The Unofficial Law School Admissions Lingo Dictionary
- Nov 09, 2023
- Law School Admissions
- Reviewed by: Matt Riley
Every year, Webster (yes, the dictionary!) adds new words to its database to keep the title of “America’s most trusted dictionary.” But if you’re applying to law school, you’ve likely come across some common words and terms that aren’t in the dictionary—neologisms, as Webster likes to call them.
From 0L to WL, we’re here to decode the niche lingo of law school admissions and help you make sense of this alphabet soup!
What Do These Law School Admissions Words Mean?
This isn’t a secret code or a typo. It simply refers to someone who is about to start law school but hasn’t officially begun their 1L (first year) yet. In other words, you!
1L, 2L, and 3L
If 0L is someone who hasn’t started law school, then 1L is someone in their first year of law school, and so on. Add these to your IG bio come the fall.
The American Bar Association. If you attend a law school approved by the ABA, you are eligible to sit for the bar exam in any state.
Short for “admissions committee.” In your case, these are law school admissions committees (i.e. the people who hold your dreams in their hands).
LSAC’s (we’ll get to LSAC later) Credential Assembly Service. CAS is how LSAC makes applying to law school “easy”. They will summarize your grades, compile your letters of recommendation, and send everything in one big report to each law school you apply to.
Columbia Law School, University of Chicago School of Law, NYU Law
The window of time when law schools open and accept their applications and decisions are handed out. A cycle will typically open in the fall and close the following spring (or, for some schools, as late as the summer into early fall).
Law school diversity statements. If your law school application doesn’t paint a clear picture of how you can contribute to the school’s diversity, you can consider writing a diversity statement.
EA / ED
Early Action (EA) is a non-binding application deadline that just means the school will let you know whether you’re accepted earlier in the cycle. Early Decision (ED) is a binding application option and you must attend the law school if you get an admissions offer.
The Experimental Section of the LSAT that could be an additional section of Logic Games, Logical Reasoning, or Reading Comprehension, but is not scored.
Harvard Law, Yale Law, Stanford Law
A “traditional” law school applicant who has never taken a gap year and is planning on attending law school immediately after undergrad. I.e. “Kindergarten to Law School.”
The Logic Games Section of the LSAT, also known as the Analytical Reasoning Section. Note that LSAC is removing the LG section starting with the August 2024 LSAT.
A Letter of Continued Interest that’s typically sent after being waitlisted at a law school. You’ll need to reiterate why you want to attend that law school above all others and highlight what has changed about you since you applied.
Letter(s) of Recommendation. Get tips on who to ask and what to do if they decline here.
The Logical Reasoning Section of the LSAT. Once you master this section, you’ll become a much better arguer in and out of the courtroom…but do try not to terrorize a lively comment section.
The Law School Admission Council. LSAC administers the LSAT, hosts most law schools’ applications, and offers other resources to help prelaws and law school applicants.
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Can refer to a law school’s median LSAT scores or GPA. A median LSAT score is the score that falls in the middle of an incoming class’ distribution of scores; same for GPA. Both are important for law school rankings and are used by law school applicants to “predict” the possibility of getting accepted into a given school.
A law school applicant who’s not a K-JD. You’re likely applying after graduating college and you probably took a gap year(s) either after high school or after undergrad or you’re switching careers. It’s never too late to follow your law school dreams!
Law school personal statement. Much more nuanced than a simple “Why I want to be a lawyer” or “Why you should accept me” essay. Read an example personal statement here!
LSAT practice test. Can also refer to a specific LSAT PrepTest (ex. PT92) or can be used as a verb to reference your practice test performance. E.g. “Are you PT-ing close to your goal score?” means “Are your practice test scores close to your goal score?”
The Reading Comprehension Section of the LSAT. At first glance, it sounds easy enough—you’ve been reading passages in standardized tests for how long again?—but many students find they need a little more strategy help with the RC section.
Reach schools are those dream institutions where acceptance might be a bit of a long shot, but you should still shoot it! Target schools are ones where your scores and GPA align nicely with their medians. Safety schools are those that you’re pretty confident of getting into. It’s like the saying, “Reach for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land amongst the stars!”
A law school applicant who is above a school’s median GPA, but below that school’s median LSAT.
“Soft” law school application factors/components that are not LSAT score and GPA. This includes work experience, military service, extracurriculars, and anything else that’s not generally quantifiable. Think of it as the difference between baking a cake (softs) and measuring the ingredients (hard numbers). Both are essential for a successful law school application!
A law school applicant who is above a school’s median LSAT but below their median GPA.
The top 14 law schools based on the U.S. World News Report. Rankings are updated every year, and some schools have even opted out recently, so take them with a grain of salt. You can also substitute 14 for another number (T20, T10, etc) and most people will still understand.
Undergraduate GPA, which LSAC calculates slightly differently than your undergraduate institution does.
Underrepresented Minority. This term refers to racial or ethnic groups that are underrepresented in law schools compared to their numbers in the general population. Many law schools are committed to increasing diversity and often consider URM status during the admissions process.
U.S. News and World Reports. Known for their annual (though not entirely uncontroversial) law school rankings.
Waitlist/Waitlisted from a law school you applied to. It’s not a hard “Nope” and applicants do indeed make it off the waitlist as the cycle progresses! You can help your chances by writing an LOCI (see above!).
Did we miss any law school acronyms you’ve seen floating around Reddit? Let us know! In the meantime, here’s one more letter scramble for you: Sign up for a BP LSAT FA to get tons of free LSAT resources and start your LSAT journey today!
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