The Law School Admissions Timeline (Ep. 273)

Nathan Fox's headshot.

As we get late into the 2021 law school admissions cycle, a new generation of 1L hopefuls are starting to study for the LSAT to apply for the 2022 school year. But for anyone getting ready to apply to law school, the process can be daunting. The guys break down what an ideal LSAT and law school application journey looks like—which starts as much as two years before starting school. Nathan and Ben also hear some solid advice from a pre-law advisor, they discuss why you don’t need to make the LSAT your life, they advise a listener on whether to write a “why you” letter to their law schools of choice, and they respond to some criticism about assertions they’ve made on previous episodes. Plus, they tackle an LR question from LSAT prep test 65.

As always, if you like the show and you want to get more from the Thinking LSAT community, check out the links below. You can connect with other folks studying for the LSAT, and get more useful resources from Nathan and Ben.

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Important Dates

12.02.2020 – It’s the last day to register for the January LSAT

01.06.2021 – It’s the last day to register for the February LSAT

01.16.2021 – Bundle up and hunker down! It’s the January LSAT

02.20.2021 – Hearts-for-eyes for days—it’s the February LSAT

4:58 – University of Hawaii Manoa Pre-law Advice Badassery

The guys have heard some serious quackery when it comes to advice from pre-law advisors, but one anonymous listener just struck pre-law-advisor gold. Their pre-law advisor gave them a link to a Google Sheet that is a compendium of fee waiver information from a bunch of law schools. Head to the link and search for a school you’re curious about, and you can find their policy—as listed on their respective websites—regarding LSAC and other application fee waivers. Anon also shares a success story about getting fee waivers (and moolah back as a result) from LSAC.

Check out the University of Hawaii Manoa Fee Waiver Info

10:16 – Admissions Process 101

Red is lined up to be the first person in her family to go to law school, and it’s kind of a daunting process. She asks the guys to break down the steps and associated costs with applying to law school. 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.

That’s between $2k-3k to get your best LSAT score and apply early and broadly. It may seem like a sizeable investment, but it could mean over $100k in scholarships as a result. The guys recommend that Red apply for the LSAC fee waiver (which would greatly reduce this cost), and to always ask colleges to waive their own application fee waivers.

24:17 - Admissions Qs - why x and scholarships

By listening to the Thinking LSAT podcast, Anonymous jumped from a 157 to a 171 on the LSAT, which is amazing progress. Congrats, Anon! Their high score is made even sweeter by the fact that they have a 3.97 GPA. As they’re applying to schools, Anonymous wants to know if there’s ever a need to write a “Why You” letter to a law school, unsolicited. Ben and Nathan lean “no” here, but share some exceptions to the rule. One instance may be when you follow up your application with a letter of continued interest.

34:51 – Thinking LSAT Research Chops Called Into Question

Jamie’s been listening to the show for long enough to hear the guys talk about how Harvard, Stanford, and Yale rarely—or never—give out merit-based scholarships. He’s also heard them say that applying late in the cycle means you’re at a disadvantage when it comes to scholarship awards. But Jamie’s heard otherwise. He’s heard that the top schools do give scholarships, and that elite schools will award scholarships “late” into the admissions cycle. The guys concede that there always outliers and anecdotes that fall outside the norm, but they also clear some things up that Jamie may have misunderstood.

42:04 – Hills To Die On

It’s your (sometimes) weekly segment, Hills To Die On. In this segment, the guys talk about some “unconventional” advice that they will go to the mat for—no matter what. In this episode, the guys talk about the perception that to make LSAT your bitch, you need to make it your life by studying for hours on end every day. The guys absolutely disagree. Give the LSAT your best hour or ninety minutes each day, and you stand to improve way more than if you throw yourself at the test. If you study all day every day, you’ll get burnt out, and you won’t give yourself the proper time to rest and let your learnings sink in. Ben also discusses how notifications and pesky pets can really disrupt the quality of your study.

50:30 – Praise The Demon!

Ryan is a longtime listener and Demon subscriber. After listening to the podcast and studying with the Demon, he scored a 172 on an official test, which is pretty sweet. But once Ryan got a taste of victory, he wondered if he could push his score further. Because the test is learnable, Ryan bet on himself. He jumped into the Demon again and ended up with a 179 on record in the fall. Ryan writes in to share the aspects of the Thinking LSAT and LSAT Demon philosophy that helped him achieve a near-perfect score.

54:22 – LR Question 12, Section 4, PT 65

The guys dive into another LR question from prep test 65. This time? It’s all about jazz! The guys walk step by step through this Role question and share how they would approach the question in a testing environment.