Pre-Law Program

Law School Application Guide

Admission into law school depends on your undergraduate or graduate grades, academic references, and performance on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). If you wish to attend law school in the fall of the year following your college graduation, you should plan to take the LSAT in June before or October during your senior year. Law schools do not encourage January admissions or transfers from other law schools. You should set aside time to take a prep course and/or do extensive preparation for the LSAT. Law schools also attempt to get a diverse class. Students with interesting extracurricular, internship, work or life experiences may attract the favorable attention of an admissions committee.

Application Checklist

Below is a checklist adapted from the Kaplan/Newsweek Law School Admissions Adviser.

Late Summer Before, or Early Fall During, Your Senior Year

  • Get a copy of the LSAT & LSDAS Information Book at your Prelaw Adviser’s Office. Registration for the LSAT and the data assembly service is now all on-line. The most recommended tests are the summer (usually June) offerings and the early fall (late September or early October) offerings.
  • Set up a conscientious study schedule to fully prepare for the LSAT. This is a two-three month 15-20 hour per week activity. In addition, you might consider taking an LSAT prep course.
  • Register with LSAC to take the LSAT, access the reference and transcript forms and the common application interface.
  • Make a list of schools you’ll be applying to and visit their websites. Visit as many law schools as you can.
    • Make a checklist and schedule for each application.
  • Send transcript request forms to all undergraduate and graduate schools you’ve attended.
  • Think about and talk to professors who you’d like to write your letters of recommendation. Give them the appropriate recommendation forms from LSAC with all of your information filled out. Give them prompts such as a transcript (can be unofficial off the web), an up to date resume or list of all of your extra curricular, volunteer and work activities, a rough draft of your personal statement and any especially good papers, exams or projects from the professors’ classes.

Early Fall of Your Senior Year

  • Attend a national LSAC law school forum to meet with admissions officers, attend workshops and collect application materials. Dates and places are on the LSAC website. They will also be posted on LAWURI. Attend the Regional Law School Admissions Officers meeting at URI, generally scheduled in late September or early October.
  • Approach your recommenders. Give them the information they need to write outstanding recommendations for you.
  • Write your personal statement.
  • Start working on your common application.

Mid-Fall of Your Senior Year

  • Be sure to check all documents for writing or factual errors or misstatements before releasing them to the law schools.
  • Check that your recommenders are working on your letters of recommendation.
  • Take the October LSAT.
  • Request financial aid application materials from the schools you’re applying to and follow the instructions carefully. Check out other financial aid options such as CLEO, the ABA and the R.I. Bar Association.
  • Get the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) application from the federal government online. You must complete the FAFSA to be eligible for federal aid and some private aid.
  • If you’ve completed your applications, send them in early. The earlier you can get your apps in the better. All required documents must be in (including recommendations and transcripts) before law schools will begin considering you for admission or financial aid. If necessary, register for the December LSAT.

Late Fall/Winter of Your Senior Year

  • Verify that your recommenders have mailed your letters of recommendation.
  • Complete all financial aid forms and mail them in.
  • Complete any remaining law school applications and transmit on-line or mail them in.
  • Attend URI Pre-Law sessions on “How to Succeed in Law School” and simulated law school class.
  • Take the December LSAT if you need to.

Spring/Summer of Your Senior Year

  • Review financial aid notices from the law schools.
  • Budget for the upcoming school year.
  • Attend any law school events for accepted students to which you’re invited.
  • Decide which law school offer to accept and send in your matriculation deposit.
  • Complete your student loan applications.
  • Attend URI Gripe and Advice session to inform next year’s law school applicants of your experiences in applying to law school.
  • Review your finances at the start of summer to be certain you’ll have sufficient resources to meet your law school expenses.