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 (americanbar.org/groups/legal_education/resources/pre_law.html):
- Problem solving
- Critical reading
- Critical Reading
- Writing and editing
- Oral communication and listening
- Organization and management
- Public service and promotion of justice
Meet with your academic adviser for help with this selection.
- Learn about law school
- Review the Law School Admission Council's website at www.lsac.org
- 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. Seek leadership roles.
- Attend a Pre-Law Orientation Session during your first or second year.
(If you plan to attend law school immediately following graduation from Penn State.)
- Continue to focus on academics. The initial transcripts you submit to law schools will contain grades through your junior year, but you will be required to supplement with senior grades.
- Attend Graduate and Professional School Day at Penn State or another law school fair.
- Develop strong relationships with your professors to support future letters of recommendation.
- Meet with your pre-law adviser.
- Take a timed practice LSAT exam. You need to know your baseline score to create a study plan.
- Attend an Applying to Law School Session.
- Decide when you will sit for the LSAT and register via LSAC. June or October is preferred.
- Adequately prepare for the LSAT. Plan to take it just once since all scores are reported to law schools.
- Begin researching law schools. Develop a tentative list.
- Take the LSAT in June. Only take the LSAT 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/jd/applying-to-law-school/cas.
- Take the LSAT in October, if necessary.
- Contact professors for letters of recommendation. Obtain a minimum of three letters of recommendation with at least two from professors.
- Finalize your personal statement. Consider attending a personal statement workshop.
- Complete your list of schools. Review their applications.
- 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 by Thanksgiving and no later than January 1.
- 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.