It’s hard to create a definitive timeline for law school applications since admissions are rolling. However, applicants who apply earlier in the cycle receive much better admissions outcomes and scholarships than their tardy counterparts. Reflecting on my law school application cycle, there are some things that I could have done better. If your journey is just beginning, this is what I think an ideal application timeline would look like to set yourself up for the best possible results.
Start studying for the LSAT. At least 3 months of focused prep should get you to your optimal score.
Take the LSAT for the first time. This will give you the chance to retake it two more times if you are not satisfied with your score and still apply hella early. I didn’t take my first LSAT until September, and I wish I had started earlier.
LSAT take 2 if you were not thrilled with your score. Also, reach out to your letter of recommendation writers (at least two), and ask if they will write for you. Give them a deadline of about two months.
Follow up with your LoR writers a week or two before your proposed deadlines if they have not submitted their letters yet. If you have some free time, get cracking on your personal statement and diversity statement/addendum if either apply to you. I’ll talk more about these components in a future post.
LSAT take 3, if needed (but no more after that unless you’re a total masochist!). Most law school apps open in early September, so you can start filling those out and working on any supplemental essays for specific schools.
#sendit. Submit those apps. Historically, submitting your applications before Thanksgiving has been considered early. However, this year, LSAC is offering more testing dates, so that may change. Plus, you followed my advice and took the LSAT in June, so you have no excuse for submitting your apps any later.
Chilllll. Wait for the acceptances and scholarships to roll in. And you thought waiting for your LSAT score was hard. You should get acceptances first. Waitlists and rejections usually come later in the cycle. Make sure to scan and save all of your acceptance and scholarship letters.
Wow, this process has taken you a whole trip around the sun. Hopefully you have all of your acceptances by now, but you may be riding a few waitlists or waiting on a decision from some schools. Time to put on your big girl pants and ask the schools that accepted you for more money. Also, not a bad time to fill out the FAFSA.
Your first seat deposit is likely due around May. Time to pick a school! Maybe the pieces all fell into place and you knew where you were going since January. Maybe you’re still undecided and putting down deposits at three different schools. Either way, you got this! Once you make your final decision, apply for federal loans if you need them. Also, make sure to thank your recommenders! You may want to do this earlier, but I Amazon primed mugs of my chosen school to my recommenders as a thank you.
Find a place to live! Keep in mind your timeline will vary based your region and whether you’re renting or buying.
Quit your job, get your tan on, do whatever you damn well please.
Welcome to law school! Time to really get to work now.
I know I glossed over a lot of really important components, but I promise to dive more in depth about them in future posts. Disagree with my timeline? Did I leave anything out? Let me know in the comments!