By Chelsea Reese
Thinking about applying to law school? It’s one thing to think about it- actually doing it is a whole different story! The process is long and is stressful. The smallest of details are just as important as the big ones. Google searches will help with the big stuff, but find below the little stuff that they may not tell you:
Register for your LSAC account ASAP! You’ll be visiting this website a lot throughout this process. Go ahead and create an account, and pay $175 for CAS (Credential Assembly Service). All law school applications will need to be submitted through this service. There will be so many details to worry about when you start applying, so already having your account set up and ready to go will give you one less thing to worry about.
Law School Reports (AKA more fees)
So once all your data-transcripts (more on those later), LSAT scores, letters of recommendation-is received by LSAC, they will compile all this information into a handy dandy report and send it to each law school you apply to. The process of applying includes filling out the pages of the actual application (different for each school), and then sending your report. Each report costs $30, and is mandatory for each school.
Once you’ve finished the application, check your account to make sure your reports were sent and received.
You will not send your transcripts directly to the law schools you’re applying to. Even if you’re a UGA undergrad student and you’re apply to UGA Law, you cannot pick up your transcript from the Hunter-Holmes Academic Building and drop it off at the law school.
First, add all your undergraduate institutions (even the community college or university back home where you took a few summer classes!) to your LSAC accounts. LSAC will then generate a transcript request form for each school specifically. Print this form, sign it, then scan it (the UGA Main Library has plenty of scanners available for free use right near the front door!), and send it to your undergraduate institution. This form tells the registrar to send your transcript directly to LSAC. The preferred method of receiving this form varies by school. For UGA transcripts specifically, you upload this form to Athena when you submit your request.
Make sure to check your LSAC account to be sure your transcripts have been received and processed. It should only take a few days!
Letters of Recommendation
The letter of recommendation is somewhat similar to the transcript process. First, identity your recommenders (preferably a professor who can speak highly of your academic skills). Go in person (if possible), sit down with them, and tell them more about yourself and your goals. If it’s a professor, take some of your assignments from their class to remind them of your wonderful writing skills, critical thinking skills, etc. Also, take a copy of your personal statement and your resume so they can provide a well-rounded assessment of you. Once you have their approval, you’ll enter their information on LSAC. LSAC will email them the forms they will need to attach when they upload the letter. It is their responsibility to upload the letter along with the proper forms, so check in, but don’t pester. Also, plan in advance because once they’ve uploaded it, it will take a few weeks to process and show up in your LSAC account. Remember, your Law School Reports won’t be sent until all your data is uploaded.
Also- make sure to send a thank you note or email! And, when you get accepted, update and thank them again!
Unfortunately, there is really no blueprint for the personal statement. The two most important things about the personal statement are:
- Make sure you’re telling the committee something that they did not already know from reviewing your application.
- Have as many people as possible read over it. Again, the smallest details matter. Dot your I’s and cross your T’s! Not literally, because you’re uploading this online. But, check your commas and add your apostrophes.
First things first, study. Study some more, and then study again. “Study” in LSAT World means take practice tests (and review them).
The June test is a great option because if you don’t like your score, you have time to retake it in October. The October test also means you can study all summer!
Just like everything else in this process, register for your LSAT early! There are late fees if you miss the registration deadlines, and the final cutoff is a few months before the actual test date. Also, seats at each location are limited!
So you navigated the application process, and now…you wait. This might be the worst part of the process. Okay not really- the LSAT takes the cake, but, the waiting is a close second. Every school’s process is different. Decisions can take anywhere from one week to four months (true story). If it’s been more than 8 weeks, calling the admissions office and nicely checking in can in some cases speed things up. Some schools notify via email, and other via mail, so be on the lookout for both.
We’ll close with the same fact we started with-this process is so stressful! Breathe deeply, plan ahead, and keep up with every detail. Best of luck!! When you open that acceptance letter or email, all the stress will be so worth it.