New Year's Day: Your (Unofficial) Law School Application Deadline

    Law School Admissions | LSAT Prep

    LSAT score releaseLast month, we predicted that the December 2013 LSAT scores will come out on Friday, January 3rd, 2014. Then on December 6th, a snowstorm swept through the Midwest that cancelled scheduled LSATs at a significant number of test centers, potentially pushing back the score release date to the originally scheduled date of Monday, January 6th. Don't let all this drive you crazy: you still have (at least) three weeks until you receive your LSAT score, which is way too long to spend with a knot on your stomach.

    Also, studies have shown that pulling out your hair makes you look frumpy. Don't do it!

    Here's what you should be doing until the end of the year: put the final touches on your law school applications! Think of New Year's Day as your unofficial law school application deadline! Essentially, you should be able to click the "Submit" button the moment you receive your LSAT score. Here's how:

    1. Put together a list of 15 law schools (or so) that you'd like to apply to, if you haven't already done so. You should have a good mix of safeties, targets, and reaches. Of course, which schools you ultimately apply to will depend on your LSAT score, but you can probably predict, within a margin of +/- 3 points, where you will be on the scale.
    2. Log into your LSAC account and make sure all of your transcripts are in. If not, get in touch with the Registrar's Office at your undergraduate institution and any graduate schools you have attended ASAP.
    3. Talk to your recommenders and make sure they are done with your letters of recommendation. Give them the required CAS LOR forms and have them send in your letters to LSAC for processing (if they haven't already done so). It takes some time for your LOR's to get processed by the LSAC, so get the ball rolling ASAP!
    4. Have you been procrastinating with your personal statement? We thought so. After your LSAT and GPA, your statement will be the third most important component of your application. It's also the one component you still have a complete control over. Don't blow it! Assuming you already have a working draft, make sure to subject as many people as possible to the humbling (or humiliating) task of reading it. Don't be shy: this is the sort of feedback you want. Your personal statement should be uploaded to your LSAC account by January 1.
    5. Are you planning to write a "Diversity Statement"? If so, you need to have it done by January 1 as well. Although not all schools ask for one, many do, and it's always good to have one on hand. The diversity statement basically answers the question, "What will you bring to XYZ Law School?" Many students believe that the diversity statement is reserved for those applicants of a specific racial or ethnic background or who are members of an underrepresented minority. Not so! When law schools say "diversity," they're not just talking about race, they're taking about diversity of experience.

    As soon as you receive your LSAT score, do the following:

    • Decide whether or not you need to re-take the test in February - that would be your last chance to apply for entry in the Fall of 2014. If you're happy with your December test score, use it to narrow down the range of schools you wish to apply to approximately 12 (4 safeties, 4 targets, 4 reaches).
    • Log into your LSAC account, pull up the applications to the schools you have selected, and check them over carefully for any "supplemental essay" opportunities (i.e., "optional" essays or long-answer questions that you can use to present another aspect of your candidacy or of your personality). If you feel that your background and/or experiences merit writing any of these essays, do so. 
    • Go over the applications to the schools you're applying to with a fine-tooth comb. If you decided not to re-take the LSAT in February, press that submit button once you've thoroughly evaluated your apps.

    One final word of advice: don't leave most of the items on this To-Do list for New Year's Eve! You'll drop the ball big time, but it won't be in Time Square, and no one will be cheering for you.