Application Preparation: Building A Timeline


For those anticipating application in the upcoming 2022-2023 cycle, the summer is an excellent time to take steps to prepare for a smooth and successful admission process.  Two of the most important steps are to create a general timeline and to set goals for the upcoming months to ensure you stay on track and keep the application process as manageable as possible.

Below are a few recommendations on creating an application timeline and plan to enhance your success.

Step 1: Set up a System: 

You will be navigating a large volume of information and communications over a long period of time.  It is important to have a system to organize these details.  Your system should include the following components:

        • Document Storage:  You should have an online storage space or backup system for all the application materials you are crafting – resume, personal statement, etc.  You should also have a place to organize documents or information that you receive.  You will want to have a physical space to store and organize, as well as an electronic space.  Most information will be communicated electronically, but you may also accumulate materials at visits or fairs, or through mailings.  Consider investing in a container for all law school materials.  For digital material, consider utilizing “Box” and setting up folders to organize information by school, type of information, or whatever makes sense to you.
        • Email Correspondence:  Almost all communications regarding applications will be received via email, with some mail and phone communications possible.   Evaluate your available email accounts.  Determine now which one you will utilize for your applications, you could even create a new one!  Once you determine your “application email” plan to utilize that for all applications and application-related matters.  Set up folders in your inbox now to organize and respond to communications you anticipate receiving.  Determine a plan for checking and managing incoming communications – will you check every day? (yes), how many times a day?  Start utilizing your system now to make it a habit, it will make managing your email communications during the busier months feel more manageable.
        • Information Management:  As you get further along in the application process you will begin developing a potential list of schools to apply to, eventually you will apply to a definitive list of schools, and later you will begin receiving offers.  Having a comprehensive place to track and notate information about each school is critical to the process of comparing and contrasting each institution, ultimately deciding on your best fit.  This type of information tracking also helps ensure you do not forget or overlook any information you acquired along the way.  We recommend creating a spreadsheet that you can tailor to your own individual priorities, goals, and school attributes you are seeking.
Step 2: Establish Target Goals:
  • Part of building a timeline is having targeted goals for completing tasks.  For a successful application timeline you should consider the necessary tasks for applying to law school, but also other obligations you will have during this time period including family, academic, and extracurricular responsibilities.  Below are some examples of areas where you may want to set goals:
      • LSAT Preparation and LSAT attempts (first and second)
      • CAS Registration
      • Transcript Submission
      • Researching Schools
      • Completing Application Components
      • Submitting Applications
      • Visiting Schools
      • Academic Projects
      • Leadership Programs and Events
Step 3: Prioritize and Plan Ahead:

It is a wonderful thing to have a timeline and goals, but you only have 24 hours in a day and only so much attention or energy to give to any one task, opportunity, or obligation.  Being able to prioritize so that you can be successful in all aspects of your life is important.  Good prioritization requires establishing what is most critical and when.  Your first step in doing this is establishing the goals we mentioned above.  The second step in doing this is keeping yourself accountable, and finally, it is planning ahead to ensure you have set yourself up to be successful.  Create your semester calendar now.  Add in any family or personal obligations you are aware of – discuss holiday and other plans now so you know what time commitments will be necessary.   Begin dividing obligations by daily, weekly, monthly or one-time only events.  Review your course syllabi as soon as possible – map out large projects and due dates.  Begin researching important application dates and events now.

      • TIP:  Give yourself individual deadlines for projects and other work.  Set your individual deadlines several days or more prior to the actual deadline.  This will help you accommodate any unexpected issues.
      • TIP:  Begin thinking about your time each week.  Evaluate how much time you will spend for class, essential personal items (groceries, meals, health, fitness), study, and other leadership activities.  Determine when these items will take place in your weekly schedule and how much time remains after for other uses.
      • TIP:  Set expectations for yourself and others.  Realistically evaluate how long things usually take you (i.e. writing a paper), and build those realistic timeframes into your goals.  Let others that are important in your life know that the upcoming semester will be a critical one and talk now about how that may limit your time.

Join Us! Application Roadmap Workshop

To learn more about setting goals and specific timeline recommendations, consider attending our Application Roadmap Workshop.  The workshop will be offered multiple times in the upcoming months.  Get a head start by attending a workshop this summer on July 20 @ 6 pm or August 9 @ Noon (via Zoom).  To learn more, visit the PLAS calendar online.  PLAS programs are open to all UIUC students and alumni.

Campus Opportunity Highlights

The University of Illinois is rich with opportunities such as prestigious scholarships, internships, externships, international experiences, and research opportunities. Below is a compilation that may be of particular interest to pre-law students looking to enhance their experiences and opportunities during their undergraduate studies.

TIP:  If you are not eligible for an opportunity now due to class year or other criteria; that’s ok!  Planning ahead is an important aspect to your pre-law journey and identifying opportunities now can help you be successful later.  If you see an opportunity that interests you, look at the criteria and qualities listed for successful candidates. Determine what can you do now to develop those qualities to enhance your candidacy later.

Academic Opportunities and Internships:

      • National and International Scholarships:  NIS (a/k/a Top Scholars) assists UIUC students in applying for prestigious opportunities such as Rhodes Scholars, Truman Scholars, Fulbright, and more. Opportunities include undergraduate and graduate study, research, and teaching–often in foreign countries. This is an excellent opportunity for a summer or semester as an undergrad or a gap year before law school!
      • Illinois in Washington: IIW is the Washington, DC-based academic program for UIUC. Participants live in Washington, DC for a semester, where they intern and take classes taught by UIUC faculty. The program is offered in the fall, spring and summer and is open to all UIUC undergrads. This is an excellent opportunity to enhance your curriculum and resume, not to mention immerse yourself in the unique vibe of the Nation’s Capital!
      • Internships: Internships may be department-sponsored, coordinated through the Career Services office, or procured independently by the student. Internships could be paid, unpaid, and/or for credit. Some examples of internships are listed below. Don’t worry if your major is not listed below, check with your advisor to learn more about major-specific internship opportunities. This is an excellent opportunity to apply your knowledge to real-work scenarios and enhance your resume!
          • Champaign County Public Defender Program: In collaboration with the Champaign County Office of the Public Defender, the Political Science Department directs an internship in the Public Defender’s office for up to five undergraduates per semester for academic credit. Applications are generally due in October for the spring semester and April for the fall semester. For more information, click here.
          • Political Internships in Illinois: A student doing an internship while enrolled on campus can earn three credits through the PS 491 internship course. This program runs in fall and spring only. Typical placements are the district offices of our state and US representatives, local and county government, legal aid, non-governmental organizations, and social service programs. For more information, click here.
          • Department of Psychology | Community Internships: These internships require at least a one academic year commitment. Principles of psychology applied to service problems in the community; students serve as nonprofessional mental health workers in supervised experiences in schools, hospitals, and other nontraditional settings.  To learn more, click here.
          • College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Internships: LAS has multiple internship opportunities within the College. Develop effective communication, boost your leadership skills, and learn new technologies through these internships. Experiences include LAS 100, LAS 101, LAS 201, LAS 122, LAS Student Success Coaches, Hood Internship, ATLAS Internships Program, and the Data Science Scholars. To learn more, click here.
          • Check out the PLAS Internship document for additional opportunities! To learn more, click here.

Campus Leadership and Volunteer Opportunities:

      • Pre-Law Registered Student OrganizationsThe University of Illinois has several pre-law RSOs. Visit the blog for a highlight of pre-law student organizations and contact information. This is an excellent opportunity to gain leadership experience while connecting with your UIUC peers.
      • Illinois Leadership Center: Explore the various opportunities presented by the Illinois Leadership Center. There are opportunities for research, to participate in different programs and services, and even to obtain a minor in leadership studies!
      • Volunteer with UIUC: The Office of Civic Life (formerly the Office of Volunteer Programs) cultivates community partnerships that are designed to give students multiple entries to explore pathways to community involvement, global awareness, and civic responsibility. Explore the many ways to volunteer with UIUC by clicking here.
      • Office of Student Engagement: Explore the many opportunities to get involved at UIUC as a student through the Office of Student Engagement. Participate in a student organization, volunteer opportunity, or with a campus committee. To learn more, click here.

Study Abroad and International Opportunities:

      • Education Abroad (Study Abroad): UIUC offers hundreds of opportunities to study abroad. Options include Exchange Programs, Direct Enroll Programs, Provider Programs, and Faculty-Led/Short-Term Programs. With some pre-planning, pre-law students can experience education abroad and enhance their perspectives and resumes. This is an excellent opportunity to try something different, make connections abroad, and learn something new!
      • Off-Campus Political Science Internship: It is possible to earn credit in association with a political internship anywhere in the world, during fall and spring only and subject to departmental approval. The most common example is US State Department internships. The student enrolls in PS 491 and participates long-distance in the same class as the on-campus students. We have had students in Vienna, Paris, Dhaka, St. Petersburg, and at the US Mission to the UN in New York. Plan ahead! For more information visit the State Department website or contact your advisor.
      • Don’t forget! Additional international opportunities exist with the National and International Scholarship programs! To learn more, click here.

Research and Writing Opportunities:

      • Research: UIUC is a world-class research institution which means there are plenty of opportunities available for students to develop their research skills.  These are incredibly valuable skills to develop prior to law schools and an excellent way to expand your learning opportunities. Consider approaching a faculty member in an area you enjoy,  or your academic advisor, to see if any research opportunities exist. This is an excellent opportunity to work closely with faculty, learn new research and writing skills, and contribute to a body of work.  The Illinois Office of Undergraduate Research is an excellent resource to explore.  The Office of Undergraduate Research provides tools and information on how to find research opportunities, develop your own research projects, and highlights successful undergraduate research projects each year in April.


As always, reach out to the Pre-Law Advising Office for more information on opportunities that might be right for you!

June Snapshot

Summer Break is finally here! Be sure to mark your calendar for upcoming deadlines and Take advantage of the various pre-law events happening in June!

June 1: Seat Deposit Deadlines!  Starting law school in the fall?  Have you paid your 2nd Deposit? Many schools have second deposits due in the first few weeks of June – be sure you have completed this step by the deadline!

June 2: WashU Law OPEN HOUSE – Connect virtually with students, faculty, staff, and alumni. @ 5 pm CDT. For more information, click here.

June 2: University of Miami School of Law – Summer Legal Academy: Consider this unique opportunity to explore what law school is all about! This online program runs from July 11 to July 29. The program is free, but you must apply. For more information, click here.

June 3: Application Deadline –  Charles Hamilton Houston Pre-Law Institute summer (online) program.

June 3: Duke Law School’s D.C. Summer Institute on Law and Policy (in July). Registration Open Now.

June 4: CLEO – Achieving Success in the Application Process (ASAP) For more information on the various programs and to apply, click here.

June 5: Save the Date! 2022 Law School Fair will take place on Wednesday, September 28! The law fair will be held at the Illini Union (401 W Green St, Urbana, IL) from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm. For additional information about this opportunity, click here.

June 7 – June 23: LSAC presents “Law School Unmasked” Designed for students who are starting law school this fall, Law School Unmasked is a series designed to help you prepare for your first year of law school. To register, click here.

June 10: WashU Law Live with Admissions Should I apply again next cycle? @ 12 pm CDT. For more information, click here.

June 10-11: June 2022 LSAT Administration. Good luck to all of our test takers!

June 11 – June 12: CLEO 1L Prep – Attitude Is Essential (AIE) Seminar for Fall ’22 first-year law students.  Click here to register. Can’t make the June dates? AIE will also be offered on July 16 & 17 and August 13 & 14.

June 18: The Career Center Virtual Summer Hours: No appointment is needed. Log on to Zoom at the appropriate time.

        • Virtual Career Advising: Monday – Thursday, 11 am to 1 pm. Zoom link.
        • Virtual Resume and Cover Letter Drop-In Reviews: Monday – Thursday, 1 pm to 3 pm. Zoom link.

June 20 – July 29: LSAC presents “Admission Unmasked” Designed for students who are interested in law school, Admission Unmasked is a series designed to help you learn more about the admission process, LSAT, how to prepare a successful application, and more!. To register, click here.

June 21: WashU Law Our Diverse Community Presents: Professor Daniel Harawa @ 3:30 pm CDT. For more information, click here.

June 24: WashU Law Our Diverse Community Presents: Alum Shelby Saxon (’21) @ 2 pm CDT. For more information, click here.

June 25: Legal Specialties Series on Canvas: Have you looked at the Legal Specialties series on the PLAS Canvas page? Explore 20+ legal specialties by clicking here.

June 26: The Harvard Junior Deferral Program Application Deadline is July 1! To learn more and apply, click here.

June 30: LSAT Registration Deadline! Last day to register for the August 2022 LSAT. Visit LSAC to register. Prices have increased! The LSAT is now $215 (up from $200).