Last Minute Law School Application Advice
It’s December 28th. You’re at day three in your eggnog-induced lactose intolerance hangover. Nothing in your body feels entirely right. And now you get to work on law school applications!
By now, you’re getting to the point of panic. Not crap your pants, we’re all going to die panic, but a fluttery sort of panic- the kind you get when you’ve got a paper due tomorrow and you’re staring at a blank white page. But don’t worry: if you follow my advice here, you should be able to get your applications in before any final deadlines.
If you took the December 2010 LSAT, then you still have about a week and a half left before you get your LSAT score. Which sucks. A lot. When I took the December LSAT in 2006, I got my score on December 22nd. But that’s just further proof that I’m awesome. In your case, it just means your applications are going to be sent in a little later. In the meantime, you absolutely have to take care of a few things if you want to finalize your applications when your LSAT score comes in late next week.
First, you NEED to send in your transcripts. This means ordering one from your undergraduate institution (and any institution that is reported on your college transcript) and getting it sent to LSAC. In the best of times, this takes around two weeks, but there have been horror stories indicating that it can take as much as a month. You’re already behind the eight ball (whatever the hell that means…what if you’re hitting the other way? Isn’t it good to be behind the eight ball then?) if you haven’t yet ordered your transcript, and it’s likely that your school’s student affairs office isn’t even open this week. So, first thing on Monday, order your transcripts.
Second, send in your letters of recommendation. If you haven’t already gotten letters, then you’re in a real bind. Unless you’ve got a relationship with a professor that borders on unprofessional, and he or she is willing to write you a letter in the next three days, then you should probably start looking into finding people who can write a half decent letter and who at least recognize your name. And/or find employers/family friends/mailmen who’d be willing to write the things immediately. Letters are an important part of the application, but you’re getting into the nitty gritty time here, and you need to make sure you get your letters somewhat quickly, so now it’s time to aim for the sure things.
Third, write your personal statement. If there’s anything you can take your time on at this point, it’s the personal statement. You have a week and a half to write this if you intend to submit your application next Friday, and all you have to do is upload it from your computer onto the LSAC website (relatively painless process). Take the time to write something that is somewhat coherent. The personal statement is the most important part of your application outside of the LSAT score and your GPA.
If you’re a February LSAT taker, you should still take care of everything above before you get your LSAT score in March, but obviously you have a bit more time. However, it’s much more important that your soft factors be excellent since you will be so late in the process. Get your transcript sent in now, but take the time to get good letters of recommendation. Ask professors, and give them a few weeks to put something good together. And for your personal statement, make sure you write something that will actually catch the eye of admissions officers. By applying in March, you put yourself in a tough position, but you can really save yourself by making sure your application is really well done. And by kicking ass on the LSAT.