6 Things You Can Do Now if Applying to Law School Next Year

Really? You’re already prepping for your law school applications for the 2013 school year? You realize some of your law school brethren are still getting out applications for 2012, right?

There’s a name for someone like you: Gunner. But you don’t care, because those people are just jealous, right?

Kidding aside, starting your law school application process this early is a great decision. While you won’t have a looming deadline to get you to finish that Personal Statement (which is something that motivates me like no other), you will have plenty of time to finish everything you need.

What are those things? What can you start now?

1. Sign up for an LSAC account
Go now. Do it.

2. Letters of Recommendation
By far, the slowest part of the entire law school application process (besides waiting for decisions) is getting letters of recommendation.

Professors are notoriously slow at writing them. Bosses are notoriously slow at writing them. You are going to need to ask for them a significant amount of time before you want them in.

So why not now?

Asking early gives the professors a lot of time to write the letters (though you’ll still need to stay on them to ensure that they don’t “forget”). It makes you seem proactive, which is something they can mention in the LoR. It also takes a lot of stress out of your life when your file is complete before applications open, and your friends are all scrambling to find someone who isn’t already bogged down writing letters for a dozen other students.

3. DON’T send in transcripts
Your grades are locked in when you send in your transcript. You want as many semesters in there as possible. Unless you’re bombing this semester.

However, you’re contractually (and ethically) obligated to keep your file with LSAC up to date. That means sending in new transcripts as they’re released. If you send a transcript in now, you’ll just have to do it again in a few months. Why put yourself through that?

-Edit- One important note, from the comments – if you’ve transferred out of one school, it’s fine to send in those transcripts. They’re complete (you won’t be adding more classes), so getting their submission out of the way now is a great idea.

4. Register for the June LSAT. Study for the June LSAT.
Go now and register for the June LSAT. Don’t do like I did and have to take the exam seven states over.

Then, study.

5. Personal Statement
The personal statement is the single-most important factor in your law school application package outside of your GPA and LSAT.

It should be perfect.

Perfection doesn’t happen overnight. It takes many, many edits and a few sets of eyes to get it there.

Start on it now. Not only will that allow you a leisurely pace through it, but it’ll allow you the luxury of editing over time. It’s hard to edit an essay with fresh eyes when you’ve read it several dozen times over. Write it, edit it, let it sit for a month. Come back to it with fresh eyes and make some changes. It’ll allow for a smoother essay, and a stronger one.

6. Law School Fairs/Tours
Hit up as many law school fairs as you can. Talk with admissions officers. Let them know how much you’d love to apply to their law schools. Collect fee waivers. Profit.

9 Responses

  1. James says:

    You say not to send in transcripts, but I was told sending in community college transcripts were ok. I’m a transfer student, so there wont be any additions made to those transcripts. Do you think its alright to send those grades in?

  2. Ebony Wade says:

    I’m trying to prepare for taking the LSAT to get into law school, what I’m trying to figure out is if I need to sign up for a preparation course, they are very expensive, but of course I know that you have to invest in your future I just need to know if I need it or not, and what is a good prep course. Please Help!

    • Hey Ebony,

      I’m a little biased – I work for Blueprint Test Prep, so I definitely think that we’re the best way to prep for the LSAT.

      You’re looking at the course in exactly the right way – an investment in your future. It sounds ridiculous, but each extra point on the LSAT can be worth thousands of dollars in scholarship money, or thousands of dollars a year in increased salary by qualifying you for a higher-ranked school.

      The other way I look at it is this: how much would you pay yourself to have some free time? My lowest rate would be $10 an hour (and that’s low – I’m probably closer to $30/hr or so at this point). Prepping by yourself is going to take at least twice as long as prepping with a course (because you’ll be learning blind – you won’t have someone who can help you through the walls that you’ll invariably run into). So instead of 3-400 hours by yourself, you can prep for 200 hours in a good study course (100+ in class, 100+ in homework). If you subtract the cost of the materials, you end up coming out ahead in my highly hypothetical and purely argumentative “pay yourself to have fun” equation.

      So, in short, you should look at it as an investment in your future. Additionally, if you’re located near one of our expansion locations, we’re offering a pretty decent discount right now.

  3. Lauren says:

    Not that important, but I am extremely curious: How do you collect fee waivers? Or more importantly, how do you profit from doing so?

    • If you head to law school fairs and talk with admissions officers, they are usually quite happy to extend a fee waiver to get you to apply to their school. The profit comes more from not having to pay $70 a pop to apply to law school.

  4. Ellen says:

    I’m currently on summer vacation and I would like to contact my professors early for recommendations but I was hesitant about asking over e-mail (in case that may come off as being insincere or something). What do you recommend for getting hold of potential rec-writers over a long-distance? thank you!

    • Hey Ellen,

      Your head is definitely in the right place, and getting an early jump on the LoRs is important.

      You can go one of two routes:

      1) Contact them by e-mail now to ‘put them on notice’ that you’ll be asking for a letter of recommendation as soon as school begins. Arrange to meet in person with them ASAP once you get back to school (i.e. set it up in the e-mail exchange so that you have a standing appointment). This will give you a leg up on others who start the process later (since the professor will both view your request as earlier AND view you as motivated and on top of things) as well as maintain that personal touch. This is the route that I’d go with IF you have a good relationship with the professors you’re asking and know them to be dependable.

      2) Contact them now and arrange a time to talk with them over the phone during the upcoming weeks. You’ll still get a more personal touch than just talking to them through e-mail, but not as much as an in-person conversation. However, they are probably less busy now than they’ll be once school starts up, so giving them the summer might have the entire process finished by September, which would be fantastic.

      Personally, I’d go with the first route, but that’s because the professors who wrote letters for me were very dependable, and I had a very close relationship with them. If you can’t say the same, you might want to consider the second route. Whatever you do, though, don’t just contact them through e-mail. Be sure to talk with them so you can gauge their willingness to write the letter and their excitement about you as a candidate. If the professor is lukewarm when committing to the letter, the letter will be lukewarm.

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