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Law School Application Timeline

The following timeline is designed to walk you through the application process. To maximize your chances of acceptance to your desired schools, we suggest that you send in completed applications between Halloween and Thanksgiving (if you plan to enroll the following fall semester). Consider the first week in January as the latest time to submit completed applications to your selected schools. The deadlines posted by the law schools, which fall anywhere from January 1st to May 1st (and even beyond), represent the period when admissions officers must read through thousands of applications. Since it is a rolling admission process, you want to be among the first reviewed in order to be given the best consideration.

18 Months before the Start Date

  • Take a diagnostic Law School Admission Test (LSAT)

  • Register for the June LSAT & CAS (Credential Assembly Service)

  • If needed, request a Fee Waiver from Law School Admission Council (LSAC)

  • If needed, apply for accommodated testing via LSAC

16-17 Months before the Start Date

  • Begin preparing for the LSAT

  • Continue to build solid law experiences with internships, etc.

14-15 Months before the Start Date

  • Take the June LSAT

  • Start researching schools

  • Make and prioritize list of schools

  • Notify recommenders

  • Schedule campus visits

  • Begin legal job or internship

13 Months before the Start Date

  • Visit law school campuses

  • Register with Credential Assembly Service (if not already done)

  • Send transcript request forms

  • Start drafting personal statement(s)

11-12 Months before the Start Date

  • Provide CAS with official transcripts

  • Have others review personal statement

  • If taking gap year(s) start collecting letters of recommendations/evaluations

9-10 Months before the Start Date

  • Take the September/October LSAT (if needed)

  • Examine Master Law School Report from CAS for accuracy

  • Remind recommenders to submit (send thank-you notes)

  • Finalize personal statement(s)

  • Dean’s Certification forms go to 323 HL

  • Complete & send applications (print copies for self)

8 Months before the Start Date

  • Take the December LSAT (if needed)

7 Months before the Start Date

  • File income taxes

  • Submit all financial aid forms (FAFSA and other school specific forms).

  • Do not wait for an admission decisions to file financial forms (It may be too late!)

4-5 Months before the Start Date

  • Receive admission decisions (accepted, wait-listed, on hold, or denied)

  • Receive financial aid award notices

  • Decide which offers to accept, or strategy for wait-listed options

  • Mail Intent to Register & the seat deposit to ensure place in incoming class

  • Notify other schools to which you were accepted that you are declining their offers

  • Inform pre-law advisor of results and decisions

1-2 Months before the Start Date

If accepted: Arrange your living accommodations, pack, and prepare mentally for the academic rigor to begin.

If You Are Not Accepted

  • Choose among your alternate plans and implement (e.g., graduate degree, internship or job in field)

  • Plan strategy for the next application cycle

  • Retake LSAT after further preparation

  • Revise your list of schools

  • Submit your applications earlier

NOTE: 30 to 40% of applicants are not admitted the first time they apply.


Additional Resources

Pre-Law Advising (http://casadvising.syr.edu)

LSAC (www.lsac.org)

American Bar Association (www.americanbar.org)

FAFSA (www.fafsa.ed.gov)