Pre-Law Advising Services is happy to announce our 1st Ever Law School Application Week: Nov. 10-14! As you know, law schools use rolling admissions, which means that the early applicants have the best chances of admission and scholarships. Yet many students will wait until December, January, or even later to apply! (Why?) We are hosting this Law School Application Week for 2 reasons: 1. To encourage applicants to take advantage of rolling admissions by applying now! 2. To provide information and tips to help the application process go smoothly. If you’re not applying this year, you can still learn a TON about the application process this week to ace it when you’re ready.
Every day this week, we will share resources via this blog, our Facebook page, and over on our Twitter feed to help Illinois pre-law students and alumni GET IT DONE and submit their applications early. Ready? Let’s do this!
Today’s focus is LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again (and again): A good plan is 2 academic recommenders and 1 non-academic recommender. Why 2 academic? Well, the very first thing law schools want to know is that you can succeed academically in their classroom. As an applicant either coming straight from undergrad or with a year or two of work experience, you are so close to your undergraduate education that frankly this is the most relevant information you have to share with law schools at this point. Take it from Dean Asha from Yale Law School, who recently and vehemently emphasized her preference for 2 academic recommendations here.
Why 1 non-academic letter? Because law schools do care about non-academic skills. They want to see that you work well with people, take time commitments seriously, resolve conflicts, can handle money, or just that you understand how businesses function. Any and all of these can be demonstrated by a non-academic recommender, whether that person is a supervisor from an internship/volunteer site, or a boss, or maybe even a clergy member or coach who knows you well. By the way, if you have more than 1 non-academic letter, that’s fine too.
To-Do List for TODAY if you are applying to law school this year:
1. Have you approached all of your letter writers? If not, what on earth are you waiting for? Contact those people NOW. Stop reading this very second and go do it. Today. (I am not kidding here.) Get it in writing. Ask the recommender if s/he can submit the letter by a certain date (at least 3 weeks out, I suggest. Anything less than 3 weeks is really unrealistic for this time of year, and many profs will refuse. Including me.) Remember that it will also take the LSAC 3-7 business days to process your letters once received.
2. Have you sent your letter writers everything they need? Did you send them the email link from your LSAC Credential Assembly Service account? Did you provide a resume, personal statement, and/or list of schools to which you are applying? Check with your recommender.
3. If you confirmed your letter writers and sent them everything, are your letters in? Check your Credential Assembly Service account. If not, now is a great time to send a polite reminder to your recommenders. Example: Thanks so much for offering to write my letter of recommendation. I am planning to apply by Nov. 28. Do you have an idea of when you will be able to submit your letter? I really appreciate your time.
4. Have you considered which letters you will submit to each school? Look at the requirements of each school’s application. Consider which combination of letters you will use for each application.
We’ll be back tomorrow with more of our Law School Application Week.