Third/Fourth Year

If you are just beginning your law school preparation journey, please make sure to visit the “First Year and Second Year Students” section which provides foundational information for this list.

Checklist for Third Year Students

  • Make sure you attend a group advising session for third and fourth year students to make sure you are on track with your preparation.
  • If you have not already started, make sure to research various fields of law
  • Try to gain a leadership position within your student organizations.
  • Maintain a high GPA and continue to regularly meet with your major academic advisor.
  • Begin preparing for the LSAT by taking a full-length practice test. Various opportunities to take a full-length exam are available throughout the year. Once you have taken a practice exam and received a score, you will be able to gauge how much preparation you need for the real exam.
  • Research LSAT prep courses (highly recommended) and at-home LSAT prep materials to go along with your course prep. USF Continuing Education offers an LSAT Prep course.  
  • Research law school rankings and admission criteria (i.e. average GPA, LSAT score) via the LSAC Official Guide to ABA-Approved Law Schools & US News and World Report. This is critical in order to assess which schools’ admission criteria align with your academic profile. 
    Plan campus visits to your top law school picks. Consider these factors: cost, bar passage rate, scholarships available, post-graduate employment data, legal specializations at each school, school reputation, experiential learning/internships, and school size (assessing if you would prefer to attend a small, medium, or large law school.) 
  • Attend an LSAC Law School Forum to meet with law school representatives, if possible. 
  • Secure an internship with a legal focus. This is helpful for law school applications, and can help you learn more about legal career options and career pathways. A legislative internship or internship with an attorney are two great options.
  • Enroll in small upper-level seminars to develop your research skills and analysis skills for the LSAT. Make sure to speak to your primary major advisor for recommendations within your major and to see if you have room for general electives.
  • Continue to develop connections with professors for letters of recommendation.

Summer before Fourth Year Checklist

  • Keep studying for the LSAT! There are now nine test offerings per year. For most, the June/July/September/October offerings are a good option, as they allow students to get their score and apply early in the cycle. However, the key is to take the test at the best time for you, when you are prepared.   Due to COVID, the LSAC has made some changes to their testing modalities by offering LSAT-FLEX. Please make sure to visit their website for more information on these changes.
  • Create a budget/expense list for applying to law schools. Remember to add in the cost of the LSAC Credential Assembly Service, LSAT, admissions fees, etc.
  • Register for the LSAC's Credential Assembly Service. Make sure you do this at least six weeks before you plan to submit you first law school application. This will give you time to make sure your profile is complete.
  • Begin to write your personal statement. You can create a generic document and then work on formatting it according to the individual law school's specifications. You will need to review each school's website to determine what that law school wants to see in the personal statement. Certain schools also require a diversity statement.
    • If there is something in your academic record that you would like to further explain, consider writing an addendum to your personal statement.
    • Consider attending one of our Personal Statement workshops to get feedback on your statement. The USF Writing Studio is also a great resource!
  • Create an academic resume for law schools. Visit USF Career Services if you need assistance with your resume. 

Checklist for Fourth Year Students

  • Make sure you attend a group advising session for third and fourth year students to make sure you are on track with your preparation.
  • Request all your official transcripts to be sent to LSAC's Credential Assembly Service (CAS) from the Registrar's Office of each institution you have attended.
  • Set up appointments with your recommenders and give them a copy of your personal statement and academic resume and the LOR Letter of Recommendation form (found on your LSAC account). This will allow them to write a more thorough letter. Please give your recommenders a minimum of one month to write your letters and remember to give them a deadline and send them thank you notes!
  • Apply to your target law school(s) as soon as their applications are available. Apply as early as possible (most applications are open in September) and as early as you are ready to submit a quality application. If aiming for early binding admission programs, applying in the fall (by November) would be recommended. 
    • Applying by the end of the year can give a competitive advantage as open spots and financial aid can decrease as law schools admit more of their incoming class. Schools generally specify on their website a date that is a deadline for fall applications, and generally note a designated date they recommend to apply for scholarship consideration, often in March. 
    • Once the law schools receive your completed applications, they will contact the LSAC Credential Assembly Service to have your law school report sent to them which will include your transcripts and letters of recommendation.)
  • If you are thinking of re-taking the LSAT, check the admission policy of your target schools to assess how they will evaluate multiple LSAT scores. This can vary by school. The majority will use your highest score, but they can reserve the right to review all scores in their decision.