Fall 2009? Law School Admission 101

Law School Expert Blog

Ok, it’s practically August. Many of you are just getting underway preparing for the October 2008 LSAT. Some of you will start prep courses this week.

What else should you be thinking about right now?

1. Getting LORs (Letters of Rec) underway. Who will write them? What should they emphasize about you? Ask these people and give them deadlines 4-6 weeks out. Make sure to see lsdas.org for the cover form and be sure to sign the waiver. Here’s more about law school letters of recommendation.

2. Your resume. What can you do to round out your experiences? Lacking work experience? Community Service? Time to get on it. Never do anything as resume filler, but if you have time to dedicate to something you’ve always wanted to explore, there’s no time like the present. However, being a file clerk or runner at a law firm isn’t the way to go… what a boring way to spend your summer, and what would this LOR say about you? “He was always on time and wore a tie.” Not worth it. Better to do something that shows your true interests and passions. Here are more law school resume tips.

3. Really prepare for the LSAT. Please. Retaking in December should be a last resort; give it 100% this time around. Here’s more about LSAT prep options. Here are more reasons not to “just wing it” on the October LSAT.

That’s all for this Friday night. I’m happy to entertain suggestions for blog topics – so leave comments. Have a great weekend.

11 Responses

  1. Here are a few ideas that I and I think other readers would be interested in:

    -The different reputations or respect levels for types of undergrad majors among admissions counselors, i.e. Physics is seen as very respectable while criminal justice is seen as somewhat of a joke, etc.

    -The best, perhaps sometimes unconventional ways to “catch the eye” of admissions. In other words, some great ways to stand out with your application, such as being published in a journal or a type of internship.

    -Maybe some of the application mistakes many students make, including both the common typos and errors, but also the trite, banal cliches that give an applicant the label of “garden variety”

    I hope these ideas are helpful. I know I’d love to read more about them.

  2. Ann,
    I am going to be a Junior in college this fall. I’ve had a job this summer that has allowed me to do a tremendous amount of reading this summer, and I’ve chosen to do a lot of my prep for the LSAT. Given that, I feel pretty prepared to take the LSAT in December. I realize most students don’t take the test during the first semester of their Junior year; is this advisable, given I feel prepared?

  3. If you feel prepared, then go for it. here are the only drawbacks:
    1. You might develop additional analytical abilities in the next year and would perform better when you’re a little older/wiser
    2. You have to be pretty sure you’d go to law school right out of undergrad because scores are really only good for 3 years at most schools.

  4. Do you think you could shed some light on Visiting/Non-Matriculant J.D. Applications.

    -Why attend as a Non-Matriculant student? Advantages and disadvantages? For example, UCLA law says non-Matriculating applicants should have a compelling reason; “Neither the desire to take particular courses at UCLA nor to seek employment in the Los Angeles area is considered a compelling reason.”

    -It seems that many law schools only accepted a “very limited” number of visiting students; typically less than 10, per an NYU or Columbia FAQ, if I remember correctly. Why?

    -I’ve read stories of students who were initially rejected from his/her choice law school, couldn’t transfer during his second year, and is considering visiting his last year.

  5. I’m not sure I understand the question in the context of a pre-law blog because visiting student status is usually for current law students who – for some reason – must study in a different location for a short period of time. Here is an example of PSU Dickinson’s policy in this regard : isiting Student Status

    Students enrolled at other law schools who are interested in spending a semester or more at Penn State Dickinson while earning their law degrees from their home institutions may apply to enroll as visiting students. To apply, you must be in good academic standing at an ABA-approved law school, and you must complete our online application. There is no application fee to apply as a visiting student. Please note that the application for visiting students is available beginning May 1, with the end transmission date of July 15. Your application to enroll as a visiting student will be considered complete if, by July 15, you submit:

    * a law school transcript showing all of your academic work;
    * a letter of good standing from an academic dean at your home law school that also indicates your class rank, identifies any disciplinary charges that have been brought or are pending against you, grants permission for you visit away, and states that your home law school will accept the transfer of PSU-DSL credits;
    * a copy of the banner page of your LSDAS report. This report should be on file at your home school;
    * a copy of your official final transcript from your undergraduate degree granting school.

    Decisions regarding visiting status are usually made in mid- to late-July.

    Upon completing your enrollment with Penn State Dickinson, your home institution will require an official transcript from you. It is your responsibility to request your Penn State transcript and to be sure your home school receives it. Transcripts are sent after final grading is completed each semester.

  6. I am a former teacher who recently decided to pursue law school in the Fall 2009. I have registered for the Fall LSAT and am wondering if I am too late to start or just in time to get moving? I have my LORCs underway and have a very diverse resume in hand. What else would you recommend besides preparing everyday for the LSAT?


  7. You’re just in time.
    I set up each of my clients with a personalized timeline. First, LORs and Transcripts should be (or on their way) to LSDAS. Otherwise, everything during the next 6 weeks should be LSAT since you want to take it once and be done. While you’re waiting for your score, you can attack resume, essay(s), addenda, etc. I’d aim for submitting everything before Thanksgiving, and perhaps in early November. I hope this is helpful.

  8. Hi Anne,

    I just recently made the decision to attend law school. I have all of my LORs set up, completed all applications, and are in the second and third revisions of my personal statements.

    My problem lies within the LSAT. I have missed the October registration deadline, and I am left with the December test. Is this acceptable for Fall 2009?

    I have begun private tutoring and an intensive prep course. I feel confident I can score high, but I don’t know if it will be too late.

    Any insight would be extremely helpful!

    Thank you.

  9. December is absolutely fine – not ideal, but totally fine. There’s a reason the first week of January is always my busiest week of the year!

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