4 Things To Remember About Applying To Law School in December

Law School Expert Blog

If you plan on applying to law school this December (holiday break is a great time to take a breather and focus on your applications!), here are four things to be aware of:

1. LSAC Takes Holiday Breaks

You may not be able to submit applications on December 25, 26 or January 1st because LSAC will be closed for the holidays. Sometimes you can still submit applications, but your Credential Assembly Service reports will not be processed and sent to schools until LSAC re-opens. Why not take a few extra days to make sure your applications are reviewed and dialed in before submitting?

2. Rushing May Not Be Worth It

The law schools are often closed for a week or more between Christmas and New Years, meaning that your rush to submit applications before December LSAT scores are released on or about January 5th might not be worthwhile anyway. It might be better to take your time and submit applications when schools open back up in January.

3. Mid-January is Not Too Late

Applying mid-January is not too late. In fact, one law school recently said I should stop telling people the February LSAT is too late because they need more applicants. Last year, even Harvard extended application deadlines to allow for the February LSAT. It’s not ideal, for sure, but there is still a window of opportunity there. This is good to know for those of you who are taking the December LSAT and may want to retake in February.

4. Waiting For Your LSAT Score is Better

Submitting applications before you receive your LSAT score is pointless from an admission advantage standpoint because schools will hold your application for review until they receive the score, you will miss the opportunity to choose schools based on your score, and you will miss the opportunity to submit an LSAT addendum with your application (although one can be submitted later, you won’t won’t be assured of its being attached to your application file).

23 Responses

  1. Hi, I’m taking the December LSAT 2015, applyibg for the Fall, 2016. Would you still stick by your original statement regarding December/January applications? I’m seeking your advice so that I know applying then won’t be too late. Thanks in advance

  2. Hi,

    Had an answer shifting problem on my scantron in October still scored decently well (High 150’s). I want to apply to T14 though so I will need to retake in December. If I know I can score 3-4 points higher for sure possibly even much more would it make sense to wait until I get my score back from December to apply?

    I had a creative thought to apply two weeks before scores come back. My thoughts is that this leaves schools to little time to deny me before they see my December score but enough time to beat everyone submitting their apps right after they receive their December score. What is your opinion on this?

  3. Hi ann, what are your thoughts on applying using the February score (i.e. Once February scores are released) and then, if I’m not happy with who accepted me and/or how much money I received overall, not accepting any admissions and re-applying extremely early in the fall? Will schools hold that against me? Thanks!

  4. I am trying to help my daughter that is so upset with her LSAT scores. Her GPA when she graduated was a 3.4 and she took the LSATS twice and she just got her score and she only did a tiny bit better the second time. She got a 143. She feels that her score is too low to get into any school and wants to give up. Your experience do you think her score is too low to get into a decent school?

  5. Hi Ann!

    I am applying to law school for Fall 2016. I took the December LSAT and scored lower than I was testing at a 156. I have a 3.3 GPA and Georgia State is my top choice. I’ve signed up to re-take the test in February because I know I can do better… practicing in the 158-162 range. I am afraid that waiting until I get my Feb scores back will be too late to apply, so should I go ahead and submit my application? With my GPA and current score I think I have around a 50% chance of getting in.

    My biggest concern is getting wait listed or rejected without them seeing my second score. Will they re-evaluate wait list applicants after the Feb LSAT score comes in?

    Thank you this blog has been very helpful!!

  6. HI I am retaking the LSAT in December. I already have a 168 score. Should I wait to send in apps until I get my new score back or send them in early? I just don’t want to get denied before they can see my new score. The schools I am applying to waitlisted me last year. I applied in February last time. Thanks!

    1. If you don’t want them making a decision based on your current score, Gabriela, then I would wait and submit applications after your new score is released.

  7. Hi Ann.

    I’m wondering what I should do–I scored a 164 on the September ’16 LSAT and am going to retake the test in December. With further preparation, I think I can score at least a 168. The projected test release date is January 3, 2017.

    If you were in my position, would you feel comfortable applying to all of your schools in January?

    I am planning on applying pretty broadly. I’ve been considering applying to some of the less competitive (“safety”) schools now, and waiting until January to send applications in to the more selective schools. Do you think this is a strategy that makes sense?

  8. Hi Ann,

    My son is taking the LSAT for the first time in February. He has a 4.0 GPA, strong resume with student government and lots of organizations and leadership roles, and has been studying in stop since November with a good on line program. His practice scores range from 151-165 but think he will most likely score in the mid 150s. With all this said … He plans on applying to his dream school UT, GW, Yale and SMU, as well as American and Univ if Maryland. My question is do you think he has a chance with these schools and also should he send his applications in – even though test scores won’t come in until March? The deadlines are in Feb. He has strong LORs and is a very dedicated student with a passion to study law. Any advice?

    1. Hi Aaron. I can’t comment on chances on the blog format, but I’m concerned about the timing of his applications – it’s tough to apply late in the cycle. It’s very hard to be competitive when you’re the last application in the door, especially in a year when applications are up so dramatically.

      1. I heard that applications would be down in fall 2018 from a credible source. But I see above you say differently. Or were you referring to the past cycle? How is this info gleaned? Just to confirm – apps up or down this fall? Thanks!

  9. Hi Ann,

    I got a 168 on my LSAT, but am considering to retake it in November in hopes of scoring 170+, as I have been on my practice tests. But the November LSAT scores will be released on December 8. Is that too late in the cycle?


      1. Hi! Can you please elaborate? Above it says Dec 8 is “later,” but other posts say mind-Jan is totally fine. I’ve heard A LOT about don’t apply later than Dec, but I am also hearing the contrary (though less so). Also, if someone takes the Jan 2019 test and the score doesn’t come in until early Feb – is that too late? I’m super confused about the timing issue. And does it differ among the school tiers? I’m looking at T-14, so obviously the most competitive…Thanks!!!

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