When investigating a school's potential financial aid, be sure to look deeper than the percentage of students receiving financial aid awards. This figure counts all students receiving aid but does not indicate the amount of those awards. Look for an average financial aid award figure.
Some schools offer loan forgiveness programs for work in public interest law or other public service programs.
It is never too early to begin exploring your desire to go to law school, your interest in law, and potential law schools to attend. The following is a suggested timetable if you are considering applying to law school for the following year.
Begin preparing for the LSAT at least three to twelve months (depending on your schedule, needs and when classes are offered) prior to taking the test.
Academic achievement in your junior year is also very important, especially if you are planning to attend law school right after graduation. Often, your junior year grades will be the most recently completed and reported at the time of your applications to law school.
Start reviewing school catalogues and Web sites. Continue to investigate the legal profession, whether by academic courses, research, interviews, shadowing, or internships.
Begin to think about whom you might ask for recommendations. Be sure to maintain and/or strengthen those relationships, while working on your networking, writing, or critical thinking skills as preparation for the application process and the LSAT.
It is recommended that juniors planning to apply in the fall for admission for the following September take the test in June when preparation is complete. Many students do take the LSAT in September/October as well.
Summer Between Junior and Senior Year
Familiarize yourself with the LSAT/LSDAS registration process, and if you have not already done so, register for both.
Develop a preliminary list of law schools that you are interested in attending. At first, do not try to limit your list too much, and make sure that at least 10-15 schools are schools in which you believe you could reasonably be accepted. Your list should include a few safety schools and a few "reach" schools, but the bulk of your schools should be those with whom your qualifications are well-matched. Order catalogues and information from them.
If you did not take the LSAT in June or plan on taking it again, prep with books, courses, online tests, or whatever method is most effective for you. Seniors who have not taken the LSAT and who want to meet early action or early decision deadlines should register for the September test.
Develop a record-keeping system to track your applications and registration.
Meet with a pre-law advisor to discuss your application plans.
Seniors who have not taken the LSAT and who want to meet early action or early decision deadlines should register for the October test.
Identify your recommendation writers, meet/correspond with them, and start collecting recommendations.
Attend any Law School Forums available in the local area. Narrow down your list. Again, although there is no strict rule on the number of law schools to which to apply, many applicants apply to between 6-12 schools, including one or two "safeties", one or two "reach" schools, and a handful of schools where they believe their qualifications are well matched. It should go without saying, but do not apply to any schools that you would not accept an offer of admission even if they were the only school to grant you acceptance. Begin writing (and rewriting) your personal statement.
Compile application packages. Deadlines vary by school, so be sure to identify each school's deadline. Also, consider applying "early decision," in which an acceptance is a commitment to attend the school, or "early action," in which an admissions decision is returned earlier but is not binding. Visit law schools if possible.
Early decision and early action application deadlines often take place in November. Even if you choose not to apply under either of these processes, many applicants try to have their applications all sent out by Thanksgiving.
Although the LSAT will be offered again in February, the December test date is generally the final opportunity to take the LSAT if you plan to meet the application deadlines for most schools. You may still be sending out applications, depending on each school's deadline.
February and early March
Application deadlines for most schools, and wait as patiently as possible for admissions decisions.
March and April
Law schools begin to notify students of admissions deadlines. Begin to weigh your options, visiting schools again if possible and meeting with your pre-law advisor(s) to discuss your plans.