What College Seniors Should be Doing Now (for Law School Next Fall)

It seems like school and fall has just started: first round of exams are about to happen, football and tailgates preoccupy Saturdays, and you're counting down the days until it is socially acceptable to go to a pumpkin patch. However, for college seniors, fall is an extremely important time in the law school admissions process. The more you do now, the better off you will be for a few reasons. One, the earlier you apply to a law school, the sooner you find out if you got in. Also, the earlier you apply, the better chance you have of getting in/getting a good amount of scholarship money. Finally, if you apply soon, you can stress less during your last semester of college.

While applications may have not opened for every school, college seniors who are set on going to law school should be doing these things in order to set themselves up for admissions success:
  • If you need (or want) to, take the LSAT (or take it again). For some people, it's not worth it, but for others a higher score can be a huge difference when it comes to getting in or getting scholarships. If you plan on retaking it, or if you haven't taken it yet, you should be doing so soon. Also, study for the LSAT; while some people can not study at all and get a 175, those people are few and far between. Even studying a bit can increase your score by a good amount.
I retook the LSAT in September of my senior year. I utilized the time between taking it and getting my score back to complete the following. I thought this was a really good way to do so, because I was able to focus solely on the LSAT at first, and then had about a month to make sure my applications were set. Once I got my score back, I submitted my applications (this happened around mid to late October). By submitting them at this time, I made sure I was in the first round of application reviews.
  • Make a list of the schools you want to apply to. This list should include important information such as the date the application opens, the date it closes, and all application materials requested. 
  • Some schools may have additional application materials, such as a "Why [This School]" essay. If you can knock this stuff out now, you won't be rushing last minute to type up a two page additional essay.
  • Speaking of application materials, start gathering them together. Now is a good time to ask professors and/or bosses for any recommendation letters you may need. It is also a good time to create a personal statement template, so you can easily modify it for any school. Also, make sure you have copies of your transcript and a complete resume ready to go too.
  • If you can, contact the schools you will apply to and ask for a fee waiver. Most schools will give them to you, especially if you ask early and you let them know that you will apply as soon as you get your LSAT score back. This is also a good way to make your name familiar with the admissions office.
  • Once you have everything you need together, submit those applications (either before your LSAT score comes in or after). If you apply before your score comes in, make sure to let the admissions office know that you have taken the LSAT again, but are waiting on your score. You can have it set up so it goes straight to the school too.
Once you hit the submit button, there is not much you can do but wait. Unfortunately, this is the hardest part. Some schools will take months to get back to you, others will get back within a week or two. It all depends on the school, when they review applications, and when yours is sent to them. Just because you haven't heard from your top school within a month, does not mean you won't get it! I didn't hear back from my top (and now) law school for about two months after I applied. Take this time to relax and enjoy your senior year! 


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