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Law School Application Timetable

Junior Year
Make this your best year academically. Your acceptance to law school will depend to a great extent on your academic record. If you hope to go on immediately to law school after graduation, your junior year grades will be the most recently completed and thus reported.

Usually it is not a good idea to take the LSAT prior to June, but start reviewing old copies of the test and exploring the option of enrolling in a commercial test preparation course. Sample tests are available in the LSAT registration packets (available in the academic advising office, Ley Student Center) or in LSAT prep books (such as Barron's).

Do not write to law schools for catalogs and application forms until you return to school in August. Their printing deadlines for current year materials are late summer.

Continue to explore and learn about the legal profession by:

  • reading articles, pamphlets, and books.
  • talking with and observing lawyers.
  • taking part in the law-related activities on campus.
  • Start investigating law schools. Think about where you want to spend three years of intensive study. There are a number of variables to consider: location, size, prestige, cost, special programs, student body, chances of admission, etc. Again, reading and talking with others can help. Take advantage of the prelaw programs and the Houston Law Forum, which bring law school representatives to town. Visit prospective law schools during your travels.
  • Give some thought to recommendations. Most law schools request two faculty letters. The most persuasive letters are often written by faculty who know you well and for whom you have done your best work. Consider taking another course from such professors.
  • Now is the time to correct any remaining weakness(es) in your academic skills. If you are a slow reader, have a weak vocabulary, or possess mediocre writing skills, you might explore courses in a community college in your home town during the summer or you might take an additional English course.

Summer Between Junior and Senior Years

  • Pick up an LSAT/LSDAS Registration Packet in the academic advising office. Read the packet thoroughly to make sure you understand all phases of the application process. This is the single most important step.
  • Register for the LSAT and LSDAS.
  • Read the Official Guide to U.S. Law Schools, if you have not already. Begin to develop a list of 10 to 15 law schools which, given your GPA and LSAT scores, offer a reasonable chance of your gaining admission. A few should be longshots, but most should be in the "more likely" range. It's also nice to have one or two "safe" schools. Most applicants wind up sending applications to 6 to 10 schools.
  • Prepare for and take the LSAT. The advantage of taking the June test is that you will know your score before August and can better select an appropriate range of law schools. You will also have time to register for and retake the test in the fall if your performance is not up to par. If the June test is not convenient, plan to take the October test. The june test also allows for early application deadlines.
  • Develop a system for keeping track of all the registration and application details. Duplicate all forms, applications, and correspondence for your own records.

Senior Year

  • First request applications from law schools using the postcards in the LSAT/LSDAS packet.
  • Make an appointment with the prelaw advisor to discuss your plans.
  • Pull together ideas for a personal statement or essay. Begin drafting and revising.
  • Conclude arrangements for your letters of recommendation.
  • Use the transcript matching forms in your LSAT/LSDAS packet to request that the registrar send your transcript to LSDAS.
  • Obtain financial aid applications (available from the financial aid office) if you intend to apply for financial aid.
  • Investigate other financial aid possibilities.
  • If you are uncertain about the strength of your credentials or the advisability of retaking the LSAT, make an appointment with the prelaw advisor.
  • Finalize and send your applications (with the Law School Matching Forms in the LSAT/LSDAS Packet) to law schools before Thanksgiving, if possible.
  • Double check everything. By mid-January, make sure the law schools received your applications, your LSDAS reports, and all letters of recommendation.
  • Wait and hope.
  • Once admitted, send a deposit to reserve your space in the entering class.
  • After hearing from all law schools, but before graduation, let the prelaw advisor know your results and decision.
  • Let your recommenders know of your application results.
  • Arrange with the registrar for a final copy of your transcript to be sent to the law school you will attend.

Related: Law School Financial Aid Timeline and Checklist


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