Applying to Law School
What are the key components of the law school application?
The components of the law school application may vary, so check the requirements of each law school to which you plan to apply. At a minimum, schools will require a complete application form, copies of all undergraduate and graduate transcripts, Law School Admission Test (LSAT) score or scores, 2-3 letters of recommendation, and a personal statement. Some schools may also ask for a writing sample or resume.
How do I apply to law school? What's the CAS?
All law school applicants must subscribe (for a fee) to the Law School Admission Council's (LSAC) Credential Assembly Service (CAS). CAS is a centralized service that serves as a repository for an applicant's Law School Admission Test (LSAT) scores, undergraduate and graduate transcripts, letters of recommendation, and all other application materials. The entire law school application process is conducted through the CAS.
How much does it cost to apply to law school?
Fees for the CAS and Law School Admission Test (LSAT) can be found at http://www.lsac.org/jd/lsat/lsat-cas-fees. Each law school to which you apply will also require an application fee, which varies by school and could range from $50 to $85.
Which are the best law schools? What qualities should I look for in a law school?
Selecting a law school is like selecting a mate. Some law schools have better reputations and more so-called desirable characteristics than others, but that does not guarantee that they are the best fit for you. Try not to be overly influenced by lists purporting to rank law schools. When researching law schools, you should consider whether a program focuses more heavily on an area of interest (i.e., tax law or immigration law) and its curriculum, size, location, strength of the faculty, faculty to student ratios, job placement rates, and financial aid/scholarship offerings.
To how many law schools should I apply?
There is no magic number, but on average, students apply to five or six law schools. In general, students should apply to one or two schools in each of the following categories: reach schools, target schools, and safety schools. A reach school is one in which about 20% or less of its applicants with your GPA and Law School Admission Test (LSAT) score were recently admitted. Target schools are ones in which your GPA and LSAT score are approximately the same as the medians for the previous year's entering class. A safety school is one which at least 80% of the applicants with your GPA and LSAT score were admitted in the previous year. When applying, remember that each school requires an application fee. Also, keep in mind that it's rare for applicants to gain admission to all law schools to which they apply.
When should I apply to law school?
Submit your law school application as early as possible in the fall of the year prior to enrollment, preferably by November 1st and no later than Thanksgiving. Admission decisions are granted on a rolling basis, which means that law schools evaluate applications as they receive them and do not wait until the deadline to do so. As such, the admission can become more competitive as the process progresses because there will be a larger pool of applicants competing for a small number of available spots.
Should I visit law schools?
While not required, visiting law schools can be helpful during any stage of the application process. Consider visiting one or more law schools if: you're not sure if you should attend, you're trying to decide which schools to apply to, you've been accepted to a law school but you haven't been on its campus.