Timeline for Applying to Law School
The following timeline will help you plan ahead and meet deadlines as you apply for law school. Keep in mind that dates and deadlines vary depending on programs and schools.
January before application year
- Create your LSAC Online Services account
- Read the Law School Admission Council’s LSAT & LSDAS Information Book.
- If you plan to take the June LSAT (recommended), begin preparing for the LSAT:
- Take the sample test on a timed basis.
- Order additional practice materials from LSAC or purchase supplemental guides from other vendors.
- Consider whether you want to take a preparatory course.
- Allow approximately 3-6 months time to study for the LSAT.
May before application year
- Register for the Law School Data Assembly Service (LSDAS) (via your LSAC Online Services account)
- Register for the June LSAT or begin studying for the September/October LSAT (see preparation suggestions above)
June before application year
- Take the LSAT; or, begin studying for the late September/early October LSAT.
- Approximately three weeks after you take the LSAT, the cas will e-mail your LSAT report to you, indicating your current test results and the results of any previous tests for which you registered in the last five years.
- View the Official Guide to ABA-Approved Law Schools. Identify schools that meet your specialty criteria, read their literature/review their websites, and begin reviewing their applications.
August before application year
- If you have not already taken the LSAT, register online for the late September/early October LSAT. Continue to study!
- Begin thinking about your personal statement. Review selected school’s applications to get a sense of what questions you will be prompted to answer.
September/October of application year
- Order a transcript from the Vassar Registrar and from all other undergraduate or graduate schools you may have attended. Have all transcripts sent to LSDAS using the online forms. Refer to LSAC’s Requesting Transcripts for more information.
- Attend on-campus law school informational meetings and fairs. Consider attending the Law School Forums sponsored by LSAC.
- Check each application and determine what references are required. Law schools require a dean’s form (college questionnaire or certification). Determine if you must provide a dean’s form for each educational institution attended (undergraduate and graduate) or from your degree-granting undergraduate institution only. The Dean of Studies will complete this form.
- Review the Letters of Reference section in the LSAT and LSDAS Information Book or online at LSAT’s Letters of Recommendation page to learn your options regarding general and/or school-specific letters.
- Work on your applications and essays; request references, and give recommenders guidelines for writing law school references. Allow your recommenders ample time to complete their evaluations by the deadline.
- Complete and submit applications by mid-October. Those who took the June LSAT should be able to submit even earlier. Many schools have rolling admissions and it is always better to apply early.
- Check the status of your LSDAS file online to be sure that all of your undergraduate transcripts have been received and the LSDAS summary has been completed. Check the biographical and academic information carefully and report any inaccuracies to the LSDAS.
- If you were unable to take the late September/early October LSAT, register for the December exam. Note that the time between the October and the December test administrations probably will not permit you to receive October scores before December registration deadlines. If you have to wait for December test scores to select your schools, note carefully the application deadlines.
November/December of application year
- Many law schools send acknowledgments when your file is complete. If you have not received an acknowledgment within nine or ten weeks from the time the application should have been received, inquire about its status and follow up on any problems.
January of application year
- Undergraduates should send fall semester grades to the LSDAS. If your file is active, LSDAS will send an updated report to the law schools (see LSAT & LSDAS Information Book).
February–April of application year
- Acceptances and rejections begin to arrive, although some schools with rolling admissions will notify you of your status earlier. When you begin to receive your decisions, please make an appointment with your pre-law advisor for assistance in the selection process.
Keep in mind, when the law school application process coincides with senior year, students often don’t anticipate how time-consuming the process will be. Keeping up with the demands of academic work and a thesis should be the first priority for all students. Vassar has an excellent track record for law school admissions and every year more than 100 candidates seek admission. The vast majority of those candidates are alums. So whether you decide to attend law school immediately following graduation, or at a future date, career services, and pre-law advisement will continue to be available to you. Vassar for a lifetime!