After the December LSAT: Getting Your Law School Applications Ready in Time
The December LSAT is done, and now it’s time to buckle down with LSAC.org and get your law school applications sent as soon as possible. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you budget your time, and keep your priorities straight. You are applying a little later in the process, so you will face a disadvantage if you don’t hurry. Nonetheless, many (if not most) applicants send their applications in to schools during December, so if you move quickly, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.
Don’t forget that if you need some last-second advice, or want an expert pair of eyes to read over your applications, you can always get in touch with us on facebook, twitter, or by purchasing a package on the JD shop.
1) If your recommendations haven’t been sent to the LSAC, then that is your first priority.
Email your recommenders immediately; make sure they know how important it is that you be able to send your law school applications to schools as soon as possible. Ask your recommenders if they would like reminder emails (many recommenders need these reminders, even when they don’t ask), and make sure to follow up with them regularly.
You may even ask your recommenders if it would be helpful for you to write a rough draft outlining what you would like the recommendation to say. Professors and other recommenders have to write dozens of recommendations every year, and they may find this very helpful. If your recommender agrees, make sure that you are honest, and not so self-congratulatory that your recommender will feel uneasy.
2) If you haven’t had your transcript sent to the LSAC, then that is your second priority.
Email the registrar immediately with whatever document your school requires for an official transcript request. If you can bring the request in person, all the better. Chances are good that your school will be on winter break very soon (if it is not already). Make sure to get the transcript request into the registrar before everyone leaves for break. If you are sending a transcript request very close to winter break, email your Dean and ask them if they can help. You’ll be surprised how quickly transcripts get sent out once a Dean emails the registrar on your behalf.
3) Begin work on the Personal Statement
Forget about everything at the beginning of the LSAC application for a moment. The personal information and resume don’t take long. For now, focus your efforts on the personal statement. You don’t want to write this in a single sitting, so starting as early as possible will make it easier for you to finish it piecemeal over the next 1-2 weeks.
Start by building your outline: what do you want the personal statement to say? What anecdotes or personal experiences will you use to communicate these ideas? Once you have a rough framework for your personal statement, you can begin writing. If you write 5-6 sentences a day, you’ll be done in just a few days.
4) Tackle the resume
Once you have begun writing the personal statement, you can get moving on your resume. Don’t fall into the trap of following the tired, bland formatting and organization that everyone uses after Googling “writing a resume.” The resume is supposed to be a summary of you – your experiences, accomplishments, awards, and achievements. The last thing you want is for your resume to put admissions officers to sleep.
Oddly, students always seem to worry so much about the format of the resume that they totally forget about the substance. Remember: it is the substance that matters! The formatting can be figured out in a day, but the substance is what gets you into law school.
Like the personal statement, the resume cannot be completed in one sitting. I recommend spending your first resume work-session compiling a list of everything you can possibly imagine putting on your resume: awards, summer camps, first girlfriends and boyfriends – you name it. Once you’ve done that, you can begin paring down your list to include only the bare essentials. Only then should you start worrying about how to format the resume.
5) Follow-up with your recommenders, nag the registrar, fill out your personal information, and send out your applications!
It feels so good to be done. Don’t put this off – the sooner you apply, the better your chances of success. Once you’re finished – and you will be very soon – you can sit back and relax.
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