Application Timeline for Juniors
While it is ideal to follow the general parameters provided in the following timelines, this is not always possible. In a sense, it is never too late to begin preparation for applying to law school. While all applicants should meet with a HPPLC Prelaw Advisor to construct an individualized timeline, it is essential to do so for those who come to the decision to apply relatively late in their academic career.
Fall Semester of Junior Year
- For a summary of the top 5 priorities for juniors, click HERE. Meanwhile, read on......
- Attend Law Day in the early fall, and other prelaw events [to receive notice of such events, check to make sure you are signed up for the prelaw Email List. [Register for the prelaw listserve by clicking HERE].
- Continue to cultivate relationships with your professors in order to obtain letters of recommendation. If you have questions, read:
"I’m a Prelaw Student Ready to Ask For a Letter of Recommendation. What Should I Do?" More details are available at the recommendation section of this website -- click HERE.
- It is best (although it may not be possible for everyone) if you have made arrangements to have at least two LOR by the end of your junior year. Be sure to try get to know your professors this year. Drop by office hours on a regular basis.
- Take a timed practice LSAT test early junior year. You don't need to prepare for it--the idea is to get a perspective on how much future preparation you will need in order to obtain a score that you'd be happy with. HPPLC has all past disclosed LSAT exams on file for you to borrow without charge. Just ask our receptionist. Begin a plan for intensive preparation. We recommend 3-6 months.
- Think about when you will take the official exam. For most applicants, taking the exam in June or September/October makes the most sense--this will give you enough time to to submit application material by mid-November of your senior year, which is ideal IF it fits into your schedule.
- Note that the December LSAT exam is a reasonable fall-back IF you can submit your completed applications over winter break.
- If you are considering the February LSAT, call your schools to see if this would put you at any disadvantage.
- Determine your weakest section of the LSAT and begin working on it NOW. For suggested LSAT preparation materials, see the HPPLC Prelaw Publication "LSAT and Logic Games Resources" available HERE.
- Especially if you are still exploring the idea of a career in law, consider a law-related job or internship for the spring or next summer. Investigate the listings available at the Career Development Center, and look at the websites for the departments of Political Science, Criminal Justice, and SPEA for law-related internships that are open to non-majors.
- Read "Law School Admissions--Questions and Answers for Juniors and Seniors," "Application Guide for Law School," and "What Law Schools Look for in an Applicant."
Spring Semester of Junior Year
- Finalize when you will take the LSAT, and how you will prepare. As stated above, June after junior year is usually best--if you can be well-prepared. It is to your advantage to submit applications by Thanksgiving of your senior year. After January 1 the competition for seats at many schools starts to increase dramatically. If you are planning on taking the December LSAT, be sure to submit your material over winter break (i.e., before your scores arrive!). If you have questions, consult your HPPLC Prelaw Advisor.
- Identify factors important to you in your choice of schools (small/large, rural/urban, location, specialties, joint degrees, etc.). It usually takes substantial research to decide where to apply. Start early. Note that law schools do NOT necessarily expect you to know what area of law you would like to specialize in. If you have an idea, great--but if not, no problem.
- Get a list of 8-12 or more schools: at least 2 safety (where your GPA and LSAT are above the median numbers for a given school), 2 reach (where your numbers are around the 25% or below), and several where you would be solidly competitive (between the 25% and the median). See the LSAC's UGPA search to find out how law schools treated last year's applicants with your combination of numbers.
- If you can, start to prepare seriously for the LSAT. We suggest that you budget 3-4 months for preparation. Consider an LSAT prep course if you feel you would benefit from one (HPPLC sponsors a low-cost prep class). Note that many applicants will do fine preparing on their own. Consult with a Prelaw Advisor if you have questions or concerns.
- Begin thinking about your personal statement. Find the prior year's applications online and look at the prompts for their personal statements. Start working on your statement now, or during the summer. Expect this process to take at least 3-4 weeks and several rewrites. CLICK HERE to get started. Then take a look at HPPLC Prelaw Publications Writing an Effective Personal Statement for Law School; and The Personal Statement. Again, good personal statements aren't written--they are re-written. And re-written.
Summer between Junior and Senior Years
- If you did not take the LSAT in June, prepare to take it in the fall.
- If you haven't already, start working on your personal statement.
- Visit schools. Try to meet individually with admissions officials. Follow-up with thank-you notes. Record your impressions.