Monday, March 7, 2011

2011-2012 Law School Application Cycle

If you're thinking about taking the June 2011 LSAT and want some tutoring help, we have some open spots left! Today we'll outline all the steps you should be taking for the June 6 test date, as well as for the 2011-2012 application cycle.

If you haven't already done so, you should definitely be taking practice tests, using our Zen LSAT calendar to plan everything out week by week. If you're just jumping in, start with our LSAT score analysis for the two sample PrepTests (we're working as fast as we can with our web developer to get all the PrepTest data available)!

If you're still in school, work extra hard to get those As or A+s to boost your GPA. LSAT prep oftentimes consumes students for months, but remember that the two combine to make your "hard factors." Although very few law schools admit that they have cutoff ratios, can help show you the types of numbers getting in to your choices. Also, keep in mind that many schools, such as Boalt, seem to highly value GPA.

Everyone should be researching law schools and programs in which you are willing to invest three years of your life and ~$100k.  Do not apply willy-nilly to schools, as it's a huge commitment and will cost you application fees if nothing else. 
  1. Calculate your chance of admission at these schools.
  2. Develop a tiered list of "dream," "likely," and "safeties" at chance <25%, <50%, and <75%, respectively.
You should also be thinking ahead to your "soft factors," e.g. your resume and personal statement for law school. There's still plenty of time over the summer and fall to worry about them, but push yourself to find a summer internship, win an election for a student group executive board, etc, and think about what stories you can tell an admissions officer that will show how you are both ready for law school and stand out from the crowd.

Last, start thinking about who (and how many!) will write your law school letters of recommendation. Many schools have different minimum, maximum, and preferred number of letters, so be sure to read the post to start planning. Stanford and schools offering merit-based aid are notorious for favoring specialized letters, so be sure to think about all the ways to show your commitment to each school you apply to. Keeping that task manageable is another reason to develop a small but solid list of schools from the beginning of your application cycle!

Meanwhile, get your Zen on with PrepTests 31 and 32!