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Law School Application Timeline For Non-College Students

As soon as you decide that you want to go to law school

Keep track of your experiences and accomplishments and collect samples of your work for future use in preparing your personal statement and resume.

Prepare a one-page resume of your accomplishments both for the use of letter writers and for inclusion with your law school applications. Your resume should include work experience, your major and GPA, extracurricular activities, and special skills.

Take one or two timed LSAT practice exams. In an environment that is as close to the actual test conditions as possible, time the test at 35 minutes per section. Assess where your score falls and where you want it to be.

Learn as much you can about the LSAT, including the various types of questions, the scoring scale, and strategies for optimal performance. Develop a plan of preparing for the test.

Decide when you want to take the LSAT-visit for dates and locations. You should plan on taking the LSAT no later than the Summer or Fall a year prior to your expected entry into law school. A summer test is preferable because you will receive the results early enough to be in the first wave of applicants. Many schools practice rolling admissions, meaning that the earlier you apply, the better your chances of admission. A Summer test also gives you more opportunities to retake the test at a later date if your score is lower than you expected.

Participate in organizations, committees, and other activities. While important in developing your leadership skills, these activities will also help you enhance your relationships with personnel that will help strengthen your application.

Identify factors important to you in your choice of schools, such as size, geographic locale, surrounding community or city, and interest in specific programs. Develop a rough list of the schools you think you want to explore further. Spend some time reviewing their websites and evaluating them to see if they meet your requirements.

Start work on obtaining recommendations. Always personally ask the people you would like to write a recommendation for you. Seriously consider who you ask for a letter of recommendation. They should be people who know you well and are willing to write a detailed letter about your overall knowledge, motivation, problem solving skills, and leadership abilities. It is very helpful to provide them with written information about yourself, including your resume, copies of papers you wrote for their courses, a copy of your personal statement (if available). Make sure they understand that they are writing one generic letter that can be sent to every law school to which you are applying. Send a "thank you" note a few weeks later to express your gratitude and serve as a reminder.

3-4 months before the LSAT

Take another practice test and evaluate your performance and your score. Are you generally self-motivated or do you need the structure and pressure of a course to study effectively? Depending on your learning style, PowerScore offers  Self-Study Plans, Courses, and one-on-one Tutoring to help you crush the exam.

Begin gathering materials for the CAS. Remember that you must send a transcript from every college and junior college you have attended. Be sure to check the transcripts for any errors that have been made in recording grades or credits.

Take more practice tests and begin to get an approximate idea of your best-case and worst-case score scenarios. Begin to plan an application strategy based upon the resulting score range.

2 Months before the LSAT

Registration deadlines usually fall one and a half months prior to the test, but you may check the LSAT website for specific deadlines.

Take the LSAT

Take the test when you are confident in your ability to do well. Be sure to check on the websites or with the admissions departments of the schools where you intend to apply for LSAT and application deadlines. Good Luck!

Immediately after you have taken the LSAT

Continue to work on your personal statement. Your personal statement can include your ambitions, objectives in life, career interests, and life experiences.

Research application requirements, admissions policies, and information on financial aid for every school that interests you. Begin to narrow down your list of schools and, if close by, attend a law school fair. Visit campuses and meet with students and faculty.

If you are applying to law school for the following academic year, submit the required forms to CAS, including transcripts, letters of recommendation, etc. Be sure to check your CAS report carefully for errors when it comes back.

Prepare your personal statement. Consider using our Admissions Consulting Services for assistance in creating a persuasive and moving statement that conveys your story in an unforgettable manner.

Seek national scholarships and financial aid. If you plan to seek Financial Aid, begin the application process as soon as the financial aid forms are available. The earlier you apply for financial aid, the better your chances of receiving it. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) if you are applying for financial aid (this includes loans). Also, prepare and submit all loan applications as early as possible. Decisions on awards may be delayed until final class selections, but it is best to have the paperwork submitted as early as possible.

Approximately 2 months after you have taken the LSAT (after you have received your score)

If this LSAT saw you at or below the low end of your PT range then you know you're capable of more, and another attempt is your chance to prove it. Similarly, if you know you could have done more to prep—which is the case for just about everyone—then you know you left some points on the table and should strongly consider a retake.

If any of your applications require a Dean's Certification letter, submit the request as soon as you know you will be applying to that school. Roughly ten to fifteen percent of all law schools still require a Dean's Certification letter.

Read the application material from each school very carefully. Look at your GPA and LSAT score, and compare them to the scores of accepted students in each university you are seriously considering ( LSAC Official Guide to ABA-Approved Law Schools). Narrow your choices to a realistic number of schools to which you actually will send applications. Apply to a few schools in each of the following areas: schools which you would love to attend, but may be more challenging to be accepted; schools where you stand a good chance based on your scores; and schools where your credentials are slightly higher than the previous year's accepted students.

Organize, prepare, and complete your applications carefully. Apply early if possible. If a school practices rolling admissions, the earlier you apply, the better your chances may be. Some law schools are implement arly action, early notification, or early decision programs. If you are interested in pursuing these options, be aware that the applications may be due as early as the first week of October. Check the instructions for all applications carefully with regard to timing, recommendations, and personal statement. Keep photocopies of everything you submit.

Once you have all of the necessary letters of recommendation, send them out. If you use LSAC’s LOR service included in CAS registration, you can manage your letters through your LSAC account and  your re referenced will only need to submit their LORS once to LSAC. You can read more about this service here: LSAC LOR Service.

3-4 months after the LSAT

Make sure that your file is complete at each law school to which you applied. By January (or six weeks after you have completed and sent in an application), call any law schools that have not notified you that your application is complete.

Try to be patient. Most decisions, unless you applied early, will be made from January on into the late Spring. In February, send a letter to any school in which you are still under consideration but have been waitlisted. Inform them of your continued interest and enthusiasm for the school, and update them on any accomplishments or any new information they do not have. The letter should include any honors, activities, work experience, extracurricular activities, or special accomplishments about which the school was not informed in the initial application. It is not a bad idea to also include another letter of recommendation if you feel it is appropriate.

As soon as you begin to receive results from the applications, start the decision making process about where you will enroll.

Visit as many of the law schools to which you have been accepted as you can. Ideally, plan the visit at a time when the school is in session and students are available or when any open house event is scheduled. Do your research and prepare questions on any points you want to clarify. Meet with students, administrators and faculty as appropriate to find out more about the learning environment, course options, housing, and career placement resources.

Make your final decisions, but not until you have heard from most of the schools where you applied. Financial aid, fellowship money, cost, and location may each be a factor in your decision. Pay the admission deposit and plan housing.

Out of consideration for fellow applicants, notify schools immediately if you no longer wish to be considered or as soon as you have made an admission decision.

Share your success. Keep in touch with and thank everyone who provided support, encouragement, and assistance.

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