The new LSAT calendar year — which, for some reason, extends from June of one year to May of the following year — is officially underway. This new LSAT year heralds a new law school application cycle. As we are wont to do at the beginning of any new year, let’s talk about goals for this new application cycle.
If you are reading this post, then one of these goals is likely to be related to gaining admission to the law school of your dreams.
Notice that we said “law school of your dreams” as opposed to just any law school. As Muhammad Ali so eloquently put it, “If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough.”
If our founder had told people that his dream was to attend Harvard Law School after scoring in the 140s on his first practice LSAT, he would have been laughed out of the room.
Now, his journey wasn’t easy, and unless you're an LSAT natural, yours won't be either. But if it were easy, everyone would do it and where’s the fun it that?
The key to turning your dream law school goal into reality is to put yourself in a position to maximize your LSAT score — the number one factor in law school admissions.
How do you put yourself in such a position?
There are two guiding principles:
- Approach your LSAT prep the right way.
- Put in the time.
Both of these principles are a direct result of the nature of the LSAT beast. The LSAT is unlike any standardized test you have ever encountered. Instead of asking you to memorize and regurgitate material, the LSAT is going to ask you to change the way you think.
With these two principles in mind, let’s review your step-by-step guide to accomplish your goal of gaining admission to your dream law school in 2017:
1. Take the LSAT This Year
Ideally, you want to hit your target LSAT score on one of the many LSATs held this year, giving yourself enough time to work on your law school applications. The reason for this is rolling admissions, which we will discuss in more detail when we get to step 5.
Ideally, you’ll want to take the LSAT in September or earlier. If you can get your LSAT score and all your materials in order by September, you'll be able to apply very early in the upcoming law school cycle, perhaps even taking advantage of your top choice's early admissions option. You'll also have the chance to retake the LSAT, if necessary, without worrying about applying late in the application cycle.
But ultimately, the most important thing to consider is whether you feel prepared to take the test and earn your target score. And you should take the time you need to achieve that level of confidence. That doesn't mean you have earn your target score on practice tests when you sign up for the LSAT. But you should feel optimistic that you can start earning that score within the six weeks between the sign-up deadline and the actual test.
2. Start Your LSAT Prep Immediately
Given step 1, it is imperative that you start your LSAT prep as early in this new LSAT year as possible.
It is important to realize that LSAT prep is a two-step process:
- Learn the strategies
- Practice! Practice! Practice!
Too many students ignore the importance of the second step in the process and sign up for LSAT prep courses that finish right before their target LSAT. Your LSAT course is only the first step — it will lay the foundation in terms of proper strategy and approach.
But the vast majority of any student’s improvement on the LSAT comes from the second step of the process, which is taking what you have learned and practicing under time pressure on as many real practice LSATs as possible.
This reality is precisely why LSATMax offers students instant access to every LSAT practice exam in flexible packages that meet any student's needs.
To give you a better idea of this recommended approach to your LSAT prep, you can find our recommended study schedule for the June 2017 LSAT here.
3. Spend Time on Your Personal Statement
While law school admissions is primarily a numbers game, do not underestimate the importance of your personal statement.
It is your one opportunity to show the admissions committee the person behind the LSAT score and GPA so it could be the deciding factor when an admissions committee is deciding between students with similar numbers.
Looking for some more guidance here? Sign up for a consult with our admissions counselors.
4. Line Up Your Letters of Recommendation
While you still have plenty of time, it is a good idea to start thinking about your letters of recommendation now as well — particularly if you have not built meaningful relationships with the people you are planning to ask.
The key is to get recommendations from people who actually know you. Do not waste your precious recommendations on someone who will write a generic letter of recommendation. The admissions committee will see right through these.
Here is some additional advice on how to get the best letters of recommendation for law school.
5. Apply to Law School As Soon As You Can
The reason for all of the above is an attempt to have your law school applications submitted on as soon as possible after applications open.
Law school admissions are offered on a rolling basis. This means that law schools will evaluate applications as they are received versus waiting to evaluate all applications after the application deadline has passed.
This means that the sooner you apply, the better your chances because the law school will still have its entire incoming class to fill and you will not be compared to students who have already been offered admission.
Later on in the application cycle, offers of admission will have already been made and accepted, so you will be competing for fewer seats.
That said, if it comes down to applying earlier with a lower LSAT score or applying later with a higher LSAT score, always choose the latter.
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And there you have it! Follow these five steps and your dream of attending law school will soon be a reality.
If you have any questions as you embark on your law school journey please feel free to contact us directly. You can contact us online anytime or give us a call at 310-935-1704 Monday-Friday from 9 am to 6 pm PT.