Applying to Law School this Fall? 3 Things to do in May!

Law School Expert Blog

For those of you applying for Fall 2013 admission (or even Fall 2014 if you’re taking time off) here are 3 things you can do this month (May 2012) to get things underway!

1. Make your LSAT Decisions: Decide on your date and choose a prep program. Consider your schedule (work, school, family) and budget, how well you study on your own, how much it helps you to sit in a class versus following along online, and how much you struggle with standardized testing. Based on this information, choose whether to do an in-class prep program, private tutoring, a self-study regimen, an online class, or any combination thereof. Prices can range from a couple of hundred dollars for self study programs with materials to several thousand dollars, but there is really no need to spend more than $1500-$2000 on LSAT prep if you choose wisely.

2. Get your Letters of Rec Going: Choose people to write letters on your behalf. Ask them if they can write a “strong” letter of recommendation for you. If so, give them the information they need to include details about you. Prepare them by giving them the form they need from LSAC and memorize everything you need to know about the procedure by reading this page about law school letters of rec. Make sure you are asking the right people, meaning people who law schools will want to hear from. For more about this, you can read Chapter 4 of The Law School Admission Game: Play Like an Expert. Then make sure your LORs are received by LSAC by the end of the summer.

3. Explore Career Choices. Make sure to spend some time seriously considering your reasons for going to law school. Read everything about law school – good and bad – that you can get your hands on. Talk to lawyers. Talk to law students. Visit law schools. Get as much information as you can so you make informed decisions throughout the law school application process. If you haven’t already read The Law School Decision Game: A Playbook for Prospective Lawyers then start there. For the realities of starting your own law firm, read Make It Your Own Law Firm. Read articles about recent law  firm hiring trends and student loan debt. Read blogs about different lawyering careers. Lawyers make their best arguments by knowing their facts, so if you do your research you’ll be able to justify your decision to go to law school when people harangue you about it!




7 Responses

  1. Hi Ann,

    I will be applying to law school in the fall. I have a 3.8 GPA and had been scoring in the low 160’s on my practice LSAT tests (I’m taking it for the first time on Monday). I’ll be graduating from undergrad in three years with a degree in Economics. I will be 20 when I apply. I’m just wondering if my age will hurt me in the application process. I’ve been reading forums and some have said that my age and completing undergrad early means an automatic rejection from most schools.

    Thanks for any insight,

    1. Jena, that’s silly. You might have to emphasize maturity and perspective and good judgment through your application strategy, but I’ve had clients in your position who are not at Columbia, etc. You’re working hard and law schools will appreciate your focus and drive if you “sell it”. There is no one perfect law school applicant -everyone has minuses. If this is your “minus” you’re not going to be stopped from reaching your dreams just because you’re a year younger than some others.

  2. I saw on the LSAC website that LOR’s only take two weeks to process. I decided pretty late to attend law school, and I’m registered for the October LSAT. I plan on asking my professors at the end of this month, so that they can have letters ready by the end of October, exactly when the LSAT score arrives. If all goes well, I should have applications ready by early- to mid-November.

    This is okay, right? You recommended here that students get LOR’s ready as early as summer! Is that just for the sake of being early, or is there some procedural rule I’m missing?

  3. Hi Ann,

    I’ve never done well with standardized testing, and my ACT score was certainly not indicative of my academic performance in college (graduated with a 3.75 and two degrees in Economics and Japanese).

    I really hate excuses and do not want to write an addendum trying to explain why I scored low on the LSAT. I may be stubborn, but it goes against my nature. Thus, I’ve been rigorously studying for the last six weeks (5-8 hours/day excluding Sundays). I am using some prep books and taking timed practice tests about 3-4 times a week. However, I am getting concerned because my scores have been fluctuating drastically as of late. My initial diagnostic with no prep was a 149. I was scoring between 156-159 in the last two weeks and finally broke into the 160’s last weekend (162 to be exact). My goal is 164+ so I’ve been really kicking it into high gear and sometimes taking two practice tests a day. However, I scored a 152 on one of my PTs yesterday and was completely shocked. I seem to be hit or miss with LR, and I just did awful in that department. I also didn’t make it to the 4th RC passage, so it just exacerbated the situation. But I think I may be wearing myself out. Do you have any recommendations on max/min amount of time I should be studying up until the October LSAT? Should I maybe consider postponing until December?

    Also, if I feel like it really is necessary to write an addendum, what do colleges consider a “low enough score”? I presume it varies to a certain degree as well as with each candidate’s true potential, but at what point should one consider to write an addendum for a low LSAT score? And do colleges really give you the benefit of the doubt as long as you provide them with your ACT scores?

    I really appreciate any advice you may have! Thank you!

    1. Hi Zoe,
      Great questions!
      First of all, just because you had one low PT yesterday doesn’t mean it will happen again. You might’ve been tired or distracted. The key is – did you guess it didn’t go well before you scored it? If you do that poorly next Saturday (on the real test) will you know to cancel your score? Do you feel good when you do well? Are you able to gauge your performance accurately?
      I’m not overly concerned about one score, especially with the stress you are feeling.
      You have prepared for the October LSAT and you are mostly getting in the high 150s, so I think you are ready to take the test. If you are not happy with your score, use December as your re-take option and consider working with a tutor to get control of the LR section. I am happy to recommend a good tutor.
      It’s too soon to say whether you should write an addendum, but if you have multiple scores you absolutely should write one (unless they are just within 1-3 points of each other)
      They key about your ACT score is whether it was low for the school you attended (college) because if it was, it would show you perform well against people who score well on standardized tests even though your scores were lower. You see what I mean?

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