Applying to law school is a difficult and stressful process at the best of times. When you have to worry about final exams, papers, and holiday activities on top of your applications, it becomes even tougher. Having gone through the process last year, I am going to offer a few words of advice on how to make it through in one piece.
Set Reasonable Goals
The best part of the application process is that you can easily break it up into small parts. Apart from the personal statement, virtually every part of schools’ applications are made up of segments that you can complete in a few hours. For example, you can complete the forms on LSAC or write the first draft of an optional essay over the course of an afternoon. If you approach your applications as one task, then applying will seem daunting (maybe impossible), but if you think of them as compartmentalized assignments, it is much easier to get through everything in a timely manner.
Focus on the Big Picture
You know why you want to go to law school. If you didn’t, I doubt you would’ve had the motivation to make it through the LSAT. Whatever is motivating you, whether it is a fulfilling career pursuing justice, a deeper understanding of our country’s legal system, Suits, or the money, use that to motivate yourself when the going gets tough (we might need to have a different discussion if those last two are your motivators…). At the end of the day, the application process is only a few short weeks of work and it will help put you on the path to your future career. Keeping this in mind should help you put in the extra time on top of your other scholastic activities.
When I needed take a break from applications to study or to just… take a break, I would ask other people to read over my application materials—my lovely and talented girlfriend went through all of my forms to make sure I hadn’t left anything out, and my brother looked over my personal statements and other written materials. This isn’t a process you should try to go through by yourself. A fresh set of eyes will give you a respite while also strengthening the quality of your application.
I took my first law school exam today, so I can assure you that life doesn’t get easier once you get into school—you’ll have more to do and less time to do it. With that jaded perspective in mind, I am confident that you’ll still have plenty of time to enjoy your holiday and work on your other academic endeavors as long as you are task-oriented, keep everything in perspective, and enlist the help of others.