So You Finished the LSAT – Now What?
May 28, 2019
So You Finished the LSAT - Now What?
After months of blood, sweat, tears, and practice tests (hopefully only the latter!), you’ve just completed the LSAT. First off, congratulations! Take a deep breath. If you've made it to this blog post, you've completed a key component of the law school admissions process. In taking the LSAT, you’ve gotten an important and time-consuming part of the rigorous law school application process over with.
If you’re still agonizing over that final logic game, it’s time to stop pondering over what you’ve got no control over, and instead refocus your energy on the remaining portions of your application. But don’t get complacent either. Now that you don’t have to study for the LSAT anymore, it can be tempting to take a break from law school applications and start binging a new TV series. The series has to wait a bit longer though, because there is still a lot left to do once you’re done taking the LSAT.
While you may not know your score just yet, the good news is that there are still a number of opportunities that you do have complete control over in the application process. You don’t want to be scurrying last minute, so it’s best to utilize any time you’re free to work on your application components. In this blog, we have provided you with the next steps after taking the LSAT so you can maximize the law school application schedule and submit all your materials on time.
Secure letters of recommendation
If you’ve been procrastinating talking to your recommenders, it’s high time to sit down with the professor you’ve been conducting research on environmental law with for the past couple of years and talk about your goals. While you’re waiting for your scores upon taking the LSAT, schedule an appointment with recommenders to discuss your law school application, and what you’re hoping for on their part.
The most important factors to remember for letters of recommendation are: meet with your potential recommender in person and early (now, if you haven’t already!), choose someone who knows you well enough to be an advocate for you, and secure more recommendations than you think you will need (this will be helpful if you decide to submit additional letters or if something goes wrong with your preferred letters).
Compile your resumé
Organizing your resumé is a great brainstorming tool for your writing samples. Though your personal statement should not rehash your resumé, it will help you remember anecdotes that might prove to be useful in your personal statement or supplemental essays. Formatting is key - this resumé should be a legal style one. The average admissions counselor will only look at your resumé for thirty seconds, so make it easy to read. Finally, check for typos (then check for them again). You do not want to go to an interview and have the interviewer immediately point out a typo on your resumé straight to your face, do you? Needless to say, your chances of admission will decrease with such errors.
Remember, the resumé is a dialogue, not a monologue. It is a conversation with your specific reader and should be designed accordingly. The resumé you used for a job last summer simply won’t cut it for your law school application. Highlight your experiences relevant to law. If your experiences don’t directly relate, that’s okay. Prioritize extracurriculars where you’ve picked up skills that will come handy in law school, such as writing, leading projects, or public speaking.
A crisp, polished resumé can go a long way in highlighting your career achievements and impressing law school admissions committees.
Get your transcripts ready
Getting your transcript at many colleges is surprisingly complicated and requires multiple business days to process. That is, if you are lucky enough to not get caught up in weeks of bureaucracy. Check what your school’s policy is and make sure that you are all set before you get lost in other parts of your application. Don’t wait until the last minute. This process can be lengthy, so take advantage of the time you have after taking the LSAT to go ahead and talk to your school registrar.
Put the final touches on your personal statement
If you’re planning to send your applications to law schools before the end of the calendar year (and you should be), your personal statement should have gone through at least a few drafts by the time you’re done taking the LSAT. Most law school personal statement prompts are open-ended, but some specifically want to learn about your goals or how the school and its resources might be a good fit for you. While all versions of your personal statement should center around the same core topic, you must edit each version according to every school’s prompt.
Remember, the personal statement is not an opportunity to reiterate your resumé. Admissions committees will already have seen your qualifications. Your personal statement should talk about an interest, experience, or part of your identity that is important to you. Law schools want to know who you are beyond your transcript and test scores. This is your chance to give them more context on your background and personality, and convince admissions committees why you should be admitted to their institution.
So, once you’re done with the LSAT, it’s time to give your personal statement another read. Ask yourself, does the essay clearly convey your story? Is the topic about you? Have you read through and checked for any careless - or serious - mistakes?
Even if your LSAT score isn’t as good as you want it to be, a well-written and captivating personal statement can help you stand out from the rest of the applicant pool. So use this time wisely to approach perfection in your writing!
Work on supplemental essays
Similar to your personal statement, if you’re planning to apply to law school sooner rather than later, start putting the final touches on your supplemental essays. Not all schools ask for these, but many of them - including most of the T-14 schools - do. You could be asked about three songs that should be played in the background while reviewing your application (Stanford), or a time you particularly excelled or were frustrated on a team (UPenn). Although these are mostly optional, they are important to submit as an added layer to your application - especially if you’re unsure about your performance after taking the LSAT. Go through multiple drafts, and edit as much as possible!
Apply for financial aid if you need it
Law school is far from a cheap enterprise, so it’s not unusual for students to apply for financial aid. The time after you’ve finished taking the LSAT is ideal to start working on financial aid paperwork as the FAFSA opens on the 1st of October. The FAFSA helps you apply for any kind of institutional aid, such as federal loans, scholarships and grants, federal work-study, and Veteran’s Educational Assistance, depending on your case and needs. There can be a lot of paperwork to go through, so give yourself an early start.
If you’re still in school, don’t lose focus
While a lot of students take gap years before law school, if you’re among the applicants who don’t, it can be hard to balance being a full-time college student alongside your applications. Don’t get buried under the law school grind and forget about your midterms and the philosophy paper you might have due two days after the LSAT. Yes, law school applications are important, but you can’t go to law school if you don’t graduate! Concentrate on classes while you wait for your scores. Find a way to maintain balance between your course load and working on your application. And, while they might be hard to squeeze into this rigorous schedule, don’t forget to eat and sleep!
Although there will be less waiting time and subsequent suspense to receive your score when the LSAT goes digital this year, you will still have time to get other application components in order once you’re done taking the LSAT. Make the most out of this period and put hours into perfecting your resumé, finishing up your essays, and ensuring your recommenders are nearly done with their letters. This way, once your LSAT score is out, you’ll be ready to put all your materials together in time for Halloween. If the period after taking the LSAT is utilized correctly, your application will have safely reached their various destinations by the time November rolls around, and you will be one step closer to the path to a JD!