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When is the best time for me to apply for Law School?

LSATtruth.LSATtruth. Alum Member
edited August 2016 in Law School Admissions 175 karma
I took the LSAT last December with the attention of going to Law School in Fall. I was extremely busy when I originally took the test and barley studied. Unfortunately, I scored in the 150's. I decided I was going to retake the test when I had more time to study and not apply to last school until the next year. However, several schools sent me application waivers. Out of the schools that sent me application waivers one was Northeastern which is a school that I am interested in attending. They have an excellent public interest law program which is my area of interest. I'm now studying for the LSAT full-time to retake in December with way more time on my hands than I had last year. My goal is to score to score "165" but whatever my score im likely to score way better than the first test I took in December based upon my performance on practice test. Should I wait to submit my northeastern law application until my new lsat score comes in in December or should I submit it with the old one?


  • SprinklesSprinkles Alum Member
    11542 karma
    Submit your application asap BUT still take the LSAT and let the schools know to put your application on hold until your score is released. Or if you want to see your score before you submit to know if you want/need to retake then wait to submit your application. It's best to submit your application soon though so it already had the time to go through the submission process which takes a week or two so once your score comes in there's nothing to wait for on the adcomms end! Main thing is not to rush your study time for the application. Law school will always be here but taking your time with the LSAT can do wonders to your application!
  • SprinklesSprinkles Alum Member
    11542 karma
    If you decide to go with the former route that I mentioned, then the way to let the schools know is via email/phone call or both (especially for Northeastern since it's your top choice lol)
  • Alex SoCalAlex SoCal Alum Member
    22 karma
    Just food for thought: I went through the application cycle and after not getting into a T14 (I should have expected it) I decided to sit out and retake the LSAT.

    Now, being a URM (Hispanic/Puerto Rican) I figured I'd apply to all the schools that sent me waivers and some obvious stretches in hopes of lucking my way in. I have a 3.45 gpa, finance major, and 159 lsat at the time. The schools I applied to EARLY nearly all waitlisted me (Cornell, Columbia, USC, and Boston College) Whereas schools that I either A) applied to late (Upenn, UVA, Michigan) or place my application on hold until I retook the lsat which I ultimately had to cancel for medical reasons (Boston University, UCLA and Northwestern) flat out rejected me. So, I feel that the early application will show you are eager and strongly considering those school and have the school lean more towards a wait-list than flat out rejection where as you asking them to hold you're application specifically will make them only read your application later where they will likely, and reasonably, expect you to have gotten into other schools in the mean time and consider you a matriculation risk.

    So my suggestion would be to include an LSAT addendum saying that you intend to retake due to good practice test scores but do not specifically ask for a hold. They'll review you're application and get to you know and very unlikely flat out reject you, at least that was my impression from my application cycle.
  • SprinklesSprinkles Alum Member
    11542 karma
    @"Alex SoCal" said:
    So, I feel that the early application will show you are eager and strongly considering those school
    There's simply no need to rush an application out of hopes the adcomms will see you as an "eager applicant." The only time they consider you an eager applicant is if you apply ED. Many if not all schools only begin to look at applications after Thanksgiving break so within that time an application submission should be solid - even for T14. In fact, putting your application on hold while your newer LSAT score gets released poses no threat to your chances of being accepted because once the score is out, you don't have to delay/wait extra weeks because your application would have been done and processed (put on hold) by that time. But like I said, you should only do this if you're confident your score will be higher than the previous one(s) and you feel your numbers are at a good range for that school (median, 75th percentile, above 75th...) Bottom line: application should always be submitted ASAP but doesn't dismiss the fact that it needs to be at its very best before submission because quality outweighs pace.
  • SprinklesSprinkles Alum Member
    11542 karma
    @"Alex SoCal" said:
    So my suggestion would be to include an LSAT addendum
    I don't think this is necessarily the best idea. according to David Busis,
    @david.busis said:
    The point of an addendum is to show your good judgment--even if you're explaining bad judgment from the past. Some people will tell you to submit an addendum for anything; I've come to believe that a low-LSAT addendum is just as likely to hurt you as it is to help you.

    Here's the test. Think of someone smart who didn't like you in high school, college or beyond. Imagine explaining your low GPA or LSAT score to that person. If that person would think your argument legitimate, go ahead and write it. If that person would be skeptical, don't write it.

    Example of a valid low-GPA explanation: You had to travel home every weekend of your sophomore year to care for a sick relative. (Only works if your GPA is lower sophomore year than other years).

    Example of a bad LSAT explanation: Someone's cell-phone rang during the test and you couldn't decide to cancel or not and you decided to cancel but then you forgot. (The cell-phone thing might have really thrown you off, but it may sound trivial to your reader. Forgetting to cancel your score makes you seem disorganized.)
  • cetienn2cetienn2 Member
    28 karma
    David Busis stated in a video that October was a good time to apply for law school. If you take the LSAT in December, you would receive your score by [Mid]-January. Therefore your application would only be completed by Mid-January. I have read that Law School Admission Officers put candidate application in piles depending on LSAT scores and Grades. I would advice that you apply for the 2018 class. That way you can maximize your chances of getting into northwestern [with potential scholarships]. Applying early in the process with a higher LSAT score would put you head of those who may have gotten similar scores and/or people with higher GPA, but lower LSAT scores.

    However, if you cannot wait until the next application cycle, then apply in December and contact your chosen schools. I would not suggest that you write an addendum about why you received a lower score -to me it would seems like you making excuses for that score. Keep in mind that there are many students in that same situation who may have scored higher than you. Own your score. Better yet, just tell admissions that you'll be taking the December LSAT and your score should be release by January.

    Also contact LSAC to know more about how to submit applications without admission officers seeing that you're already taken the LSAT. They can access that information once you retake the actual test.

    Do not RUSH.

    Best of Luck.
  • AlexAlex Alum Member
    23929 karma
    I agree with most of what has already been said. I will add this:

    The best time to apply is the earliest time you have your best application package ready. If you have a good LSAT score, LORs, PS/DS, and apps ready to go on September 1st, you are in great shape. If you need to wait to retake -- even if it only means 1-2 points higher -- it is worth it to be on the late(r) side and apply in January.
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