The actual application process should be the culmination of careful planning and preparation. There are several things students can do to enhance their chances of law school admission long before they formally apply: meet with a pre-law advisor their freshman year (or as early as possible), take challenging courses, become involved in campus activities, obtain an internship, develop an employment history, and create a résumé.
The law school application process normally begins late in a student’s junior year of college. The following information is a brief summary of the application process. For more detailed information consult the LSAC and the other links provided.
The Law School Admission Test
The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is required for admission to all American Bar Association approved law schools. The test is administered four times per year in late September/early October, December, February, and June. This multiple choice test and your undergraduate grade point average have proven to be strong indicators of law school success. Students should spend a great deal of time studying and preparing for the exam. Students should plan to take the June or September test to ensure that his or her file is complete before Christmas. There are several benefits to taking the June exam: students typically have more time to devote to studying for it, you will know your score in July and thus will have a better idea which schools you realistically have a chance of attending, you will also have more time to prepare for a second LSAT (if needed), and it permits early application.
The Law School Data Assembly Service
Students should register with the Law School Data Assembly Service the summer before their senior year. (You do not have to register for the LSAT and the LSDAS at the same time.) This service prepares a law school report for each law school to which you apply. Almost all American Bar Association approved law schools require that applicants use this service. According to the Law School Admissions Council, there are five basic steps to complete your LSDAS file:
- Register for the LSDAS and pay all required fees.
- Take the LSAT or use a prior LSAT score that is still valid.
- Request that one official transcript be sent to the LSAC from the registrar’s
office of each undergraduate school you attended.
- Ask recommenders to write letters and to send them to the LSAC or to the law
schools (if the school asks for a school specific letter).
- Apply to law schools and order law school reports.
You should plan to send your academic transcripts as soon as possible (even by Labor Day of your senior year) because the LSDAS will standardize your g.p.a. If you wait until after your fall semester grades to send your transcript, there can be up to a two week delay in processing your grades. You can still have those grades sent as part of your file for an admissions committee to consider.