Law School Admissions 101
The law school admissions process is daunting. What are the steps and associated costs? Here’s a timeline (along with estimated cost) the guys recommend:
1.5-2 years before you want to start law school, start preparing for the LSAT. An LSAT prep platform like the LSAT Demon will cost you anywhere from $300-1500 for 3-4 months of LSAT prep.
Take the LSAT early enough to apply in September or October of your desired admissions cycle. This will cost $200 per administration. Plan on taking the test 2-3 times for a total of $400 ($600).
Sign up for LSAC’s Credential Assembly Service (CAS) for $195.
Apply to your desired law schools early in their admissions cycle. Usually, this is September and October 1 year before you hope to go to said schools. Each time you apply to a school you will need to pay LSAC for a Law School Report, and you may need to pay the law school any application fees they may have. The Law School Reports per school are $45 and you should apply to at least 10 schools, meaning $450 more to LSAC. When it comes to the law schools, you’ll probably end up paying $200-300 more in their fees.
Total cost? ~ $2k to $3k
That cost considers taking the LSAT multiple times and applying early and broadly. This may seem like a sizable investment, but in return, you could get over $100k in scholarships. Please apply for the LSAC fee waiver (which would greatly reduce this cost), and always ask colleges to waive their own application fee waivers.
This tab will lead you to advice on the LSAT, LSAT Writing, and admissions.
These are our latest episodes featuring admission advice!
9:49 – Diversity Statements: Who Qualifies as Diverse?
15:11 – On International Programs
32:40 – Negotiating Scholarships, Pt. 1
39:13 – Negotiating Scholarships, Pt. 2
54:27 – Three waitlist questions
8:30 – Admissions officers are offering one-on-one Zoom sessions for prospective students. If a potential applicant is interested in a school, a rep from that school will happily set up a Zoom call to discuss their application to help “make it stronger.” Nathan and Ben agree that this isn’t a bad idea—it’s always helpful to get some feedback about your application and get a better understanding of what schools are looking for. BUT—and this is a serious but—don’t do this with schools you’re actually interested in attending. Remember that admissions staffers are salespeople who are trying to get you to apply to (and pay to attend) their institutions. If you’re going to do Zoom meets with admissions staffers, make it with schools you’re not actually planning to apply to. That way, you get the experience of talking to a staffer, you get some insights about your applications, and you don’t divulge too much info to insiders at schools you’re truly interested in.
4:58 – University of Hawaii Manoa Pre-law Advice Google Sheet (fee waiver info for schools)
10:16 – Admissions Process 101
24:17 - Admissions Qs - why x essay and scholarships
3:52 – Ann Levine on The Most Competitive Admissions Cycle Ever
21:57 – Low-Ranking, High-Scholarship, vs. High-Ranking, No Scholarship
26:24 – Letters of Recommendation Waiting Game
32:37 – Sub-headings in a Personal Statement?
3:59 – Meet Kyle McEntee of Law School Transparency
The guys talk to Kyle and discuss what led Kyle to create Law School Transparency. Like so many folks in the law school game today, his experiences in law school made him want to look deeper into what and how law schools report their data and advertise their programs.
19:53 – LGBTQQIA+ Diversity Statement
04:06 – The guys discuss the new version of Ann’s book and get her opinions on going to (or not going to) law school in 2020. They talk COVID-19, deferments, LSAT-Flex, and more.
21:34 – LSAC Fee Waiver Appeal: Denied
15:30 – COVID-19 Affecting Admission Cycle?
Oscar’s had his eye on the news. And he’s seeing lots of reports flying about the new coronavirus; businesses are opening up, people are out on the streets, and the imminent danger seems to have passed, right? So now Oscar’s wondering how the evolving pandemic might affect the upcoming law school admissions cycle. The guys take a look at data available and note that LSAT test sign ups have dropped by approximately 25-35% and they make some predictions about the 2020-2021 school year as well as the admissions cycle for the 2021-2022 school year. Nathan and Ben also do some ranting about the pandemic, the political response, and whether the virus is really winding down. Nathan refers to this source.
7:07 – Protesting and Law School Admissions
Allison writes in to ask whether being arrested at a peaceful protest would have a negative effect on her legal career. Would it affect her chances of getting into law school? Would it have implications for her fitness and character review when it comes to getting admitted to the Bar? The guys agree that most admissions officers and state Bar Associations would be understanding for an arrest related to peaceful activism, but the pro tip is to just call those institutions and ask them!
44:09 – Desperate Schools, Desperate Measures, Pt. 2
As the admissions cycle drags on in the time of COVID-19, law schools everywhere are feeling the burn. Fewer applicants are making timely decisions. Many are deferring a year, in hopes of actually attending a college campus. And schools are looking into their crystal balls, proverbial sweat on their proverbial brows, and anticipating a meager application cycle in the fall as well. As they say, the jig is up. Colleges are reaching out to students and extending seat-deposit deadlines, offering more scholarship money, and leaving negotiations very open-ended. The guys read a few emails between law schools and an applicant to illustrate.
39:31 – Deciding Which Law School To Go To…
Law school admissions letters are starting to roll in. And for many folks that means a variety of offers. Some reach schools, like Harvard, are sending acceptance letters (hell yeah!), meaning you could study at an elite institution, but for hefty tuition. Other schools are sending big offers with full rides and stipends. And that’s just what is happening to G. They got into Harvard, but they’re already saddled with considerable debt from undergrad and grad school. Should they bite the bullet and go to Harvard? Or head somewhere else that won’t add to their debt load? Ben and Nathan mull it over—if you’re going into debt? Harvard, Stanford, and Yale are the three you would go into debt for. They offer G some advice, including deferring with Harvard and applying more broadly in the fall.