From my own experience, I know how daunting it can be to start the law school application process. Even if you have a friend who’s applying to law school or a lawyer in your family, the steps can be unclear and overwhelming at first.
I’m in the middle of applying to law school now, and I would’ve loved to have all of the most important pieces of the process broken down like this before I started. Hopefully, you’ll feel more like you know what you’re doing after reading these tips.
Take Diagnostic LSAT Early
Your LSAT score is one of the most important pieces of your law school application. Some law schools accept the GRE in place of the LSAT, but it’s a good idea to take the LSAT anyway.
The first practice LSAT you take is called a diagnostic, and it can let you know your strengths and weaknesses. If you run out of time on some sections of your diagnostic, try not to blindly bubble in random answers. This will give you the best idea of where you stand and what you need to work on. That being said, never leave questions blank on the real LSAT.
Create LSAC Account.
You’ll need a Law School Admission Council account to register for the LSAT, and to access LawHub. This offers free practice tests with the same testing interface used in the real LSAT and many other helpful resources. Through LSAC’s website, you can research schools and see what their LSAT and GPA medians are.
It’s a great idea to form a study group with friends or classmates. Khan Academy is a completely free resource providing loads of practice tests, videos and study exercises. I truly cracked down on studying for the LSAT only a few months before I took it, and the only resource I used was Khan Academy.
I took several full-length practice tests, but repeatedly taking tests isn’t what helped me the most. I focused on improving my worst section, analytical reasoning or logic games. I learned how to diagram more quickly and studied the kinds of questions that are common.
Review wrong answers until you know how to find the right answers. While I recommend using other resources in addition, it’s very possible to greatly improve your score by using only Khan Academy.
Take The LSAT
When your practice test scores are where you want them to be, register for the LSAT through the LSAC website. There are options to take it remotely or at a testing center. It might be a good idea to take it at a testing center to avoid complications related to LSAT’s new proctoring system.
Remember that it’s okay to take the LSAT more than once. Schools only consider your highest score and typically don’t care if you’ve taken it multiple times. It’s important to make sure you’re happy with your score and it gives you good chances at your goal schools.
Start thinking about what you want to write for your personal statement early. A good personal statement can make you an even more attractive applicant.
If your GPA and LSAT score are below the median for a school, a strong personal statement can strengthen your application. Take it seriously. Think about what would make you a good law student and why you want to pursue law.
Research Law Schools
This one might seem like it needs no explanation, but it’s really important to put time and thought into where you want to go to law school. Think about what programs and resources the school offers rather than the name-brand aspect of the school. Try not to worry too much about rankings, but pay attention to each school’s career outcomes and student profiles.
Secure Strong Letters of Recommendation
Most law schools prefer letters that highlight your academic abilities rather than your professional abilities. They want to know what you’re like as a student.
Ask two professors who know you well and can write you a strong, personal letter attesting to your academic strengths and personality.
It’s not too late to focus on building these relationships by going to office hours and getting to know your professors. Chances are, even a professor who you don’t know very well will want to see you succeed. Some schools accept more than two letters, but they always value quality over quantity.
Register For CRS
This step isn’t necessary, but it can save you some money and help you decide which schools to apply to. LSAC’s Candidate Referral Service lets law schools see your statistics and contact you. Schools that are interested in you will spam you with emails, but will also likely provide you with a fee waiver for the application.
The applications themselves cost around $70-85 per school, and there is an additional $45 Credit Assembly Service fee for each school you apply to. Individual fee waivers from schools can make a big difference, and it’s nice to see which schools are interested in you.
Before or during the semester that you’re applying, you’ll need to register for and buy LSAC’s Credit Assembly Service.
The CAS makes it possible for you to apply and it will send your transcripts to the schools you want. It can take up to two weeks for your transcript to be received, so do this step before you’re ready to send your applications.
Limit Reddit Time
I know you might feel alone and confused, especially if you don’t know anyone who has gone through this or is going through it now. It’s easy to fall into the doom-scrolling traps of r/lawschooladmissions and r/LSAT, but spending too much time on these subreddits can stress you out and skew your perspective of what law schools are looking for.
“Chance me” posts might seem like they can be helpful, but law school admission decisions are never up to random strangers on the internet. Let admissions decide whether or not they want you.
If you’re comfortable with it, ask your friends and family to look over your personal statement. It’s helpful to have people who know you offer different perspectives when they read your essay.
Your personal statement is supposed to capture who you are as a person. Your friends, family and even your pre-law advisor can make sure your statement represents you well and provides strong and compelling answers.
Most importantly, be confident in your academic abilities. Ideally, you’ll enter law school feeling like you belong there. When you apply to law school, you should have a similar confidence in yourself as a student and future lawyer.