August 2nd, 2012
So, you are a rising college senior with your sights set on law school. Now that the June LSAT is behind you, you are likely spending the summer going above and beyond at your internship and even managing to sneak in a few beach weekends as the countdown to senior year begins. With the beginning of law school application season just weeks away, though, you are probably wondering if you can do anything more during the summer months to help your application process run more smoothly. Here we present seven things you can do in August to make your fall a bit less hectic.
1) Assess Your LSAT Performance. If you took the June LSAT, you should have received your results by now. Compare your numbers with the median, 25th percentile and 75th percentile scores of the students admitted last year to the schools to which you plan to apply. If you are satisfied with your score, congratulations—logic games are now a thing of the past for you. However, if you decide you would like to aim a bit higher, now is the time to register for the October LSAT and start studying again. If you resume your studies over the summer, you will have plenty of time to prepare for the next LSAT administration and increase your chances of reaching your goal score the second time around.
2) Start on Your Personal Statement. Telling your story in 1,000 words or less can be tougher than it sounds. Once fall semester starts, you will be back to penning papers for classes and so will not have as much time to focus on what is really the most important essay you will be drafting this fall: your law school personal statement. Begin brainstorming ideas now, and you will have a much easier time getting this essay done while also juggling your usual course work. In fact, you would be wise to create a first draft over the next few weeks, so that your family and friends (or a jdMission consultant!) can review it and give you feedback while they may also have a bit more free time. You can also use this time to find out whether any of the schools to which you plan to apply require additional statements, so you can get started on those as well, along with any diversity or mitigation statements (addenda) you expect to submit.
3) Put Together Your Resume. Ideally, you have been keeping your resume updated on an ongoing basis, so all you will need to do is make a few minor tweaks to render it appropriate for your law school application. However, if you have not yet created a resume, now is the time to put together a draft. Your information should not change much between now and when you actually apply, so take advantage of summer’s more flexible schedule to devote the time necessary to assembling a resume that will wow the admissions committee.
4) Send Your Transcript to LSAC. Once your most recent spring grades are available, request that the registrar at your college (and your graduate school, if applicable) send your official transcripts to LSAC. This is a seemingly simple detail, but one you definitely do not want to forget! Do it now, while things are slower. You will then have more than enough time to review your LSAC academic summary report and ensure that it is correct.
5) Secure Your Letters of Recommendation. When the school year starts, professors and employers are often inundated with requests for recommendation letters. Rather than waiting till then, ask your chosen recommenders for their assistance now, to ensure that your first-choice recommenders will have plenty of time to write these letters on your behalf. Make their lives easier by refreshing their memories with respect to your accomplishments and progress and by briefly sharing your ambitions and reasons for pursuing a JD. Most importantly, leave your recommenders with a written list—what we call a “cheat sheet”—of accomplishments that occurred directly under their supervision. Ask your recommenders to submit their letters to LSAC by the end of September to allow a nice cushion, and remember that LSAC may take up to two weeks to process letters of recommendation.
6) Finalize Your List of Law Schools. In an ideal world, you would be able to apply to an unlimited number of law schools, but the reality is that applying to law school can be both time-consuming (given that many schools require multiple essays) and costly (since most schools have an application fee of approximately $50 to $100). Spend some time this summer narrowing your list of target programs down to a solid but manageable number that includes both safety and reach schools. If time allows, you may even want to visit a few campuses. Although classes will not be in session while you are there, you can at least get a feel for the environment in which you may be spending the next few years.
7) Research Application Availability Dates and Submission Deadlines. Many law schools have rolling admissions, so submitting your applications as early as possible is in your best interest. Therefore, you will need to know when your target schools’ applications become available, as well as the earliest date by which you can submit your materials. For example, as of the publication date of this post, Harvard Law School’s Web site stated: “We encourage you to submit your application as soon as possible after September 15 and well before the February 1 deadline.” And of course, make sure you know the final date by which you can submit your application, too, not only so that you do not miss it for your first-choice schools, but also in case you decide to throw your hat in the ring at the last minute for any of your second-choice programs.
By Danielle Rothman, jdMission senior consultant. To sign up for a free 30-minute consultation with Danielle or any other jdMission consultant, please visit www.jdmission.com/consult.php.
Posted in Law School by the Numbers