Law School Preparation and Application Timeline



•  Select a major that interests you. Law schools do not require or prefer a particular major.

•  Focus on academics. Your GPA is one of the most important factors for admission to law school.

•   Select a challenging course load with a focus on the following skills recommended by the American Bar Association.

    • Analytic/Problem-Solving Skills
    • Critical Reading
    • Writing Skills
    • Oral Communication/Listening Abilities                              
    • General Research Skills
    • Task Organization/Management Skills
    • Public Service and Promotion of Justice

Meet with your academic adviser within your major for help with course selection.

•   Learn about law school

    • Review the Law School Admission Council’s website.
    • Schedule a classroom visit at a law school
    • Subscribe to the Pre-Law Advising listserv
    • Attend Pre-Law Advising events and panel discussions regarding law school
    • Talk with current law students
    • Consider a summer exploratory program hosted by a law school
    • Select a law-related course  
    • Educate yourself regarding the cost of law school and sources of financial aid

•  Explore the practice of law

    • Conduct informational interviews with practicing attorneys
    • Shadow an attorney for a day
    • Consider a mentorship program, including the College of the Liberal Arts’ Alumni Mentor Program
    • Secure a legal internship
    • Observe a court session
    • Attend Pre-Law Advising panels focused on legal practice issues

•   Select co-curricular activities that focus on public service and promotion of justice. Ensure that your grades are not negatively impacted by over-involvement in co-curricular activities.

•   Attend a Pre-Law Orientation Session during your first or second year.


THIRD YEAR   (If you plan to attend law school immediately following graduation from Penn State.)

Fall Semester

      • Continue to focus on academics.
      • Attend Graduate and Professional School Week (law school fair). Gather information from schools.
      • Develop strong relationships with your professors to support future letters of recommendation.
      • Meet with your pre-law adviser.
      • Take a timed practice LSAT exam(and GRE if you are considering this test). This will determine your baseline score.
      • Register for an online account at

Spring Semester

      • Decide when you will sit for the LSAT (or GRE) and register via LSAC.*
      • Attend a personal statement workshop.  This will prepare you to start drafting in summer.
      • Adequately prepare for the LSAT (or GRE). Try to take it just once since all scores are reported to law schools.*
      • Begin researching law schools. Develop a tentative list.


      • Take the LSAT (or GRE)in early summer.* Only take it if you are prepared and satisfied with practice exam scores.
      • Continue researching law schools and narrow your list.
      • Begin to draft your personal statement.


Fall Semester

  • Register for the Credential Assembly Service (CAS) at
  • Take the LSAT(or GRE) in early fall, if necessary.*
  • Attend Graduate and Professional School Week (law school fair). Make a good impression!
  • Contact professors for letters of recommendation. Obtain a minimum of two letters of recommendation from professors. You can ask an employer or internship supervisor for an additional letter as well.
  • Finalize your personal statement. Consider attending a personal statement workshop.
  • Complete your list of schools.  Review their applications in LSAC.  Most applications open Sept. 1st.
  • Request copies of your transcripts and ask that your schools send them directly to LSAC.
  • Apply to law schools. Many schools have rolling admission, so plan to apply in October but no later than the end of November.

Spring Semester

  •    Send updated transcripts with fall grades to the Credential Assembly Service (CAS).
  •    Fill out FAFSA by the end of February at
  •    Pay seat deposit. April 1st is the earliest that a school usually requires a deposit,  except for early decision.

*Many, but not all, law schools now accept the GRE.  Go to for more info.