Applying for Law School

Education
a student highlights the word law school

Whether you’re concerned about taking tests, writing essays, or just figuring out the requirements, applying to law school can be intimidating. Fortunately, we’ve summarized the most important steps in this guide.

Testing

The first step to applying to law school is registering with the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC). The LSAC Credential Assembly Service streamlines the application process and is required by most law schools in the United States. Once you’re signed up, you can go through LSAC to register for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). Make sure to take the test early enough to give you a chance to review your score and make plans, because it’ll take about three nail-biting weeks for your score to arrive.

While you’re waiting for your LSAT scores, you can work on getting your other materials together. You’ll need transcripts, letters of recommendation, and a personal statement. Some schools also require a resume or additional statements. The official transcripts and letters of recommendation should be sent directly to LSAC.

After you’ve assembled all of your materials, including your long-awaited LSAT scores, it’s time to apply. Most schools allow electronic applications, which allow you to submit your application and personal statement online, but some schools still require paper. Regardless of the submission format, you will also provide your LSAC account information, which will give your prospective schools access to the rest of your application documents.

Application Checklist

  • LSAT Scores
    Your test scores are the most important item in your application. Don’t forget to study.
  • Transcripts
    Transcripts need to be official, so have your school send them directly to LSAC.
  • Letters of Recommendation
    You’ll need at least two letters of recommendation from authority figures who have known you during your academic career. Additional letters from bosses or other character references may also be appropriate.
  • Personal Statement
    Your personal statement should be one to two pages long. Be sure to create a tailored version for each school you plan to apply to.
  • Additional Materials
    Some schools require additional items such as resumes or diversity statements. Information about these will be available on the schools’ application pages.

Costs

You may be looking suspiciously at the paragraphs above and thinking to yourself, “Just how much will this all cost?” Unfortunately, the answer is quite a bit. Registering with LSAC’s Credential Assembly Service will cost $160, the LSAT costs $165, and each school that you apply to will charge an additional $50 to $150. Any test prep materials or statement-writing help will, of course, be extra. If you’re applying to many law schools, the total cost can easily be more than $1,000. LSAC and most law schools do, however, offer fee waivers for low-income applicants.

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