking LSAT. Most likely, the last admissions exam you took was the SAT or the ACT. The LSAT is a vastly different test; it is a difficult, high-stakes exam and one for which you really have to prepare to do well. Take a free practice test. Visit the SLAC Lab or www.PrincetonReview.com to find one near you.
*Prep for the LSAT on your own or enroll in a test prep course. The Princeton Review offers private, small group, and online tutoring as well as classroom and online LSAT courses.
*Create a Student Account with LSAC at www.LSAC.org to register for the LSAT online, get your scores via email, assemble credentials, and track your applications. The LSAT is given only four times per year, and we recommend that you take the June test.
*Research schools. Use the Internet (LSAC.org) and books, and network with lawyer friends and colleagues. Use the law school search engine on www.PrincetonReview.com and peruse the schools’ websites. During the spring, visit the schools you are most interested in attending.
Register for the June LSAT. Don’t miss the deadline. It costs $175 to take the LSAT; late registration not only costs you more, but you risk losing out on your first choice of testing centers.
**Contact advisors. If you are an undergraduate, speak with your campus prelaw advisor(s). They can be valuable resources for information and planning purposes.
Write a bio. Prepare a brief profile about yourself for your recommenders to use when writing evaluations or recommendations.
Contact potential recommenders. Many law school applications require three recommendations. Remember: an in-depth personal recommendation will always carry more weight than will a generic one by someone with an impressive reputation.
Take the LSAT. It’s essential that you’re well prepared to ace the LSAT the first time, even though few law schools average multiple scores.
**Finalize your school list. Once you know your LSAT score, you can start to finalize your list. Think balance: mix top-tier with second- and third-tier schools.
Keep track of deadlines. Many law schools’ regular deadlines are early February and many have early deadlines in the late fall. Don’t assume that all deadlines are the same. Aim to make the first-round deadline.
Register for CAS. When you apply to law school, you work with the Credential Assembly Service (CAS) to coordinate all of the parts of your law school applications. To subscribe ($170 fee), visit www.LSAC.org.
Get your undergraduate transcripts sent to CAS. Remember to send transcripts from every undergraduate institution you attended. Schools usually charge you a small fee.
**Update your resume. Some law schools require that you submit a current resume.
Start your applications. Begin with the essays to allow time for revisions. Visit www.PrincetonReview.com if you need some essay writing advice.
Register for the September/October LSAT. If you need to retake the LSAT, then now is the time to do so.
**Fine tune your personal statements. Have an advisor and colleague or friend who recently attended law school review your essays, and have someone different proofread them.
Stay in touch with your recommenders. Check in to make sure that they won’t have problems with their deadlines.
Inquire about interviews. Some schools may let you interview prior to application deadlines; others will invite you to interview once they’ve received your application.
Complete and send early decision applications. Keep a copy of all completed applications for your records.
Send thank you notes to your recommenders. Don’t overlook these important people. You may have to call on them again.
1 Year to Law School
Keep tweaking. If you didn’t make the early deadlines, then keep working to perfect your personal statement and application forms.
Send all regular applications. Quadruple check them and print copies before submitting.
Register for the February LSAT only if you need to raise your score AND if any of the schools you are interested in have application deadlines on or after March 1.
Relax. If you’re all done, then revel in the fact that all that work is behind you, and, hopefully, your acceptance letters will be arriving soon.
*Resources available in the SLAC Lab, Alkek 4th floor.
**Schedule appointments with Dr. Dochen (SLAC Director and prelaw advisor) and René LeBlanc http://www.txstate.edu/slac/PreLaw/lsat.html
Used with permission & updated by
Dr. Carol Dochen: 8/18/2015