See Considering Law School for information on how to choose a law school that is right for you and what makes a successful law school applicant.
Components of Law School Application
The following components of a law school application are compiled online using LSAC’s Credential Assembly Service (CAS):
- Résumé – UO’s Career Center offers résumé guides and review
- Personal Statement – See Prelaw Guru Packet on Personal Statements for examples
- Letters of Recommendation
- Academic Transcripts (Instructions for requesting UO transcripts for LSAC)
- LSAT score
- Any additional materials requested by specific law schools (e.g., a diversity statement)
- Addenda (optional) – Prelaw Guru offers tips on formatting and writing an effective addendum
Be sure to give yourself plenty of time (months) to draft and revise your application materials. Also be sure to give your recommenders enough time so that they do not feel rushed as they write their letter for you.
General Application Resources
University of Illinois Prelaw Handbook – Includes suggestions for identifying recommenders, writing a personal statement, and other aspects of the law school application process.
When should I apply to law school?
Law schools may begin the application season in August-October for admission the following fall. Early application is encouraged, as many schools have rolling admission processes and may have more seats and incentive funding available to offer competitive candidates.
Some schools may have specific early decision deadlines, or they may accept candidates well into the spring. Closely review the admission timelines for each law school to which you hope to apply, and ensure you have registered to take the LSAT early enough to support an on-time application.
Should I take time off after undergrad?
The idea of a “gap year”, or of taking time to gain additional professional/life/etc. experience after undergrad is a common practice among law school candidates. Experience gained during a gap year can be incorporated into your law school application, allow you to reflect on what aspects of the legal profession are of interest to you, and even help clarify whether you would like to pursue a law school education. Gap years can also provide additional time to study for the LSAT, or to save money prior to law school.
How many law schools should I apply to?
Considerations such as application cost, geography, and professional goals can influence how many law schools you applu to. One strategy for submitting applications involves using the LSAC Official Guide to Law Schools to compare your own LSAT score and GPA to schools’ median admitted scores and GPA’s. Guided by this comparison, you can apply to a spectrum of “reach” schools, “target” schools, and “safety” schools to help ensure you have options throughout the application and admissions process.
For example, after applying to a range of schools, you may receive an offer to one of your “reach” schools and a “target” school, but because your numbers are more competitive at your target school, this second offer may come with a financial incentive. With multiple options (and financial incentives!) you can then choose which offer to accept based on the factors that are important to you.
How do I address diversity in my law school application?
Our experiences are greatly informed by the identities we hold. These experiences can inform the goals and motivations that draw applicants to law school, and hone the skills and perspectives they bring to the classroom. While law school applications often request information related to race and ethnicity, the choice is often left to the applicant to disclose other aspects of identity (e.g., sexual orientation, gender identity, ability/disability).
Some students may address diversity specifically in an (often optional) diversity statement. Others may address the significance of their identities throughout their applications. If disclosing information about diverse aspects of identity, it can be valuable to be clear on how they have influenced your values, knowledge, skills, goals, etc. This can also apply to students who may consider themselves “not diverse.” Students’ experiences can also shaped be shaped by the dominant identities they hold, and critical reflection on the significance of these identities is entirely appropriate for a law school application.
Find more information related to diversity in the law school application process (including scholarships, diversity statement resources, testimonials from the field, and more) on the Diversity Resources page. If you would like to discuss diversity and the application process (or law school applications in general), please feel free to contact your pre-law advisor!
Where do I submit my application materials?
Law school applications are compiled and submitted through the Law School Admission Council (LSAC). After creating an LSAC account you can pay for the Credential Assembly Service (CAS) to compile your application materials and submit your completed applications.