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Taking the LSAT in June or October solidifies you as one of the many hopefuls who are applying to start law school in Fall 2011. But, the LSAT is just one step in the process… a process that, before long, will begin to feel like a full-time job!

As you gear up to become a law student, the Director of Admissions Andrew Woolsey at the University of La Verne College of Law offers this advice:

The Brief:

Monitor deadlines. Some law schools have earlier application deadlines than others.

  • Regular decision applications are generally due between February and April.
  • A few law schools have early decision applications due as early as October.
  • Some law schools, like La Verne Law, have rolling admissions, reviewing applications as they are submitted until the entering class is full.

Apply to a few schools for each level of admission difficulty.

Do not apply only to schools where you are likely to be admitted. Your admissions targets should include a few “reach” schools in addition to your “on par” and “safety” schools.

  • Safety Schools: Law schools where you believe your likelihood of admission is about 60% or higher.
  • On Par Schools: Law schools where your LSAT score and G.P.A. are near the school’s admission standards, and you believe you have a 50% chance of admission.
  • Reach Schools: Law schools with average academic credentials significantly higher than yours. Many prospective students say that stepping out of their comfort zone and applying to a reach school changed their lives.

Attend to financial aid forms due early in the year.

Financial aid for Fall 2011 matriculants can be filed as early as January 1, 2011 by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA must be filled out and submitted on time to qualify for certain types of aid.

Obtain letters of recommendation now!

  • Choose your references wisely. “Professors are usually the best recommendation sources for prospective law school applicants,” said La Verne Law Associate Dean of External Relations, Alexis Thompson. “However, if you have been out of school for some time and you are unable to obtain recommendations from academic sources, it may be best to have your letters of recommendation come from an employer who knows you well.”
  • Request letters of recommendation early so your references have the time they need to write thoughtful communications.
  • Be sure to prepare your recommender. Provide your resume, a statement of your career goals, postage, and due dates to help your reference write a glowing recommendation letter.
  • Follow up with your reference to ensure your recommendation has been submitted on time. If you are not sure whether a letter has been submitted, ask someone else to write one in its place.

Send LSAT score reports through LSDAS to every school that will receive your application for admission.

June LSAT scores are usually available by mid-July. If you decide to apply to additional law schools after you receive your LSAT score, remember to notify LSDAS.

Send in all of your transcripts.

Be sure to consider all of the following types of education:

  • Undergraduate schools
  • Graduate schools
  • Other professional schools

Perfect your personal statement; it could be your ticket into your reach school!

Make certain your essay is honest and memorable to a law school admissions committee:

  • Be original. Avoid clichés and generalizations.
  • Be genuine. Speak about a personal experience or event and why it matters to you. Your sincerity will separate you from the pack.
  • Be concise. Using impressive words and long sentences just to sound important will generally have the opposite effect, making you appear pretentious, inarticulate, and undesirable.

For further information about writing a strong personal statement, visit the In Brief archives.

Visit as many law schools as you can before you decide where to attend.

Reading about a school on paper doesn’t compare to seeing it in person. When you visit:

  • Talk to current students. They are the best sources of information about student life and the campus environment.
  • Sit in on classes. This is a great way to experience the rigors you will be expected to endure once you become a law student.
  • Meet with Admissions Staff. Do not be afraid to ask a law school admissions officer for an appointment in person or by phone. If you are offered a face-to-face opportunity to meet an admissions officer, say yes, dress appropriately, and arrive early.
  • Visit the Career Services Office. While you may not need the assistance of Career Services personnel right away, you should be familiar with the types of career services and professional development each law school offers. Since you are attending law school to enhance your career, it is imperative that the school you choose will meet your career needs.
  • Ask about support services available for your family. Because law school requires an enormous commitment of time and energy, it is important your family and/or spouse are included in the process. Ask representatives at your target law schools if they have any special programs that allow family to be included in the law school experience for example orientations, mixers, special events, housing assistance, and procedures to help with family emergencies to name a few. Likewise, consider input from your family and close friends when deciding where to attend law school.

Call an admissions officer if you have questions.

Specific questions and concerns cannot always be addressed by a website or brochure. Admissions representatives are in business because we know the ins and outs of our school’s procedures. We are here to help you during application and matriculation, so call us.