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Balancing Law School Applications and LSAT Prep

  • by Philip Mayer
  • Sep 11, 2014
  • Admissions, General LSAT Advice

As I’m sure many of you are aware, a large number of law school applications become available in September. Those of you gearing up to take the LSAT in a few weeks may be wondering how much time you should dedicate to your application materials versus your LSAT preparation. This post is designed to help shed some light on that issue and help you navigate your way through your application cycle.

First off, I want to make something unequivocally clear: if you’re taking the September LSAT, your main priority should be to study. If you’ve reached this point in your preparation, you probably already know that your LSAT score is the single most important aspect of your application. If you’re working full time or if, for any other reason, you can only spend a few hours per day on law school related tasks, then those few hours should be spent on the LSAT. It is important to try to apply early (more on that in a moment), but I would rather apply later with a higher score than sooner with a lower score.

If you have more than just a few hours, I would still budget the majority of your time to studying; however, there are a few easy ways to get a jump-start on your applications:

1. Begin filling out the application forms.
For the most part, these forms contain objective information that you can input without a lot of dedicated focus (which is nice if you’re feeling burned out from studying). The forms are mostly busywork, but getting them out of the way can give you a sorely needed sense of accomplishment.

2. Request letters of recommendation and transcripts.
Requesting letters of recommendation is the more effortful task, but either of these can be accomplished in a relatively short amount of time and will save you headaches later on.

3. Brainstorm ideas for your personal statement.
I don’t recommend trying to write your personal statement at this point, but it is a great idea to try to outline the body of your essay and start coming up with ideas for attention getters as soon as possible. For me, starting my personal statement was the most difficult part of the application process, and I would have benefitted from following my own advice.

As you’re approaching all of this, remember that you still have a lot of time. Applications are considered early if they are sent in by Thanksgiving (obviously that isn’t a hard deadline, but it is a general rule of thumb)—that gives you a window of almost two months after the September LSAT. Furthermore, once you’ve completed the LSAT, you won’t get your score for at least three weeks. Even if you had all of your applications complete and ready to go, you wouldn’t be able to send them in until around the third week of October, when you get your score.

Keep your eye on the prize in terms of prepping for the LSAT, think about your personal statement, collect your application materials, and spend a few weeks or even a couple of months completing your applications—if you do all that, you’ll be good to go and ahead of the game!

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