Applying to Law School (Real Advice from an Incoming Law Student) was written by Caroline Hood.
Caroline is an incoming first-year law student at the University of Kentucky. She is from Cleveland, TN. She is interested in constitutional, criminal, and health law. Connect with her on Instagram by clicking here or @c_hoodlaw.
I recently applied and got into several law schools and here are a couple of things that I have learned.
It is ok to Fail
This idea of failing is what kept me from trying to be a lawyer earlier. I was so afraid that I would be terrible at the LSAT. That I would score so low and that no amount of practice would improve my score. However, after I graduated with my M.A. in Rhetoric, I took a leap of faith and signed up for an LSAT prep course. The course was over three months, and I attempted a multitude of questions in that time. Sometimes I would get one question out of thirteen right on a certain set. Other times I got 12/13. It depended on what kind of questions I was better at.
Do not become discouraged. Practice does make you better, and I began to miss less and less. This material is often so different from anything you have studied in the past. I know as an English major I had never seen anything like a logic game before and picking the right answer to an argument question was often difficult. However, what helped me is that I gave myself permission to be bad and hoped that with study I could improve.
As a side note. I did enjoy taking a prep course. I would have been overwhelmed if I had attempted to study by myself. However, I know this is not an option for everyone.
Apply to Law School Early
Spots start filling up early. Although for people applying later I do want to give you hope. I applied in March of my cycle and got into four schools with scholarships from all of them.
Related: 6 Easy Tips for Law School Success
Save Money because Applying to Law School is Expensive
So, as someone with parents who are in the medical field, I had no idea what I was getting into. However, I soon realized that everything costs money. You have to purchase the CAS system so that you can operate the LSAC system. You have to pay to register for the LSAT. It costs money to apply to schools. You must pay LSAC to send your application to the school and pay the school to apply to them.
Interestingly enough, you can apply for waivers through LSAC that can take care of some of the cost for registering for tests and the CAS system. So, I would look into that. I was not aware of it and wished I had been. Also, some schools will have waivers for at least their part of the application process if not their part and the LSAC portion.
Apply for Accommodations
If you are someone who would benefit from accommodations, do not be afraid to apply. You can get things like double time or more breaks during the exam. However, there are deadlines that you must get paperwork submitted by so make sure to stay on top of it.
However, if you are someone with anxiety and you think that having that extra time will help you, you should definitely look into it. Also, as of now, you do not have to reapply when you take another test. The one-time application is transferred to all the future LSATs.
It is ok to Take a Gap Year
I did not know how common it was to take a gap year when I was first starting to apply. It seems that quite a lot of people choose this option. It can allow you to make more connections and build your resume. It also lets you study for the LSAT longer and improve your score. However, this does mean that you will be starting school later, so you have to choose what is best for you.
Be Diligent about Your Time
When you apply to law school, you will need transcripts, recommendation letters, a personal statement, and most likely a resume. These all take time to collect or write. Make sure that you start the law process with plenty of time, so that you can give each piece the time it needs. Also, it can take LSAC time to process transcripts or letters of recommendation, so if you are applying close to a school’s deadline make sure to account for that extra time needed.
Related: 5 tips for 1L Success
Be Aware of LSAT Deadlines
The LSAT is not forgiving when it comes to signing up for exams. If the deadline is October 1st at midnight then that is when they stop accepting registrations. If you need to take a test in November to apply on time for your school and you miss the LSAT deadline, you will have to apply to that school later.
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