The admission procedure for law schools is getting more and more competitive than ever. There are often more qualified candidates than available seats, which is why you need more than excellent LSAT scores. Here is what to know when planning your law school application.
What to Expect If You’re Planning on Applying to Law School
First, keep in mind when the law schools you will be applying to start accepting applications. In general, it is usually around September of the year before you plan to enroll. To stop the dreaded “calendar anxiety” from creeping in, try to have all your application documents filled and prepared for submission by the end of October. Consequently, it would be best to take your LSAT (Law School Admission Test) during the previous summer at the latest.
Don’t leave submitting your application to the last moment. Despite what the official deadline may be, submitting later often makes you more likely to be put on a waitlist. So remember this, and prepare early to elevate some of the stress of applying for such a competitive spot.
If you want to be sure you are preparing the right materials and your documents are presentable, you can also utilize law school admissions consulting. Such firms can help guide you on how to best market your academics, extracurricular activities, goals, and talents to get admitted into the law school of your dreams.
Showcasing Your Qualifications in Your Law School Personal Statement
This may be surprising, but your personal statement is not the place for showing off your qualifications.
First of all, there are only two double-spaced pages for it. In other words, you have minimal space to talk about your motivation, the reason for applying, your goals, and why a particular law school is the best fit for you. Therefore, when you try to also squeeze in why you’re qualified, you may actually take away from the motivation part of your essay, which should be the main feature.
Secondly, you have other parts to showcase your qualifications, like the application form, your transcript, your resume, and your recommendations. So to avoid being redundant by taking up space for no additional value can often backfire.
Therefore, you should take the opportunity to give the admission officer the WHY, the important backstory for your decision. Make sure you figure this out before starting to write your personal statement. If some parts also come up in other parts of the application, no problem. Just make sure you don’t waste any of the precious word count on information already known.
“Why Law School X” Essays
The necessity to showcase “demonstrative interest” can vary from law school to law school. But usually, it comes up in essays and interviews.
If they ask you for a “Why Law School X” essay, you will most likely be asked to address it in the Personal Statement or a dedicated (usually optional) essay. If there is no such question, chances are the school does not care about that.
As for interviews, it is best to always prepare a “Why School X” answer, as there is a high chance it will come up at some point.
What to know when submitting law school recommendations
When submitting your transcripts and recommendations within your application, you will use LSAC’s Credential Assembly Service (CAS). So here’s what to know for the recommendation section.
First, ensure to thoroughly and carefully read the instructions on the LSAC website. There are many specific instructions, but they are all significant. To become a successful applicant, check their instructions for CAS accounts and FAQs, as well as the part regarding recommendations in particular.
Next, even if you already have an LSAC account, you will need to sign up for CAS separately. When creating your CAS account, make sure you have also paid for it. Otherwise, your documents may not get processed.
Third, for LSAC to send you recommendations to Law School X, you need to have listed that school as an intended recipient of the letter and submitted your application to School X. Without submitting them, your letter will stay in your LSAC account. If you’re still unsure which school you want to apply to yet, you can enter a random one so that you can have the letter ready within the system and update it later.
In addition, give your recommenders a preferably fake deadline, so if you don’t receive them, you can nudge them and not cut close to the actual deadline. And ask for at least one letter more than you actually need, so if one of the recommenders can’t make it, you still have a backup.
How to Take Control of Your Law School Waitlists
To take control, make sure you have a process for managing your waitlists so you stay calm in the face of uncertainty. Here are the steps to gain control of your waitlists and keep a relaxed mindset.
- Make a hierarchy of waitlist schools in your head since once you get an offer, you need to make the decision quickly.
- Decide on a drop-dead date in your mind after which you will not accept the school’s offer
- Still, you should fight for the waitlists you care for. This includes staying in touch with them once a month, reminding them that you’re interested, following instructions, and keeping track of your correspondence.
As is evident, getting into law school is no walk in the park. There are many variables that go into it. Still, consider going to law school admissions consulting to help ease the burden and stress from the competition before you start preparing your application. Their staff are well-experienced in this field and know exactly what each school looks for in their future student.