It’s nearly the 4th of July, and right about now, law school applications are the last thing many applicants want to think about. Smart applicants will really maximize the remainder of the summer by focusing on the remaining elements of their application so that they can get those applications out early, qualifying them for the most aid. Now it’s time to dive into the rest of your applications.
Decide whether to (re)take the September LSAT. If so, don’t take too much time off. It is VERY COMMON for retakers to put off their LSAT study until August, pick up their books again, and realize that they’ve lost a lot of ground. If you’re going to retake, make it worth your while by maximizing this time and continuing your commitment to improve your score. By the way, registration is already open for the September LSAT. It is smart to register early to get your preferred test site.
Schedule summer law school visits. When do you plan to visit your top choice law schools? Sometimes summer law school visits are easier for students–you may be near the school for the summer, you could be studying abroad during the fall semester, or maybe you know that your fall will be dominated by September LSAT studying and you won’t have much time for visits. Summer law school visits are a good alternative. Granted, most law schools have fewer students around in the summertime, but if now is when you have the time, go ahead and schedule those prospective student visits. Summer visits can also have the advantage of a smaller visitor-to-admissions-staff ratio, allowing for more direct contact with the people who will actually be reading your applications.
Get letters of recommendation. Hopefully, you’ve already got your letter writers lined up. If not, what are you waiting for? You should expect it to take at least 6-8 weeks for your recommender to write the letter, submit it, and for the LSAC to process it. Summer is a GREAT time to approach your letter writers because many people in academia have a lighter schedule than during the academic year. It is highly suggested that students do not wait until September-October to ask for academic letters of rec–this is often the absolute busiest time for professors and can lead to significant delays.
Draft your personal statement. It’s time to take that energy and time you were focusing on the LSAT and devote it to your personal statement. We also have some tips and suggestions for the personal statement on our website and a helpful handout on our Compass page. We will also continue to host our Personal Statement Workshops this fall, as we do every semester. Spend some time thinking about your values, your goals, and what makes you stand out from the crowd. Then write a draft, set it aside for a few days, and revisit it. Don’t worry if you don’t love the first draft–no one does. Start now so that you can spend at least a month thinking, writing, and editing. When you are ready for some feedback, you can make an appointment for a Pre-Law Advisor to review your personal statement and discuss it with you. (Call 333-9669 to set up a personal statement review appointment. Please email us your statement and resume two business days prior to your appointment so that we have time to review them.)
Order your transcripts. You’ll want to order a transcript from each undergraduate institution you attended. Visit the LSAC here, http://www.lsac.org/jd/applying-to-law-school/cas/requesting-transcripts, for more information on the transcript ordering process.
Deciding whether and where you’re going to apply early decision. You can only apply to one law school through a binding early decision program. It’s time to consider whether you want to choose this option, in which case your early decision application will be due (depending on the school) on November 1, November 15, or December 1–in any case, a deadline you need to know. Applicants should carefully consider this option. In the case of binding early decision programs, you need to decide: how committed are you to this school? How important are scholarships to you? Would you go there even without any scholarship? Would you be willing to withdraw all of your other applications if X school admitted you? That is the level of commitment that binding early decision requires. Take some time to research and consider this big decision.
Take a look at our earlier post called “The Application Process: LSAC Tips” for even more application details.