Following are general guidelines to help you stay on track as you prepare to apply to law school. Meet with a pre-law advisor to determine timing that works best for your academic interests and specific circumstances.
First and Second Year
- Begin to explore your intellectual interests and choose a major that you genuinely enjoy while taking classes that hone your research, writing, critical thinking and public speaking skills. Study hard, bearing in mind that your cumulative grade point average is one of the two main criteria law school admissions emphasize, along with your LSAT score.
- Get to know your faculty by participating thoughtfully in class discussions and by discussing ideas and assignments with them outside of class. Over time, try to take two or more classes from professors whose subject areas are interesting to you so that they will know your academic skills well enough to be able to write letters of recommendation for you.
- Join the Pre-Law Club (or revive it if it is not currently active!), and attend related events throughout the year.
- Research legal careers and set up shadowing opportunities to explore and narrow down your choices.
Junior Year Fall Term
- Schedule an appointment with a pre-law advisor to discuss application components: LSAT preparation, selecting schools, completing the Credential Assembly Service (CAS), requesting letters of recommendation, and setting up your personal application timeline.
- Assess your competitiveness with schools you are interested in through the LSAC's Official Guide to ABA-Approved Programs (be sure to scroll to the bottom of a school's page and click on the link to "Explore admission date for X school" to find a chart with GPAs and LSAT scores). Continue to focus on your GPA.
- Begin preparing for the LSAT now, scheduling 10 or more full-length timed practice tests, plus study sessions, before your target test date. As often as possible, take each practice test in a single sitting in order to increase your endurance. See our LSAT Tips for approaches to improve your test-taking efficiency.
Junior Year Winter Term
- Increase your LSAT practice intensity, gradually decreasing the time you allow yourself for each section while maintaining or improving your accuracy. Continue to focus on your GPA.
Summer Following Junior Year
- Find current LSAT dates and take the June administration if you are prepared, or build your study skills throughout the summer so that you can take the test in early fall term.
- Research law schools by visiting their websites and tour schools in person whenever possible. Request a list of alumni who have attended the schools through the Levett Career Center and ask them questions by phone or through email. Compare your top picks using the LSAC's Official Guide to ABA-Approved Program and the ABA's 509 Disclosures, which provide each law school's data on bar passage rates, scholarship rates, employment, and much more.
- Update your resume, emphasizing skills that are useful for law. For tips and examples, download the Levett Career Center's Resume Guide.
- Subscribe to the LSAC's Credential Assembly Service (CAS); request transcripts and generate letter of recommendation forms through the service. Consider a one-year subscription to LawHub, available through the LSAC. Note that schools' applications may not be active for submission till the fall.
- Begin writing your personal statement using these Tips for Drafting your Law School Personal Statement.
Senior Year Fall Term
- September: Request letters of recommendation, choosing faculty members who know and respect your academic skills, with whom you have taken two or more courses, providing them recommendation forms through the CAS. Finalize the list of schools to which you will apply. Create a chart to track their specific requirements. Keep an eye on CAS to ensure your documents are complete.
- September-October: Take, or if necessary, retake the LSAT. Work with Levett Career Center staff to polish your resume.
- November: Use the end of the month as your application deadline, ensuring that all elements have been submitted, including study abroad site transcripts, if applicable.
- January: Submit your fall term grades to the schools to which you have applied.