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Pre-Law Studies

Application Timeline

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, and attend related events throughout the year.

Junior Year Fall Term

Schedule an appointment with a pre-law advisor to discuss 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 admission profile grid. Work 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 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

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 Career Center, and ask them questions by phone or through email.

Take the June administration of the LSAT if you are prepared, or build your study skills throughout the summer so that you can take the October test.

Write or update your professional resume. For tips and examples, download the 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.

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. As you meet with them, explain the reasons you are asking them, reminding them of aspects of your background and skill set that you believe they are best able to address in their letters. Tell them your target deadline for completing your application, and ask them if they would like a reminder as the deadline approaches. Provide them recommendation forms through the CAS.

September-October: Work with the Career Center to polish your resume.

October: Take, or if necessary, retake the LSAT.

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. (Note that the LSAC does not require separate transcripts for the city semester programs, as they consider them official Hanover programs).

January: Submit your fall term grades to the schools to which you applied.