When to Begin
It takes considerable planning and effort to prepare a law school application. You should begin in the spring of your junior year if you want to enter law school the fall after you graduate. The process of studying for the LSAT and preparing your application materials is very time consuming. Don't underestimate the effort it will take. For guidance about the various steps in the application process, you can consult any of the numerous "how-to" books available at bookstores.
When to Finish
Deadlines for submitting applications vary from law school to law school - be sure to contact the law schools to which you are applying to find out their deadlines. Almost everyone advises that you have a better chance of admission if you apply as early as possible in the fall semester of your senior year, before law schools are deluged with applications in December. Most students receive admissions decisions from law schools by some time in April of their senior year.
Requirements for Admission
Every law school has its own admission requirements - be sure to contact the law schools to which you are applying to find out what these requirements are. Be sure to follow each law school's application instructions to the letter.
Typically, law schools will require you to submit:
- Your score on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT),
- Your transcript,
- One or more application essays, and
- Two or three letters of recommendation, which should all come from Tech professors in most cases.
Taking the LSAT and Submitting Application Materials
Some students prepare for the LSAT by studying on their own or with other students. There are many "how-to" books available in bookstores for use by students who choose to study on their own or in groups. Some students take an LSAT "prep" course. Kaplan, Princeton, and TestMasters offer these courses in the Atlanta area. Some of the advantages and disadvantages of enrolling in commercial courses are discussed in our Law School Frequently Asked Questions.
The LSAT is administered by the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) (http://www.lsac.org). Information about the LSAT is available at the LSAC website. We recommend that students take the LSAT in June after completion of their junior year if they plan to start law school immediately upon graduation. However, many students take the exam in October of their senior year. We advise against taking the exam in December of your senior year because it's a bit late in the admissions cycle. Law schools will consider your application, but the delay may weigh against you in the decision-making process. Likewise, we advise against taking the exam in February of your senior year because the delay may weigh even more heavily against you.
You should try to do your very best the first time you take the LSAT. If you take the LSAT twice, many law schools will take the higher score, but others will average the two scores.
Most students also subscribe to the Credential Assembly Service (CAS) that is run by the LSAC. CAS serves as a clearinghouse for your transcripts and letters of recommendation: you send these items to CAS and CAS forwards them to all the law schools to which you apply. If you do not subscribe to CAS, you must submit your materials individually to each law school where you want to apply according to its instructions.
You can register for the CAS at www.lsac.org/jd/apply/cas.asp. We also recommend that you review the LSAC web site for important information about the LSAT and the law school application process.
Your Tech GPA and Your Law School Application
Many Tech students worry about how their GPA will be viewed by law school admissions officers. See our FAQ for further information on this issue.
A Note on Dean's Certification Forms
A few law schools require you to have Dean's Certification Forms filled out by an official at your undergraduate institution. At Georgia Tech, these forms are filled out at the Dean of Students Office.