Tips for Applying to Law School

1. Start EARLY

Law School Admissions usually open in September and are not due until the end of November. This makes you feel like you have plenty of time to procrastinate. In reality, putting together your application can be very time consuming. Making sure your transcripts can arrive on time, for example, should not be left to the last minute. Academic references also need a good amount of notice to write their reference letters- besides you don’t want them writing a letter with the fact you procrastinated in the back of their minds. Finally, you would be surprised how long writing a 750-word personal statement can be. I started with 1500 words and cutting it down was incredibly hard. I went through several versions and got many people to look at it before submitting it. Applying to law school takes a village, so start early!

2. Do your research

I suggest not applying to law schools blindly. Do some research about schools and know what you want. Are you attracted to a certain specialty, a certain city, clinic opportunities, certain professors? Not only can knowing what you want help tailor your personal statement but applying to schools is EXPENSIVE. Apply to places you actually see yourself attending. I also found it super helpful reading law school forums. They answer questions about differences between schools and also what specific schools look for in your applications.

3. Visit your favourite teachers during office hours

As mentioned, most law schools require an academic reference or two. It’s never too early to start asking around. Start by sending your favourite teachers an email asking to meet them during their office hours. I find it much more personal to ask for a reference face-to-face. It also gives your professor an opportunity to ask questions and you can make sure they are writing the best reference possible. If you don’t have any profs you have become particularly close with, it’s not the end of the road for you! Email a professor whose class you did well in and ask for a reference in person. Also try to choose a 3rd or 4th year class. You may want to phrase it as “I was wondering if you felt comfortable writing a reference for me.” I did this with a prof and though he didn’t know me well he asked me to send him my CV so that he had plenty of “ammo” to write a good reference.

4. Have other people read your personal statement

Reading your 750-word essay over and over can make you blind to what you’re actually saying. Fresh eyes can give you new perspectives and excellent suggestions. Ask them to make changes or comments either on a physical copy or using the “comments” tools on word. This way you can decide whether or not you want to take their advice.

5. Re-read instructions before you submit

Make sure to re-read and then re-re-read the school’s instructions and expectations before submitting your application. Usually once you submit, there is no going back so get it right the first time. Take it from someone who forgot about an instruction before submitting- you won’t regret a triple check.

6. Submit early for better chances

Most law schools  practice rolling admissions- this means they accept people as applications come in. This also means that your chances of getting an acceptance are better the earlier you submit. Submitting your application November 30th means some people may have already been accepted before you’ve even been considered. This also means less spots are available if you apply near the due date.

7. Write your LSAT in September (or earlier)

Your LSAT score is an important consideration for most law schools. UBC for example accepts students 50% based on their LSAT and 50% based on their GPA. The latest you can write the LSAT and be considered for September submission is the January writing date. I suggest however writing it latest in September. The September writing usually occurs at the beginning of the month meaning you are not yet distracted by school assignments and you’ve had the summer to study. Writing in September also gives you two more chances to re-write the LSAT if you are unhappy with your score. Writing in September instead of December or January also means you can be accepted right when they receive your application. Students who write in January cannot be admitted until their LSAT score is released in February, meaning even less spots will still be available.

Applying to law school can be a stressful process but with proper time management and organization, it can be a breeze. Hopefully these tips can help you in your process. Good luck!