As July comes to a close, we are still a couple months away from law schools opening up the application season. Despite this, potential applicants should start working on their materials now in order to put themselves in the best position to succeed in the coming cycle. This post will specifically address two groups of applicants—first, students who took the June LSAT and are satisfied with their scores and, second, students who are planning on taking the September LSAT.
For both groups, if you haven’t done so already, sign up for the Credential Assembly Service offered through LSAC. Then, begin collecting letters of recommendation and requesting transcripts. Letters of recommendation are, obviously, contingent on recommenders and, as such, they are outside of the applicant’s control. Thus, requesting these letters early on will help make sure that there are no uncontrollable delays in your application. Similarly, it is helpful to request transcripts as early as possible so that your undergraduate institutions can get them in before it becomes an issue. Hopefully, you won’t have attended three different community colleges during high school and will only have to request one or two transcripts (and you won’t have an erroneous hold on your record from one of your institutions), otherwise you’re in for a good time—and by good I mean very frustrating and unpleasant.
If you took the June LSAT and, after weeks of painstaking waiting, got the LSAT score you were hoping for, then congratulations! You are in a great place to achieve your goals. I know it is tempting to rest on your laurels and enjoy what remains of the summer, but I encourage you to take advantage of the coming weeks. The most time-consuming part of my law school application was, without a doubt, my personal statement. Students who already have their LSAT score and don’t need to worry about studying should begin working on their personal statements as soon as possible. Although there are minor variations between schools, virtually every institution will ask for a personal statement relating to why a student wants to go to law school and why that student believes he or she is qualified to attend. As a result, it is possible to write a fairly catch-all personal statement that can be tailored to meet the specific needs of almost every school.
By the time applications open up, June LSAT test-takers should have a jumpstart on the bulk of their work. Although it is not necessary to try to get applications in the minute that they become available, it would definitely be a good idea to send them in within a few weeks of applications opening up. In those few weeks, refine your personal statements and work on any supplemental essays. Students planning on taking the September LSAT should, apart from requesting transcripts and letters of recommendation, focus on studying and getting the highest LSAT score possible. After the LSAT (and a short break to recharge), September LSAT test-takers should work on their personal statements, complete the application forms, work on supplemental essays, and try to get their applications in by Thanksgiving at the latest.
I hope this gives you some sense of how to proceed with your applications whether you’ve already received a satisfactory LSAT score or you are in the process of studying for the exam currently!