Law School Preparation and Application Timeline
PREPARE FOR LAW SCHOOL
• 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.)
- 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 lsac.org.
- 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.
- Register for the Credential Assembly Service (CAS) at lsac.org.
- 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.
- Send updated transcripts with fall grades to the Credential Assembly Service (CAS).
- Fill out FAFSA by the end of February at fafsa.ed.gov
- 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 ets.org for more info.