Active preparation for the law school application process should begin the spring before the cycle you plan to apply. Most law schools begin accepting applications in September/October, and have “rolling admissions” policies, which means they begin making admissions decisions in the fall through the spring when the application cycle closes. Ideally, your application should be complete and ready to submit by late October, or shortly thereafter, allowing your application to be considered near the beginning of the review period.
- A complete application typically includes the following:
- Personal statement (most schools request two pages double-spaced)
- 2-3 letters of recommendation
- LSAC Law School Report, which includes your official academic transcript(s) and LSAT score(s). Some schools also now take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) in lieu of the LSAT.
Some law schools offer applicants the opportunity to submit additional essays/documents, including addenda, diversity statements, and other school - specific essays. Learn more about these documents by clicking here (link to Application Documents page).
Where to Apply
Applicants should consider a number of factors when choosing schools to which to apply, including location, cost, reputation and resources, class size, success of alumni in the job market and fit. Relying solely on prestige and/or rankings can lead applicants astray. If you only consider most selective law schools for your list, not only may you not receive any offers of admissions, but they may actually turn out to be a poor fit to your personal needs and professional goals.
After you’ve put together a list of all the schools you’re interested in based on the criteria above, you still have to decide which ones to apply to. You will want to make sure that you apply to schools in three categories:
- Reach schools (schools that you have a chance of getting into, but not a likelihood)
- Strike zone schools (schools that you will likely be admitted to)
- Safety schools (schools that you should definitely be admitted to)
Applicants can begin to categorize their list of schools using a tool on the LSAC website that predicts the probability of their admission to any given school based on their LSAT score and undergraduate GPA. Noodle also provides a helpful resource that helps students narrow down their list.
As a general rule, we usually recommend developing a list of at least 10-12 potential law schools as a starting point.
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