You’ve worked hard to become a senior. By now, you should be well prepared to apply for law school. However, there are still several steps you must take to finalize and submit your applications. Most of the work to apply for law school occurs during the fall semester of your senior year. In this article, I will discuss 7 of the steps seniors take to prepare for law school.
Steps 1 through 6 should be completed during the fall semester. Many of those steps should be completed during the first term. Step 7 occurs during the spring semester and after you graduate.
Step 1: Meet with your pre-law advisor
Throughout your undergrad, you have likely met your pre-law advisor several times. If not, the pre-law center is a very useful tool you should consider utilizing. They can help you discover what field of law best suits you, help you find internship opportunities, walk you through the application process, and help you develop your personal statement and resume.
As a senior, you should meet with your pre-law advisor several times for several reasons. First, you should meet with them to discuss the schools you would like to attend and discuss the possibility of being admitted. You should also meet with them often to discuss your personal statement. Additionally, if you have any questions about law school, or want to attend any events, the pre-law center will have answers to all related questions.
Step 2: Confirm what law schools you want to apply to
There are 2 times you should evaluate what law schools you would like to attend. Once as a freshman, when you set your law school goals. Again as a senior, when you have your LSAT score and a strong idea of your potential GPA. As a senior, you can set realistic and practical goals for your law school selection. You can use the LSAC website to find which law schools have the highest probability of accepting you based on your GPA and LSAT score. In another article, I discuss more fully the process I used to select the schools I applied to.
Step 3: Begin your law school applications
After you have selected your schools, you should begin to apply to them. Although there is not a set date for when you should start you applications, they should be started early, perhaps even before your senior year starts. This is because most law schools have an early application deadline. Some of those deadlines can be as early as the end of September, so the sooner you begin the better. Note which schools have deadlines sooner and set those applications as a priority.
Purchase the LSACs Credential Assembly Service (CAS) and begin filling out the application. You can read more details about CAS here.
You may also want to consider submitting one “early-decision binding application”. If you have one law school that you would attend over any others, submitting this kind of application could be helpful. This application entails that if you are accepted to that law school, you guarantee to attend that school. Be careful to only submit this kind of application to one school (you don’t want to be accepted to 2 schools with an early-binding application). Law schools with an early-binding application will give additional consideration to your application because it shows that they really are your top choice.
Step 4: Complete your personal statement
During the summer after your junior year, you should have completed a draft of your personal statement. If you have not started a personal statement yet, begin right now. The personal statement is important because it is your opportunity to tell the law school about yourself, to “humble brag”. I say humble brag because you want to seem down to earth but still share what makes you unique.
After your LSAT score and GPA, the personal statement and your LORs are the things law schools consider most in their applications. Your personal statement should be well written, interesting, and engaging. My pre-law advisor once told me that the personal statement should make the reader so intrigued that they would want to take you to lunch. Take the necessary time to get the personal statement right. Ask your pre-law advisor to review it, peers to edit it, and a personal statement advisor to give advice.
If you want more tips on how to make your personal statement stand out, read this.
Step 5: Complete your law school resume
The resume you submit to law schools is a place to put your academic achievements, your relevant work and volunteer experiences, and leadership in organizations. Imagine admission boards reading your resume and picturing the person written in the achievements. Do they see simplicity, organization, and success? When they read it, would the see how you can benefit the school (both during and after law school)? Your resume should look simple, clean, and to the point. Even if law schools say you can submit a resume over a page, limit it to a page with normal margins. Keep the font size above 10pt.
Step 6: Submit your law school applications
Fill out the remainder of your applications (including sending a transcript to the school). Depending on your situation, you may want to fill out several addendums to the application such as a diversity statement, or explanations for a poor GPA or LSAT score. Some states require you to fill out a residency statement to submit with the application as well.
Some law schools may also require you to create a student account and fill out an additional (supplemental) application on the school website.
Strive to apply by the early decision deadline. Your application will be reviewed sooner and law schools see the dedication and view the students more favorable. Additionally, you will hear back from law schools sooner (which is helpful if you are planning on attending school in other state).
Once you submit, sit down and be prepared to wait several weeks before receiving a decision on admittance.
Step 7: Get good grades, graduate, and send an updated transcript to law schools
You put in a lot of work during your junior year, the following summer, and the fall semester of your senior year. Use the spring semester to recover, get good grades, graduate, and decide on a school from those who admitted you. After you graduate, your admitted law school will require an updated transcript before you begin school in the fall.
- Meet with your pre-law advisor
- Confirm what law schools you want to apply for
- Begin your law school applications
- Complete your personal statement
- Complete your law school resume
- Submit your Applications
- Get good grades, graduate, and send an updated transcript to law schools.