Law school application timeline for those taking the October LSAT

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Offline Anne

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Around this time of year, I put together application timelines for students taking the two most popular test administrations: June and October. Here's the October one:

Assuming you are starting in late May/early June, this is what you should do:

May

Research law schools. If you haven't already, take some time to do some thorough research on the schools you want to apply to. This will allow you to familiarize yourself with each law school and give you an LSAT score goal. A few resources that you will find helpful are the actual websites of each school, and LSAC's Official Guide to ABA-Approved Law Schools (http://officialguide.lsac.org). Study the Guide, learn about each school. Don't pick just because of reputation or cost. Pick places where you know you'll be happy.

Sign up for the Credential Assembly Service. You can do this through your LSAC.org account without having to sign up for the LSAT (although you should just go ahead and sign up for the LSAT, too, if you have the available funds. It will make getting your preferred testing center that much easier). Signing up for CAS means that you will have an account set up and ready to process your transcripts and letters of recommendation way ahead of time (which may help you beat the rush of applicants trying to get their paperwork processed in October, November, and December).

Sign up for the LSAT if you haven't already. The sooner you sign up, the more real it will feel, which will (hopefully) result in you hitting the books harder.

June

Sign up for an LSAT prep class if you're using one to prepare for the test. Don't leave signing up until the last minute--there may not be room in the class you're interested in.

Request your transcripts. Get your requests in to the appropriate offices at all the undergrad and grad institutions you have attended. Because they'll have to be sent directly from the institution to LSAC and then they'll have to be processed by CAS to appear in your file, there's a lot of potential for third-party delays and errors. Give yourself time by requesting them early and following up with everyone involved.

Talk to potential recommenders. Touch base with the people you want to have write your letters of recommendation, and tell them that you're applying to law school and you would like them to be one of your recommenders. If they are amenable to writing an LOR, arrange a time to meet so that you can discuss your plans and qualifications, and they can get started on their recs.

July

Start studying for LSAT. This should be the case regardless of whether you are taking a class or self-studying with books. Full-length classroom courses will typically last around two months; if you're self-studying, you should expect to spend 2-3 months prepping. If you are studying on your own, make sure you have a schedule and a plan. Do NOT leave this until the last minute or expect you'll be able to prep in a month. Give you score the time it needs to rise to where you want it.

Work on your personal statement. You may think this is not doable without having seen this year's applications; that is not true. Most schools simply request a general essay that presents a side of you not seen elsewhere in your application. Essentially, it's almost like an interview on paper (in a much fancier, literary manner). Start thinking about topics you can write about (and no, they don't have to be shocking, absolutely unique, or have you trying to save the world). Try to have the first draft of your essay totally done by the end of this month. Check out my Writing Your Personal Statement series to get you started.

Work on your résumé. It is not a typical employment résumé, so make sure you're familiar with what law schools are looking for, and how you can stand out.

August

Confirm your transcripts. Don't assume that because you've submitted the forms to the appropriate offices that it's been handled. Check your LSAC account--if you don't see your transcripts processed (it should take about two weeks after they are received by LSAC), then follow up with your school(s). Transcripts are one of the most common causes for application delays I see--don't become a statistic!

Confirm the letters of recommendation. Same deal with LORs. Don't assume that because you've asked that it's been taken care of. Follow up with your recommenders, offer to help polish up or proof the letters, ask if they would like to meet with you again to talk about your plans and qualifications. And give them a completion and submission deadline. People can help you the most when they know how to help and when to help you by.

Finish up your personal statement. Wrap it up, get it done, put it to bed. Make sure you've proofed it extensively (consider having a professional take a look at it), and make sure plenty of people have read it and given you their opinion on it. The personal statement is your one opportunity to show your personality on your law school application--don't leave it to chance.

Continue studying for the LSAT. By now, your studies should be in full gear, regardless of whether you're taking a class or using self-study books. Don't go about it haphazardly; take care of your prep, and it will take care of you.

September

Continue studying for the LSAT. This is the last month before the test. Studying for the LSAT should be your primary concern and focus. Everything else in your apps should be done (or, if being handled by someone/something else, on its way to being done).

This year's apps are now available--take a look at them. There may be any of the following in these apps: Additional essays (such as the "Why ________ Law School?" essay), Dean's Certifications, potential addenda you need to write (such as an explanation of any criminal arrest, or an academic suspension from school). Don't worry about the essays or addenda for now. You'll work on those next month. However, Dean's Certifications (if the schools you are applying to require them) can take up to a month to complete, so get those forms in to the  appropriate offices ASAP and double-check that they get done and sent out.

Make sure your transcripts and LORs have been submitted and processed by LSAC. If not, find out why, and get them in so that they can get processed.

October

Take the LSAT. In the two weeks prior to the LSAT, try to set all application thoughts and work aside, and focus solely on the test. So much depends on your score that it deserves your undivided attention for a while.

After the LSAT is done (you'll only need about two weeks at most for this next bit, so give your brain a week's rest after the LSAT): Go to your LSAC account and pull up the applications for the schools you're applying to. Complete all biographical information on the applications. Check to see if they request any additional essays or if you need to write any addenda, and complete them. Check that your Dean's Certs have been sent in.

November

Scores are out. Your apps should be complete. If you're pleased with your score, then send off your apps (aim to have everything in no later than Thanksgiving) and wait for your big, fat envelope in the mail, or that happy phone call from the Admissions Office. If you think you can do better on the LSAT, consider if you want to retake it in December and add those scores to your LSAC Law School Report. The December LSAT is not an ideal choice, but it's far better than February. You have an advantage in that all schools take the December LSAT for applications being considered for admission the following fall, so you won't have to worry about missing any application deadlines.

(Full disclosure: I originally posted this timeline in the PowerScore LSAT and Law School Admissions Blog. If you want to see the full post--which also contains links to other info--click here: http://blog.powerscore.com/lsat/bid/276520/Law-school-application-timeline-for-those-taking-the-October-LSAT)
Director of Admissions Consulting for PowerScore LSAT Preparation. I can be reached at [email protected]

Check out my Law School Admissions Tip of the Week on the PowerScore LSAT and Law School Admissions Blog

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Offline mylovehyuna

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Re: Law school application timeline for those taking the October LSAT
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2014, 04:47:29 AM »
The information posted is very good. Keep it up!

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Offline PapigaHaHaHa

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Re: Law school application timeline for those taking the October LSAT
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2014, 04:34:54 AM »
I love school.

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Offline trey

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Re: Law school application timeline for those taking the October LSAT
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2015, 04:31:03 PM »
Is there a timeline like this available for people taking the December LSAT?

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Offline Dr. Troy

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Re: Law school application timeline for those taking the October LSAT
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2015, 08:20:32 PM »
Hey Trey--I was curious about that as well so did a little digging and found a couple of useful things:

http://www.powerscore.com/lsat/help/timeline_student.cfm has a really comprehensive breakdown for college students that you might find helpful (I certainly learned a few things)

http://lawschooli.com/law-school-admissions-and-lsat-prep-timeline-for-december-lsat-takers/ has a solid December timeline. My only advice is don't buy study guide schedules until you've explored the free ones. That site recommends the Powerscore books to study and those seem to be among the most popular, in which case I think Powerscore actually has their own study guides available http://students.powerscore.com/self-study/index.cfm. I haven't really looked too closely but they're free and seem to be built for Powerscore books and real prep tests  :)

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Offline trey

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Re: Law school application timeline for those taking the October LSAT
« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2015, 12:29:23 PM »
Thanks, Doc...those are helpful!
 ;cheers;