The Perfect Law School Admissions Timeline: 24-Month Countdown (Part 2)

By Jessica Tomer

We talked about the importance of planning for law school well in advance in our first post. Here's what you need to do in your last year leading up to law school  


 

12 months before law school starts                  (August of senior year)

Finalize your list of law schools using the research and insights you’ve collected over the past year. You should know exactly what their admissions requirements are, track down their application materials, and add all of their deadlines/overarching enrollment timeline to your calendar.

Register with LSAC’s Credential Assembly Service (CAS). For a fee, they’ll package up your LSAT scores, transcript(s), and letters of recommendation into an official report and send it to all of the law schools you want to apply to. It makes your life a little easier, but, more importantly, most ABA-accredited law schools actually require this report.

11 months before law school starts                  (September of senior year)

Fill out your law school applications—thoughtfully, thoroughly, and with plenty of time to go back and edit with fresh eyes. Don’t forget to review application instructions carefully too!

Finish your personal statements/application essays. Give each one a painstaking edit, and ask people you trust to do the same.

Request transcripts from all undergrad and graduate schools attended. Have the school’s registrar send your transcript to LSAC’s CAS.

10 months before law school starts                  (October of senior year)

File the FAFSA. Yes, the FAFSA still counts in law school. It opens on October 1 now (it used to be January 1), and you should file ASAP to get your share of federal financial aid.

Check your CAS account to make sure they have all of your documents.

9 months before law school starts (November of senior year)

Try to visit all of the law schools you plan on applying to, if you haven’t already.

Search for any scholarships or grants you may be eligible for, and submit polished applications to those as well.

8 months before law school starts (December of senior year)

Start submitting applications, if you can. Though many law schools have rolling admissions and deadlines stretching well into the spring, you don’t want to drag your feet applying, in case the class fills up. Whenever you submit an application, be sure to log into your LSAC account and make sure all materials have been received.

7 months before law school starts (January of senior year)

Investigate housing options. Most law schools do not offer on-campus housing, so if you’re relocating, get a sense of the rental market beforehand.

6 months before law school starts (February of senior year)

Submit applications with winter deadlines. Don’t forget to confirm all application materials have been received.

5 months before law school starts (March of senior year)

Attend admitted student open houses, orientation, and other events. These can be particularly helpful before you’ve made your final law school decisions, because you’ll be able to consider your schools in a new light and asked more pointed questions.

Consider your options. You may have some acceptances or waitlist decisions on your hands by now, so use your spreadsheet to compare your schools and financial aid packages. But wait until you’ve received decisions from all of your law schools before you make your final choice.

4 months before law school starts (April of senior year)

If you haven’t already, make your final law school decision—and pay the deposit. Even if you’re holding out for a straggling waitlist decision, it’s best to make a deposit elsewhere, because you want to secure your spot in the entering class and start preparing for the year ahead.

Submit financial aid appeal letters, if needed. Include anything new that can bolster your request, like a higher GPA, awards won, or even a significantly improved LSAT score, if you retook the exam.

If you were waitlisted, write and send a letter of continued interest and confirm whatever next steps you might take.

Submit applications with later or rolling deadlines, and follow up with any lingering waitlist decisions.

3 months before law school starts (May of senior year)

If you’re still in school, submit updated transcripts to CAS that reflect senior year grades. Be sure to keep senioritis at bay and finish the year strong!

Let law schools you didn’t choose know of your decision, so they can open your spot to someone else.

2 months before law school starts (June before law school)

Make sure you’ve met all enrollment requirements. From sending final transcripts to immunization records, you have a few more things on your to-do list before arriving on campus!

Attend admitted student open houses, orientation, and other events, if you haven’t already.

Finalize your housing arrangements for the coming academic year. If you’re moving, send your law school an updated mailing address.  

Confirm when you’ll get your fall semester financial aid refund check, if you plan to use it for living expenses and books. FYI, law schools aren’t allowed to release any federal funding prior to the beginning of classes. 

Confirm the deferment status of any existing education loans you have. Federal loans should go into an automatic in-school deferment once you start your law school classes, but sometimes a private lender needs additional deferment paperwork. (Contact your lenders if you have questions!)

Thank the people who helped you along the way, like recommendation writers, your family and friends, and even the admissions folks.

1 months before law school starts (July before law school)

Complete readings and assignments. You’ll likely receive new student orientation instructions by now, including readings or other assignments you may need to complete for the beginning of the year. In law school, you’ll hit the ground running!

Get ready for law school! Enjoy the end of the summer as much as you can.Relax. Take some time to appreciate the journey you just completed—and get excited for the adventureahead.


 

Jessica Tomer is the Web Content Manager for New England Law | Boston. Founded in 1908 as the first and only law school for women, today New England Law is coeducational and known for its rigorous academics, welcoming community, flexible programs, and ample real-world experiential learning opportunities.

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