Liberal Arts Career Services
Liberal Arts Career Services

Law School Planning

Law School Application Components Cost of Law School Applications
Law School Application Timeline

Law School Application Components

Law schools will have similar application components with different criteria. For each law school that you intend to apply to, you should carefully research their specific application instructions and requirements. On average, applicants apply to 7-9 law schools. 

A law school application generally consists of the following components:

Preparing law school applications requires substantial time and money. Look below for application timeline suggestions and a summary of anticipated costs associated with applying to law school.   

Law School Admissions Test (LSAT)

The LSAT is a standardized exam required for law school admissions.  Offered four times per year (February, June, September/October and December), the LSAT consists of five 35 min. sections of multiple choice questions measuring reading comprehension, analytical reasoning, and logical reasoning along with a 35 min. writing sample. Although unscored, the writing samples are forwarded to law schools for review.

An applicant typically takes the LSAT in June of their application year (or September/October as an alternate date). Plan to prepare for the LSAT several months in advance. Consult the LSAC Official Guide to ABA-Approved Law Schools to determine the target LSAT scores for schools of interest.

Transcript(s)

Law school admissions requires official transcripts from every higher education institution attended.  Applicants are responsible for sending transcripts from every U.S. school where they have received college credit, including dual enrollment during high school, summer school at a community college as well as study abroad programs if you attended the foreign university for a year or longer. LSAC will calculate a cumulative GPA based on all of your undergraduate coursework, not just your time at UT Austin. Consult the LSAC Credential Assembly Services (CAS) website for instructions on how to request transcripts. 

Resume

A resume included in law school applications differs from a resume submitted to a prospective employer. Because law schools prefer well-rounded applicants, students should submit a resume that highlights their education, academic accomplishments, professional experiences, leadership, community service, and extracurricular activities. Students are strongly encouraged to meet with the Law School Admissions Coach to ensure that their resume effectively conveys their strengths. 

Letters of Recommendation

Students applying to law school during their senior year (and recent college graduates) should plan to submit 2-3 letters of recommendation from faculty to the LSAC Credential Assembly Service (CAS). Letters should speak to applicant’s academic performance, intellectual promise, creative abilities, maturity, writing and research skills, communication skills, etc. Applicants should provide recommenders with adequate time to prepare the letters well in advance of application deadlines. Ideally professors will write both your letters of recommendation, however, internship supervisors who can speak to an applicant’s leadership ability, professionalism, work ethic, and/or personal character are also acceptable. Consult LSAC’s CAS website for more details on how to submit your letters of recommendation. 

Personal Statement

A personal statement should be customized based on each law school's application’s specifications. Most personal statements are 2-3 pages long (double-spaced). All other components being equal, a well-written personal statement can differentiate you from other similarly situated candidates. Before writing the personal statement, applicants should think carefully about what they would like the admissions committee to know about them by reflecting on their values and motivations and address any other relevant information that may not already be reflected in their resume, undergraduate record or optional addendum or essays. As the personal statement is a writing sample, it should not contain any typos or grammar and punctuation errors. Applicants are strongly encouraged to consult with the Law School Admissions Coach to discuss potential topics. The Law School Admissions Coach may review up to 3 personal statement drafts for an applicant.

Optional Essays, Supplemental Responses and/or Addendums

Many law school applications may offer students the opportunity to provide supplemental responses, including a diversity statement, prompted responses for specific or optional questions, or an addendum to address an area of concern or discrepancy in the application that requires additional explanation (ex. GPA, LSAT score, character and fitness issue). Applicants are encouraged to meet with the Law School Admissions Coach to discuss how to address potential concerns with their law school application.

Timeline

Most law schools open their application process in early September. Early admission deadlines are typically in November (dates will vary by law school) with regular admission deadlines in January, Februrary, or even later (dates will vary by law school). Since applicants are typically admitted on a rolling basis, it is best to to apply in advance of the stated deadline. 

Ideally, an applicant will take the LSAT exam administered in June or September/October of their application year.

Costs

Law school requires a significant investment of time and financial resources (average law school debt is between $84,000 - $122,000). Before even starting law school, here are some of the anticipated costs associated with applying to law school:

  • LSAT exam fee
  • Transcript fee
  • CAS fee
  • CAS report fee ($30 for each law school you apply to)
  • Application fees (varies by law school)
  • LSAT prep course (varies by company)
  • Professional attire
  • Costs associated with visiting prospective law schools (travel, hotel, food)
  • Seat deposits (varies by law school)
  • Enrollment deposit (varies by law school)
  • Moving expenses (security deposit, new supplies, travel)

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