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Timeline

This is the suggested timeline for students planning to attend law school directly after graduation. More than 75% of incoming law students do not take this path. Students should adjust this to fit their own situations.

Freshman and sophomore years

During the freshman and sophomore years, students should be focused on ensuring they are in the right academic major and begin committing to interests outside the classroom. This period is for building an academic foundation. Schools want to see a commitment to activities and growth over time.

This is when students should:

  • Select a major that fits their interests, skills, and abilities and begin to excel academically.
  • Attend a prelaw event or workshop.
  • Visit the American Bar Association page for prelaw students and review the information and skills.
  • Start meeting faculty, teaching assistants, or advisors. (Law schools request, and often require, letters of recommendation from those who can attest to the applicant's academic work.)
  • Focus on academics rather than other activities, because the academic record will be reviewed thoroughly by law schools.
  • Consider joining a campus club or organization. Arizona State University OrgSync is a database of the more than 600 registered student organizations and is a good place to start.

Begin thinking about opportunities to build their resume: study abroad, internships, research, service projects, and more.

Junior year

During the junior year, students will want to start prepping for law school applications and begin learning about and studying for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). The LSAT is offered multiple times per year and the testing year starts in June, making winter break an optimal time to take a practice exam and begin outlining a study schedule.

This is when students should:

  • Attend the Law School Fair, featuring more than 100 law school representatives, during fall semester.
  • Take challenging courses; focus on upper-division coursework.
  • Take a practice LSAT:
    • Learn about the structure and strategy for the exam.
    • Develop an LSAT study strategy which may include self-study, online coursework, an in-person course, or even tutoring.
    • Determine when they will sit for the LSAT (summer or fall of senior year are most common).
  • Attend a workshop about applying to law school.
  • Begin requesting letters of recommendation from professors, employers, or other people who can attest to their academic work.

Make an appointment with prelaw advising to discuss their interest in law school and to answer questions about the application process.

Summer

The summer before senior year is a great time to gather credentials and begin preparing the application materials.

This is when students should:

  • Register and sit for the LSAT.
  • Subscribe to LSAC’s Credential Assembly Service, which is required and has a fee.
  • Order an official transcript from the Registrar’s Office and send it to LSAC.
  • Prepare or update their resume for law school applications.
    • Begin writing a personal statement (prelaw advising can review a draft).
  • Research law schools and strategy for completing applications.
    • Consider creating an excel file with information pertaining to each school to keep track of each schools’ information, requirements, and deadlines.

Senior year

Fall of senior year

Students should plan to submit the application in late August or early September, when the application period typically opens.

This is when students should:

  • Check their LSAC account to ensure transcripts and letters of recommendation were received and follow up on any that are outstanding.
  • Take or retake the LSAT.
  • Prepare the law school applications, including optional essays.
    • Most schools review applications on a rolling basis, so students should apply as soon as their application is ready.
    • Aim to submit applications between Halloween and Thanksgiving.
    • All law school application materials are accessed and submitted through the student's LSAC account.
  • Make an appointment with a prelaw advisor to discuss law schools and application strategy, have the personal statement reviewed, and have questions answered.
  • Attend the Law School Fair to talk to admission representatives about schools of interest (and make a good impression).
  • Obtain a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), available in October, and complete it as soon as possible.

Spring of senior year

Schools vary on when they notify applicants of acceptance decisions; some schools contact students within days and others provide decisions months later. Students still waiting on decisions in January should update their transcripts by sending them to LSAC through their MyASU account.

Spring of the student's senior year is when students should review offers, visit schools and submit a deposit to the law school they plan to attend in the fall.

This is when students should:

  • Plan to attend dedicated Admitted Students Day, offered by many schools, to get a feel for the school and see if it will be a good fit and to meet fellow admitted students.
  • Review scholarship, grant, and financial aid packages.
    • Some schools will reconsider aid offers; students may check with each individual school to determine their process.
  • Pay attention to deposit deadlines, and if a nonrefundable deposit deadline is approaching for one school yet a response is still forthcoming from another, ask about the possibility of extending the deadline.
  • Provide a letter expressing continued interest in remaining on a school's waitlist (if the school accepts these).
  • Send a final, official transcript to the law school selected or to any school for which the student is still waitlisted.

Report the decision and acceptance to the prelaw advisor.