Law School Admissions Application Checklist
- Jul 19, 2019
I don’t know what’s worse: actually taking the LSAT, the after-test self-reflection, or the cruel waiting time until scores are released? The good news is that, if you took the July LSAT, you have six whole weeks to get together everything you need to prepare a completed law school application! Everyone else, you might want to kick your planning into high gear.
That’s right: LAW SCHOOL. You mean that all of this studying for the LSAT stuff actually has a purpose other than studying for months to get a score? Who would have thought?
So, let’s get into this seemingly scary situation — don’t worry, though! It’s really not that big of a deal; the only thing this process does … is determine the beginning of the rest of your whole life.
Preferably alive, regardless of how you felt after the LSAT.
Make sure that you have set up an account on LSAC.org. If you have already sat for the LSAT, you have an account already. You know, it’s the website you logged into to print that admission ticket with the gorgeous picture of yourself? Yeah, that one.
If you somehow do not yet have one: sign up! If you want fee waivers and/or emails from law schools, you can opt into Candidate Referral Service.
A List of Schools
It does not have to be a complete list just yet, but it’s a great idea to start getting an idea of where you want to spend the next three years of your life. A good rule to follow is having a general idea of what your goals are post-law school, and picking schools that will get you to those goals. You should have a diverse list of schools that are either safeties (schools where your GPA and LSAT fall well above the 50th or 75th-percentiles), targets (schools where your GPA and LSAT fall just around the median, or perhaps where one falls above than the median and the other falls below), and reaches (schools that you have always dreamed of going to, but your GPA and LSAT may fall below the 50th percentile).
A Personal Statement
Ok, this is your shot to show schools who you are beyond your numbers. It is a chance for you to show an admissions committee how you think, speak, and what kinds of things you value. Generally, personal statements are around two pages. There is no right or wrong topic so long as it is *personal* — as in, it shows people who have no idea who you are, who you are.
No this isn’t that resume you update every time you leave a job for greener pastures. Law school resumes are more focused on your academics and the value your unique experiences will bring to the school and your future lawyer career. You might even need more than one if you’re applying to different schools. It should be carefully constructed to ensure that it fits with the information you are giving to the admissions committee and continues to portray the message that you would be a good fit for their school and this program.
Letters of Recommendation
The personal statement are where you show schools how awesome you think you are. Letters of recommendation are where other people speaking to how awesome they think you are. Make sure to get two academic letters of recommendation from former professors, or someone else, who can speak highly of your academic capabilities. Remember, schools want a student that they can teach to become a great lawyer. If you’ve been out of school for five or more years, it’s OK to go with professional references though.
You’re eventually going to need at least one reportable LSAT score in order for schools to consider your application, so you can’t just cancel all the scores from your tests (even if you do cancel your score on the July test). Of course, aim for the highest score possible! Take the LSAT two or three times in a year if you need to because schools mostly just care about your highest score.
Credential Assembly Service is a reporting service on LSAC.org. Applicants pay for this service once, and from there on out LSAC will generate reports for law schools. The important thing to remember is that you are still responsible for making sure all of the information (letters of recommendation, transcripts, etc.) gets requested, uploaded, and sent to LSAC. It sounds extremely boring, but it is actually extremely necessary. Once you are certain the documents got sent to LSAC, the CAS will send your applications to whichever law school you tell (and pay) them to. So the process of LSAC sending your applications to schools is actually quite easy and streamlined. Yes I really did just say easy. Some things in this process can actually be easy — gasp! Go sign up now if you have not already done so.
Application Requirements for Each School
Each school will have additional requirements for their applications. Yale, for example, has historically required applicants write an infamous 250-word supplemental essay on any topic of their choice. Each school is different, so make sure you pay careful attention to the requirements of the schools on your list.
A Good Playlist
Law school applications take a lot of time! Having a great playlist to jam out to makes the process so much better.
This process isn’t easy. Remember to be patient with yourself, and take pride in the work you do every step of the way. Your friends here at Blueprint are always here for you
Good luck! Now, go log on to your LSAC account, and get to checking everything off this list before the applications open up in the fall.
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