Fall 2015 Wind-Down - Mid-Season Advice for Current Applicants

This is it—last week of classes for Fall 2015! The end is near! For those of you about to graduate, congratulations!! You made it!!

But for the current-year law school applicants, the end is not so near. Sorry. Whether you applied early and are already hearing back from schools, are about to hit submit any second now, or are waiting for your December LSAT score to apply, you’ve still got a lot of the process still ahead. Some guidance:

1. For now, focus on your final exams and papers. If you’re still in college and applying to law school, you need to focus on finishing up the semester successfully first. You will be sending in your Fall 2015 transcript, and these grades do count. Don’t let them dip down now!

2. If you haven’t spoken to recommenders, this may be your last chance until late January. Remember—it’s the end-of-term for professors too. If you haven’t spoken to your recommenders yet, don’t be surprised if they tell you they can’t complete a letter before the holidays. Also, many faculty are away and/or unavailable during the month between terms. Talk to them now, acknowledge the lateness of your request, and be patient with their deadlines (which may be later than what you hoped).

3. The December LSAT score won’t come out until the first week of January. LSAC will be closed the entire last week of December (although the website is still accessible). For those of you who didn’t take the December LSAT, that means you want to complete your applications before that time.  For those of you waiting for your December scores, you want to be ready to submit as soon as the scores are released in January.

4. Your pre-law advisor is available throughout most of the break. I’ll have regular office hours through the end of finals. After that, I’ll be available via email, and can meet (in person or on the phone) by appointment only. I’ll be unavailable from December 23rd through January 3rd, with the office reopening January 4th. From the 4th through the 15th, I’ll be available by appointment only, and then new Spring 2016 office hours will begin when classes start, the week of January 19th.

5. If you have applied already and are still waiting to hear from some or all schools, that’s normal! It bears repeating: the time between application and decision is unpredictable, and has no bearing on what the eventual decision is—for admission or scholarships. Remember that law schools should not require a commitment from you before April 1st, which means they may take that long (or longer) to give you a decision. You should not make a decision about which school to attend until you have all the information you need to compare offers, scholarships, and net costs. You should also plan to visit every school you’re seriously considering. The waiting truly is the hardest part, but make good use of your time by gathering as much information as possible to make a well-considered decision. Look for workshops on financial aid, scholarships, and deciding where to attend in the Spring.

6. Don’t forget your FAFSA and other financial aid application materials. You’ll want to complete these as soon as possible in January—once you (and possibly your parents) have done your taxes.