Part of becoming a competitive law school applicant is effectively planning for the application process itself. Understanding the application process will allow you to complete key steps at the right times so you are more likely to be accepted to your programs of interest and receive funding. Explore these steps early and create a timeline based on when you wish to enter law school.
- Explore the Law School Admissions Council’s website and set up an account.
- Review the LSAC recommended application steps.
- Review the LSAC recommended application timeline.
- Plan for the cost of the Credential Assembly Service (currently $195).
- See if you are eligible for a fee waiver from law schools.
- Explore how law schools make admissions decisions.
Advanced Research to Finalize your Law Schools Selections
- Continue researching law schools and develop a list of programs of interest. Ideally, you would start your advanced research 10 to 15 months before deadlines.
- Review your likelihood of acceptance to your programs of interest using the LSAC Likelihood Calculator and reflect on whether you have chosen reach schools, target schools and safety schools. Learn more about reach, target and safety schools.
- Speak to law school representatives at workshops or by reaching out directly in order to learn more about your programs of interest. Ask if they offer fee waivers.
- Use Analytix by AccessLex to compare your programs of interest.
- Find out more about your programs of interest at Law School Transparency and the American Bar Association Required Disclosures.
- As you narrow down your list of schools, keep track of the specific requirements, deadlines and contacts for each program.
- Stay in touch with law school admissions representatives and ask them questions.
Taking the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT)
- What is the LSAT?
- Plan an LSAT study timeline of 3 to 6 months or more.
- Taking a practice test early and compare your scores to average LSAT scores for programs of interest. Based on your scores, determine how long you will need to prepare and what you should focus on in terms of improvement.
- Prepare for the LSAT.
- LSAC LSAT Prep Information
- Take timed practice LSAT tests.
- Use an LSAT Prep Book
- Use free resources such as Khanacademy.
- Consider taking an LSAT Prep Course
- Keep track of LSAT dates and deadlines and register. Determine whether you want to take the LSAT in person or at home due to the coronovirus. Learn more about LSAT-FLEX.
- After you receive your LSAT scores, determine whether you should retake the LSAT. Before you retake the LSAT check with your chosen program to determine how they view multiple LSAT scores.
- Ideally, you want to have received your desired scores at least 7 to 8 months before
your application deadlines.
Prepare Your Application Materials
- Request letters of recommendation (LOR) early. Learn more about getting a strong recommendation letter and learn about the LSAC LOR Services.
- Write your personal statement and review it with staff at the USF Writing Studio and/or USF Career Services. Explore what makes an impactful personal statement.
- Consider if an addendum or diversity statement is appropriate for you.
- Meet with USF Career Services to develop a quality resume for your application.
- Ideally, you should be finalizing these materials at least 5 to 6 months before application deadlines.
- Continue communicating with law school admissions representatives throughout the application process.
- Complete law school applications before deadlines.
- You do not necessarily need all your materials in on the day the application opens, however, applying earlier in the application cycle increases your likelihood of receiving funding. Learn more about the benefits of applying to law school early.
- Explore offers, choose a program, and accept an offer.
Other Factors to Consider in Planning for Law School Applications
- Should I take a growth year (also referred to as a gap year)?
- Should I take the GRE or the LSAT, or both? Learn more about the differences between these tests.