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.
When should I apply to law school?
Many law schools 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.
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.
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
- 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.
Prelaw Guru Packet on Personal Statements – Includes samples and tips for personals statements, diversity statement, and addenda.