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Many students are intimidated by the law school
application process and may be overwhelmed at the prospect.
Applying to law school requires research and decision making
that can only be undertaken by you, the student. The faculty
of the Department of History & Government, however, are
willing to offer assistance to students interested in legal
careers. You will also need to obtain official catalogs and
application materials from the schools to which you are
applying along with the necessary registration material for
the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) and the Law School Data
Assembly Service (LSDAS). Some of these materials are
available through the History & Government Department or
online. Please check with your faculty or pre-law advisor
regarding any questions or concerns.
In general, the application process involves four major
stages. The first step toward attending law school is to
earn an undergraduate degree. Your preparation begins with
selecting a major and fulfilling the College’s graduation
requirements. Ideally, by the time you reach your Senior
year you will have positioned yourself to be competitive in
the law school market with a strong G.P.A. (Grade Point
Average), a solid educational foundation, and the
analytical, writing and communication skills necessary to
law school success. As you move toward your Senior year you
will need to proceed to Stage II, preparing for and taking
the LSAT (Law School Admission Test). As you will read,
performance on this test is very important and this stage
should be taken extremely seriously. Upon taking the test
you should already have some idea as to the law schools you
intend to apply. Thus, Stage III, researching and applying
to schools of your choice, and Stage II will overlap.
Securing letters of recommendation and preparing your
personal essay are critical and we have some specific advice
on these important steps that you may find useful. The last
step in the application process is making a final
determination of where to attend.
Most schools require that your application include:
A Completed Application Form: The form is provided by the
school and is usually included in the admission catalog.
Many schools have their forms available online as well. The
form must be completed in its entirety and will provide
directions for the submission of additional materials. If
you have difficulty in obtaining the form or have questions
on the information and materials required, contact the law
school’s admissions office for official clarification.
LSAT Scores: Because your LSAT score is an important
factor for selection you should have prepared for and taken
the LSAT well in advance of admission deadlines. (See
section II in this booklet on the LSAT). The LSAC keeps
records of your LSAT score(s) and provides them directly to
the law school upon request. (See also the section on the
LSDAS below). Refer to the LSAT registration booklet for
guidelines and regulations regarding the reporting
procedures and policies for delivery of LSAT scores.
Transcripts and G.P.A.: You will be required to submit
formal transcripts of every undergraduate, graduate and
professional school you have attended. The requirement is
almost always for “official transcripts” (transcripts sent
directly by the issuing school). You should check with each
of the schools you have attended for that institution’s
procedures for obtaining transcripts. Typically, you must
pay a fee to the issuing institution and provide them the
office/address to which the material is to be directed well
in advance of the deadline (minimum of 2-3 weeks usually).
For law schools that require you to utilize the LSDAS,
transcripts will be submitted to directly to that service
rather than to the law school. (See the section on the LSDAS
below). Most law schools do not accept unofficial
transcripts (i.e. reproduced copies or copies which have
been forwarded through the student).
: You will also be asked to
submit letters of recommendation, typically from 3 different
recommenders. At least one of these sources should be an
individual familiar with your academic work. (See the
section on Letters of Recommendation below).
Admission Letter/Personal Essay: Most schools also
require that you write a letter that introduces you to the
admission committee and relates your purpose and intent in
attending law school. Many schools also require a “personal
essay” in which you present your reasons for pursing a legal
career and convey personal aspirations or information.
Admission letters and essays are an important way a
prospective student can buttress the application and
distinguish him or herself in the selection process (See the
section Application Letters and Personal Essays below).
The Law School Data Assembly Service
An increasing number of law schools are requiring that
students submit application materials via the
Data Assembly Service (LSDAS). This is an organization that
collects and prepares material for law school admissions.
There is a fee for subscription to the service. Once you
have subscribed to the LSDAS you will be asked to submit
transcripts, letters of recommendation, and personal essay
directly to the LSDAS. Follow the directions for each law
school’s application requirements in submission of
materials. Consult the LSDAS catalog/webpage for specific
directions for submission, including the forms that must be
submitted along with recommendation letters.
Information submitted to the LSDAS will be forwarded to
the law schools you indicate along with an LSDAS prepared
summary. This service is preferred by many law schools and
saves you a considerable amount of time. Schools requiring
use of this service will not process your application if
materials are not handled by the LSDAS.
In subscribing to the LSDAS, you may also elect to join
the Candidate Referral Service (CRS). This service makes
your information available for recruitment by other law
schools. In other words, schools to which you have not
applied may access and contact you based upon the
information available through the CRS. To subscribe, contact
the LSAC at www.LSAC.org or call (215) 968-1001. Or you may
fill out the appropriate application in the LSAT booklet.
You do not have to subscribe to the LSDAS at the same
time you register for the LSAT, but you should subscribe
well in advance of pending application deadlines to ensure
that your file will be handled in a timely manner and is
available to the law schools when needed. The LSDAS
subscription is good for one year from the date of