It’s the most wonderful time of year. Not Christmas; December LSAT scores will be released soon after the New Year, and you’ll be ready to finalize your schools list and get those applications out the door. This is the time when law school applicants are tempted to hurry up and submit things, and therefore it’s also the time when most mistakes are made.
To help you avoid those killer errors, here are your final, extra steps to make sure your hard work pays off:
1. Read your personal statement. Out loud. This is how you notice errors and typos, especially those pesky extra words and the casualties of quickie cut-and-paste jobs.
2. Make sure the LSAC online application form doesn’t cut off the description of your employer or extracurricular activity in a way that is awkward or careless-looking. Abbreviate creatively to avoid this.
3. Confirm that your letters of recommendation have been processed by LSAC.
4. If you thought about answering a character and fitness question affirmatively and then decided against it, think again. If the question applies to you, there are no special exceptions. I’ve heard many applicants say, “Well, yeah, it was written up by the Dean of Students but they no longer have a record of it.” Or, “the charge was expunged, so even though the law school says to include expunged records, I’m not going to.” Wrong. A minor in possession charge from six years ago is not going to be the reason you don’t get into law school, but lying about it could be a reason why you don’t end up getting to practice law. Just sayin’. Now is the time to be candid.
5. When you have your LSAT score, consider whether you need to include an addendum, which is simply an explanation of either (1) why one score is a better indicator of your abilities than another; (2) why there is a big disparity between scores; and/or (3) why standardized test performance, in general, is not a good indicator of your abilities.
6. If the law school doesn’t have a place on the application to upload your LSAT addendum or GPA addendum, ask the law school whether they prefer you to attach it to another document or email it to them separately.
7. Before submitting your application, print it out or at least download the PDF and zoom in. Check it carefully – I see a lot of careless punctuation, especially in addresses, and it just looks sloppy.
8. When you’ve taken a breath, and if it’s not midnight – or later – you can then submit your application. Good luck!