Application Form and Supporting Addenda
This can include a mix of documents such as personal essays, addenda, resumes, and more. When preparing these, it is important to review them carefully to make sure you are meeting each school’s specific requirements while tailoring them for each institution.
Credential Assembly Service (CAS) Report
The CAS Report bundles together several important documents that are common for each school that you are applying to. In the CAS Report, ABA law schools will want to see letters of recommendation, typically two, as well as official transcripts and an LSAT writing sample. Because these require you to contact a third party, it is important to connect with your selected individuals and institutions early to ensure they have adequate time to meet the strict deadlines.
Most schools require an LSAT for admission, and depending on your comfort level, some students prefer to see their test score before they submit the application, whereas others are okay with it being sent directly. It is important to plan ahead because the LSAT is only offered eight times a year, so making sure you have adequate time to prepare and take the exam is critical.
Review Each School’s Timeline for Key Deadlines for Applications
For an August start date, typically, the application process opens the September prior. Watching for the open date is especially important for schools that use rolling admissions. Under a rolling admission deadline, the earlier you apply, the better chance you have of getting accepted since you are competing against fewer applicants. In addition, schools that accept students on a rolling basis often offer scholarships at the time of acceptance, so applying later in the process can mean less scholarship money available.
Whether a school uses a rolling admission or not, many law schools follow the Statement of Good Admission and Financial Aid Practices, which waits until around April 1 to request commitments of any kind from prospective students. This allows students the opportunity to evaluate other offers. However, not all schools have the same deadline, so review closely when a deposit or confirmation is required to hold your spot. Typically, if a school’s application process is still open after this initial deposit deadline, new acceptance letters will allow students a few weeks to consider the offer before requiring a response.
If you are waitlisted for a school you are still interested in, review the letter closely, as some law schools ask that you respond within a specific timeframe to remain on the waitlist. Failure to respond removes you from their list for that application period.
Your Next Steps If You Are Denied or Waitlisted
Submit Any New Material for Consideration
This can include updated LSAT scores or major life events or achievements that were not available during the initial application process. Sometimes, law schools will re-evaluate your application if you offer these types of updates.
Start Exploring Other Law Schools
Don’t assume it is too late to apply somewhere else if you are waitlisted. Some schools keep their application windows open longer, even up to July, for an August start date. In addition, some schools have January start dates, so you do not have to wait an entire year before beginning your law school journey.
Contact the Admissions Office
This is especially important if you have been denied to a law school you are seriously interested in. While you won’t be able to change the initial outcome, talking with admissions can help you evaluate ways to improve your application for the next round. The best time to contact admissions is after the new school year has started because the offices will have more availability to review applications and provide recommendations.
If You Are Serious about Law school, Be Proactive
Even though all these steps occur before you are even admitted to a law school, you are not alone. You can reach out to admission offices and ask questions as part of your decision-making process, as well as learn about their application procedures and deadlines to ensure you are well-supported and set up for success.