What do I need to apply to law school?
The LSAT, or Law School Admission Test, is the exam each student takes before applying to law school. Law schools rely heavily on this test score; take it very seriously. Do not block plan this when you study! Take the time to really understand all the components. It’s suggested to take at least 6 months to study. Remember, the higher the score, the better ranked school you will get into.
- When you register for the LSAT, you will be asked to upload a picture. This picture must match the ID you bring to the testing center on test day. For example, don’t upload a picture of you in a hat and sunglasses.
- The test consists of five 35-minute sections of multiple-choice questions. Four of the five sections are considered and one used as a pretest for future test. You will not know which section won’t count at the time of testing.
- The sections include one Reading Comprehension section, one Analytical Reasoning section, and two Logical Reasoning sections.
Law schools are curious about your past, and therefore want to see your resume. Your resume doesn't need to have multiple law experiences included; each law school is looking for a well-rounded individual. The Career Center has several examples online.
This is where law schools really get to know you. Remember, this is a personal statement, not an academic paper; write in first person using I statements and descriptive, feeling words.
Here are some tips for writing your statement:
- Pay careful attention to the prompt provided by each law school. Some schools will ask for something specific and others will be more general.
- Usually these statements are two pages, double spaced. Some schools will allow for longer, but please check the individual school’s requirement first.
- Law schools read thousands of essays a year. What will make them remember you? Include a specific story or anecdote about you and then how this either piqued your interest in law school or prepared you for the law profession.
- Make connections about how your experiences have prepared you for law school. This could include academic, athletic, club, internship, and/or job experiences. What are your skills and strengths?
- Talk about why this particular law school is a good fit for you, your area of interest, and potentially the location. Most likely, this won’t be the main point in your essay, but tailoring your essay always helps.
- Avoid using quotes from anyone famous.
- You don’t have to know which type of law you want to practice at this point. It’s okay to be general.
- Proofread, proofread, proofread! Use your resources on campus and at home for a second set of eyes.
- Remember to use your tone, your ideas, and your writing style. Often, statements can be rewritten by a well-intentioned proofreader and your story gets lost in the shuffle.
- When saving and uploading to your LSAC account, carefully name each essay. It is very embarrassing to apply with a statement geared towards a competing school!
You may not need to write an addendum. Addendums are used if something needs to be explained to the admission committee, specifically disciplinary issues, an academic issue, or particular interest in this school because of legacy. This is not a long essay. If you are explaining a potential issue with your application, be brief. Explain the problem and either what you did to fix it or what you learned from it. Don't make excuses; accept responsibility. Humility is the key word here. Please talk with the pre-law advisor for help. Know that law schools aren’t expecting you to be perfect, and they understand life happens. It is, however, important to own your mistakes.
Law schools require a transcript from each college or university you attended. Yes, that includes your study abroad organization – the transfer grades on your CC transcript are not sufficient. The Office of the Registrar at CC will send your transcript straight to the LSAC site. This request usually takes three-five business days, but please be aware of busy times in the office where they may not be able to accommodate this time frame. For more information about how to request transcripts, please visit the Registrar’s website.
Letters of Recommendation
Recommendation letters should include concrete examples of intellectual strength, analytical ability, research skills, maturity, judgment, motivation, and leadership. Letters written by faculty carry the most weight since they can address your performance in an academic setting and discuss your potential success in law school. So, try your hardest to take more than one class with a professor or two; basing your success on one class alone can be difficult. The more the faculty member knows you, the better they can write about you.
How to Ask for a Letter of Recommendation
In a word: respectfully! Remember that letter writers are not obligated to help you, and being respectful of their time will help you get a better letter. Ask several months ahead of time. Ask if they are willing to write a positive, strong letter. If you sense any hesitation at all, it’s okay to move on to someone else. These letters are critical, and it’s important to have the best letters possible.
If they answer yes, ask the individual what they would like from you so you can best help them. Some may say they don’t need anything. Others may ask for your entire application. Things to consider having on hand for your letter writers:
- Personal statement
- A list of classes you’ve taken
- Thesis or thesis abstract
- A list of schools and deadlines to which you are applying
Please remember to send a thank you note and an update to each recommender. These people spent the time to help you, now it’s your turn to update them. Trust us, they’ll appreciate it!
For more information about letters of recommendations, check out our Letters of Recommendation VS References Guide.
Dean’s Certification Form
Some law schools require a Dean’s Certification Form. This provides information about academic and disciplinary issues during your undergraduate career. If this needs to be completed, it should be obvious on the individual school’s application. The information in this form should not come as a shock to schools when they receive it – any issues should have been revealed in your addendum. Please make sure to talk about this with the pre-law advisor beforehand if you have concerns. At CC, the Dean’s Certification Form is handled through the Student Life Office. Please talk with Matt Edwards to complete the form.