Timeline: Law School Prep Through Undergrad

Do you want to go to law school? Start preparing now.

Even though the application process may be a couple years away, you can start law school prep as an undergraduate. Starting in your first semester Freshman year, there are things you can do to prepare for law school. What follows is a general timeline to follow throughout your undergraduate years to make sure you're preparing for law school in the best possible way.

Freshman and Sophomore Years

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  • Study hard. The best law school prep is earning the best grades possible, as your GPA will weigh heavily in admissions decisions.
  • Choose challenging courses, particularly those with writing, speaking, and analytical reasoning components such as those on this list of recommended undergraduate courses for preparing for law school.
  • Speak to a pre-law advisor and learn as much as you can about the legal profession, the admissions process, and the LSAT.
  • Find a summer or part-time job related to the legal profession to give you a better idea of whether you’re making the right decision to pursue law school.
  • Start revamping your resume to make it look professional and well organized. You’ll need an organized resume when applying for jobs. Also, maintaining an organized resume throughout college will spare you the stress of having to reorganize your resume before apps are due!
  • Start forming relationships with professors. You will need letters of recommendation when you apply for law school, and some of the strongest ones will be from professors who have known you the longest.

Junior Year

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  • Keep studying. Your junior year grades will be the last ones on your transcript submitted to law schools, so make them stellar.
  • Visit LSAC's website to register with the LSDAS service and to read up on the LSAT, admissions procedure, and law schools.
  • Begin looking at law schools, keeping in mind these 10 criteria for choosing a law school. Thoroughly research all the schools you are applying to so that you’ll be happy going to any of them.
  • Take a practice LSAT test and consider taking the June LSAT (in which case you'd have an opportunity to retake it in October).
  • Think about who you'll ask for letters of recommendation; keep in mind that asking potential referees before summer break will give them plenty of time to write something.
  • Secure summer employment in the legal field if you haven't already.

Summer Before Senior Year

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  • Take the LSAT in June and/or register and prepare for the October LSAT.
  • Prepare your personal statement and ask family, friends, and anyone else with great writing skills for feedback. Use your summer time to draft, redraft, and take breaks from writing. The personal statement is a key application component and you want to submit your absolutely best writing.
  • Visit your college’s career services center to get your resume in top shape.
  • Research financial aid options.
  • Visit the law schools that you are considering.

Fall of Senior Year

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  • Select the law schools to which you will apply, preferably with the help of a pre-law advisor, and request application materials. Make photocopies of all important forms.
  • Get firm on your deadlines! If you’re applying to more than one school, you are bound to get each school's respective deadlines mixed up. Make a calendar so no deadlines sneak up on you.
  • Get financial aid forms ready and be aware of their deadlines.
  • Have a copy of your transcript forwarded from the Registrar's Office to LSDAS, which will send it to the schools you are applying to.
  • Submit your applications as early as possible, before Thanksgiving break is preferable. Some law schools have rolling admissions so the earlier you submit your application, the earlier you may find out the decision. 

Spring of Senior Year

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  • Make sure that the law schools have received all information necessary to complete your application file.
  • Watch those letters of acceptance roll in, and select which law school you'll attend. Remember, again, to refer back to the 10 criteria that you should consider while choosing a law school.
  • Once you decide on a law school, let your pre-law advisor and referees know with a nice thank you note.
  • Request that the Registrar forward a copy of your final transcript to your law school of choice.
  • Consider law school prep courses to get you ready for law school.
  • Celebrate and pat yourself on the back!
  • Plan to make the most of your upcoming summer. Check out our Pre-1L summer checklist here.