The ESF Pre-law Program for Seniors

Fall Semester

Many seniors put in two to three hours a night during the fall semester on the law school application process – the equivalent of a three credit class. If possible, you should lighten your course work load during the fall semester.

The LSAT is administered the first weekend in October and December of each year, but if at all possible, you should take the October test because that will ensure that law schools receive your LSAT scores by December 1 (see below). From August until the first week in October, you should prepare for the LSAT by studying two hours every night.

During this time, you should narrow your list of potential law schools to 8 to 15 schools. After taking the LSAT, you should decide on 2-3 “Long-shot,” 3-5 “Competitive,” and 3-4 “Safety,” law schools you are going to apply to. Since the number of applicants applying to law school has substantially increased for the past few years and competition for law school admission is increasing, you should not overestimate your chances of admission to particular law schools. ESF’s Pre-law advisor, Dr. Malmsheimer, can help you realistically determine your chances for admission to most law schools.

In addition to completing the application itself, law schools will require you to submit a personal statement and at least two letters of recommendation. Almost all students underestimate how long it will take to complete the personal statement and secure the letters of recommendation from their references. By October 15, you should: 1) begin to fill out your applications, 2) ask your references for a letter of recommendation, and 3) begin your personal statements.

Law schools should receive your application by December 1st – the day most law schools begin to select applicants for admission. You will substantially decrease your chances for admission to a law school if your application is received after December 1.

Tasks for Seniors during the Fall Semester:

  • If you have not done so, contact the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) and register for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT).
  • August and September, study for the LSAT.
  • August and September, narrow your list of potential law schools to 8 to 15 schools.
  • August and September, narrow your list of potential references.
  • First weekend in October, take the LSAT.
  • October and November, determine your 2-3 “Long-shot,” 3-5 “Competitive”, and 3-4 “Safety,” law schools to apply to.
  • October and November, fill out law school applications.
  • October and November, ask your references for a letter of recommendation.
  • October and November, complete your personal statements.
  • By last week in November, complete and mail all your law school applications

Spring Semester

If you have submitted your applications by December 1, you should begin to hear from law schools in February or March. After accepting you (but often before you accept a school’s offer of admission), law schools will mail you information on financial aid and other items. You should complete any forms you receive from law schools as soon as possible. You should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on the Web early in the Spring Semester.

By May 1, you must decide on where you will attend law school – the traditional deadline most law schools use for students to accept their offer of admission.

During the first week in May, students who will be attending law school in September and ESF’s Pre-law advisor, Dr. Malmsheimer, meet for dinner to discuss the first year of law school and how to prepare for your first year of law school.

Tasks for Seniors during the Spring Semester:

  1. Complete all forms students receive from law schools.
  2. January and February, complete your FAFSA.
  3. Inform ESF’s Pre-law advisor, Dr. Malmsheimer, which law schools have offered you admission and which have denied you admission.
  4. By May 1, you must decide which law school you will attend.
  5. First week in May, join ESF’s Pre-law advisor for dinner to discuss your future as a law student.

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