Wow, even just typing the title made me feel relieved to be done with law school applications!
If you’re reading this, chances are you are either applying to law schools *right now*, or interested in doing so. As daunting and overwhelming as the process is, I’m here to tell you that you will be so relieved once it’s all done! I hope this post provides some clarity and reassurance in navigating the whole law school application process.
For reference, I’ll be referring to the Law School Admission Council’s instructions on applying to JD Programs. Their webpage can be accessed here. I see the process in 7 steps:
- Create an LSAC account
- Take the LSAT
- Research Law Schools
- Get those transcripts
- Request letters of recommendation
- Write your personal statement
- (Honorable mention: Get accepted (and you will!)
So let’s break it down. Starting with #1.
1. Create an LSAC account
This is so easy to do, and free! Anyone can make a Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) account at any time – you don’t need to wait for this. The LSAC website has a ton of awesome resources for JD applicants. You can search and compare schools, add schools to a list, see requirements, etc. Seriously, go check it out. Website here.
2. Take the LSAT.
Ugh, I know. The LSAT isn’t really the most fun way to spend your time. But it is a necessary part of your ~journey to JD~. There are a TON of posts and videos and opinions out there about how to study the LSAT, but I think you’ll find similar advice repeated: do what works for you.
One good thing about 2020, is you may have learned a bit more about yourself and your learning style. Ask yourself a few questions: do you find it easier to study by yourself or with a group? In a classroom or virtually? Do you learn better when you read on your own, or when you watch a lecture? You may want to take a learning assessment to explore this a little more. Here’s one by Vark.
There’s many different LSAT prep providers out there, you just have to find one that you like. Personally, I really liked the LSAT Trainer by Mike Kim. It’s a more affordable option that allows students to pace themselves, while still doing a lot of practice.
Find what works for you, commit the right amount of time to studying, take practice tests, and take the LSAT. You can do it!
3. Research Law Schools
I did all of my research into law schools using the resources provided on LSAC’s website. I had never even heard of my current law school before I started the application process. You just want to find 6-12 law schools that you would like to apply to. You can make the harder decisions later. Some factors to consider:
- GPA/LSAT scores – how likely is it that you will be accepted based on your stats?
- Specialty – is there a certain area of law you would like to practice? Does this school have any clinics or programs, or research that stands out to you?
- Bar Pass Rate – this is something I highly valued
- Cost of Living
- Scholarships available
4. Secure the
bag. I mean transcripts.
Request your transcripts EARLY!!!!!! If you are a procrastinator, do not procrastinate on this. Just do it early, when you’re bored on a Friday, when you have some extra time. Contact your college and University’s records office ahead of time for specific instructions. I am so thankful that I went to a small undergrad (UC Merced) and they were so incredibly helpful in the process. The LSAC website has specific instructions so you just want to make sure you follow these carefully.
5. Letters of recommendation.
Reflect on your academic and professional career up until this point. Think about your work besties, your favorite professors, any mentors you’ve had. Who is someone reliable that will write and submit a timely letter on your behalf?
Remember, these recommenders are likely incredibly busy. Anything you can do to help them to also navigate the process will make things so much easier. Lay out the process for them, provide your resume, maybe even write a sample draft letter for them.
Reach out to your recommenders with ample time for them to prepare their letter, contact you with any questions, and submit it on time!
6. Write your personal statement
Okay, let’s be real – this part IS tough. Thinking of a theme, a topic, a storyline of some sort can be really hard and honestly hold you back from moving forward in your application. Think back to any scholarship or admission essays you’ve written in the past. Think about why you want to go to law school and use this personal statement as an opportunity to honestly introduce yourself to law school admissions. Start out by just answering WHY, and then expand from there. Also, share with a few trusted colleagues or a family member to edit.
OMG, you have made it THIS far! That is HUGE! Give yourself a pat on the back. ❤
The applications themselves (all through LSAC’s website) are not as tough as the previous steps (in terms of brain power). Set aside some time where you can play some music or a tv show and fill out all of the information requested in the applications. It’s just a tedious part in the process, but this the last step!! Ah!!! (Also, I would recommend saving a PDF copy of your applications just for reference.)
8. Look out for acceptance emails!
You did it! This is a huge accomplishment. 🙂 Tell your family and friends and narrow down some of your choices!
I hope this helps any law school applicants out there. The process can be overwhelming, but you’ve got this. Sending good vibes!