Sample Admissions Timeline

Start studying for the LSAT.

December

Register for the LSAT through the LSAC.

March

You can register here.

Great time to take the LSAT.

June

It’s best to give yourself plenty of time to retake the test if necessary.

Register for the LSAC’s Credential Assembly Service (CAS).

June

The Credential Assembly Service makes your life easier. Instead of sending your transcripts and recommendations to twelve different law schools, you can send them to the LSAC and forward them to each school with a few clicks. Most law schools require you to use the CAS. Register here.

Make yourself an admissions checklist.

June

Or just use ours.

Send your transcripts to CAS.

June

The LSAC explains how to submit your transcripts.

Sanitize your social media and get a professional email address.

June

Google yourself and go through your social media accounts. If you wouldn’t want your mom to see something, you probably wouldn’t want your admissions officer to see it either. Adjust your privacy settings or delete embarrassing content.

Get a sensible firstname.lastname email address.

Lots of admissions officers look through online law school forums, so post carefully.

Draw up a list of schools to which you’ll apply.

July

We recommend about three reach, target, and safety schools, respectively.

Research the applications.

July

You may not be able to access law school applications until the fall, but you should be able to learn each school’s application requirements on its website. Make a note of optional essay questions and personal statement prompts that might require a tailored essay.

We’ve compiled the application requirements for top schools for you.

Create a law school résumé.

July

Your law school résumé is probably the first thing an admissions officer will look at, so you shouldn’t let it be an afterthought.

Begin your personal statement.

July

Your personal statement should tell a story—about an experience of personal growth, your motivation for pursuing a JD, or both.

Ask for your letters of recommendation.

July

Law schools usually require one or two letters of recommendation, at least one of which should be academic. Secure these early.

Begin a diversity statement, maybe.

July

A diversity statement is an optional essay about your background that explains how you’ll enrich the student body. You can write about socioeconomic factors, race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or anything else that distinguishes you. Don’t write a diversity statement unless you mean it, though.

Begin your other essays.

July

Many applications have idiosyncrasies. Yale, for example, makes you write a 250-word essay. Other schools give you the opportunity to explain why you’re interested in them.

Write your character and fitness addendum if necessary.

August

If you’ve ever been subjected to disciplinary action at school or charged with a criminal offense, you’ll probably have to explain what happened in a character and fitness addendum.

Write an addendum about extenuating circumstances, maybe.

August

If illness, family trouble, or some other extenuating circumstance affected your transcript or résumé, you may explain what happened in a non-required addendum. You may also want to explain a jump in your LSAT scores.

Revise your essays.

August

It often takes many drafts to find the best version of each essay.

Finish your essays and proofread the heck out of everything.

September

Don’t make an unforced error! Something as small as a missing apostrophe can make you look sloppy.

Fill out your applications.

October

Take care to attach the right documents and avoid typos.

Best time to apply.

October and November

Most law schools start to accept applications by early October and evaluate them on a rolling basis. There are more open spots at the beginning of the season, so early applicants have an advantage.

That said, you shouldn’t rush. Take an extra week or month to send the best possible application.

Good time to apply.

December

Fine time to apply.

January

A bit late to apply.

February

Don’t apply unless you have to.

March or later

Even though some schools accept applications throughout the spring, it’s usually better to wait for the next cycle than to apply in March.

Begin scholarship negotiations.

March

If you received an offer of financial aid, you can bargain for more.

Send a letter of continuing interest.

April

If you were waitlisted at a school, send them a strong letter of continuing interest in April and reaffirm your interest once a month.

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