The Madness Begins: Law School Applications Have Been Released
At the turn of the new month a few days ago, the vast majority of law schools began to release their law school applications in downloadable form on their websites and through LSAC. Students who have been diligently compiling all of the critical components of their applications are beating down the doors of the law school admissions offices already and getting their almost-complete applications ready for a dress rehearsal-style ultimate review before everything is (electronically) signed, sealed, and delivered. Others who have not been quite as meticulous about keeping a schedule throughout the process, but are still far ahead of the rest of the pack are just getting the clerical components of all of the schools’ applications finished so that they can make some tweaks to their personal statements and be ready to submit before October.
Both of these groups of people are in an incredibly good position because of the contours of the rolling admissions process that most top law schools utilize. However, in my experience working with aspiring law students, most of the deadline-chasers (probably not the right word choice here given that everyone has eschewed the real deadline in favor of the earliest possible time, but you get the point…) have overlooked crucial components of their applications or rushed them in a way that has the same effect as completely overlooking them. For these students, we would recommend having someone put a fresh pair of eyes on the application to evaluate the strategy as a whole before clicking that submit button. Who better to play the role of “Your Personal Dean of Admissions” than InGenius Prep’s incredible team of former admissions officers?
Now that we’re done talking about the perennial over-achievers, let’s talk about the rest of you who comprise the bulk of law school applicants. These are people who know they want to go to law school, but haven’t quite had the time or energy to put into their applications so early in the game. The first, and most painless steps you can take in the application process will be to set up the administrative details of your application. You should register for the Law School Credential Assembly Service, and begin the somewhat arduous process of getting your school(s) to send in all relevant transcripts so that you do not have to worry about it when more time-intensive school and application work really begins to ramp up. You should also start to plan out your letter of recommendation strategy. These are two of the main components of the application that could be the most time-intensive and out-of-your-sole-control. So, it’s smart to start to check them off your list first. Of course, you will need to follow up with these items.
If you’re like most people, you’ll want to know: when is the last time I can reasonably put this whole application ordeal off until I start to seriously detract from my chances of getting into a top law school? While it’s hard to give a true answer to this difficult question, the best answer I can give you is fairly concrete: November 10th. It seems like a fairly arbitrary date, but it’s been chosen for a very specific reason. It’s after the Halloween rush of applications, and well before the Thanksgiving and Winter Holiday Break rush of applications. Keep in mind, this is not when I recommend sending in your applications, but rather a compromise between the utmost diligence and a realistic assessment of what most students have time for and when they have time to do it.