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Timeline for Law School Planning

At application time, law schools generally seek students with intellectual depth, well-developed critical thinking and writing skills, a strong work ethic, and leadership potential. Admission officers will look at your grades here at Hunter (and at other undergraduate institutions you attended), the rigor of your coursework, your LSAT score, content of your recommendations, experience reflected on your résumé and personal statement to assess your academic strength, interests, and personal qualities.

The timeline that follows is not a hard-and-fast blueprint but rather a planning tool, offered to assist you in making choices that will help you develop into a thoughtful student, and a desirable law school candidate.

While this timeline is oriented around a student that intends to attend law school immediately following graduation, realize that the majority who apply to law school do so as alumni with work experience. The application cycle starts the fall before you plan to attend, so alumni would shift their timing accordingly. As noted on the welcome page of the website, the Pre-Law Advising Office is open to current matriculated students and alumni alike - so please come visit to discuss.

Freshman and Sophomore Years

  • Select a major in a field that both interests you and allows you to excel academically.
  • Cultivate relationships with professors, lecturers, and TAs so that they will know your work well enough to serve as your recommenders in the future.
  • Meet one-on-one with the Pre-Law Advisor. Attend group information sessions with other Freshmen and Sophomores.
  • Explore career options, build your skills, and demonstate your interests by seeking jobs, internships, or volunteer positions in environments realting to law/advocacy/policy/governance.
  • Sign up for the Pre-Law Listerv and participate in publicized Pre-Law activities.
  • Take increasingly challenging courses during your academic career.
  • Read either the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times each day. Not only will this help to keep you informed, but the op-ed page is particularly good training for the reading comprehension section of the LSAT. Critical reading skills must be developed over time.
  • If a professor writes you a recommendation for an internship or other position, consider “storing” the recommendation with an on-line credentials service such as Interfolio, so the letter can be updated later.

No Later than the Summer Before Your Junior Year

  • Take a free diagnostic LSAT through a commercial test-preparation service in order to assess your “baseline” score. Begin familiarizing yourself with the format, and gauge your progress. Students often find the “Powerscore” and “LSAT Trainer” books a good place to begin self study. Steve Schwartz’s “LSAT Blog” website offers reasonably priced study schedules of varying lengths, along with downloadable exams and explanations.
  • Consider if you should take a preparatory course, either at Hunter or one offered commercially. Be sure you take the course when you have time to devote to studying. Note that studying for the LSAT is not a full time job; be sure you remain active and do not have gaps in your resume. Make the most of your summers. Hunter’s subsidized LSAT prep course begins in February with guided self study, and leads into a more intensive summer component.
  • Meet with the Pre-Law Advisor to assess your academic, extracurricular, and work experiences in relation to the application process. Use Junior year strategicly to build more experiences relating to your interests.

Junior Year

  • Engage in rigorous LSAT preparation; shoot to complete the test no later than September of your Senior year, so that your applications are complete by November 1. The test is offered multiple times each year. Take the test ONE time when you are ready. Be ready early.
  • Before the end of Spring semester: Register for the Credential Assembly Service (CAS)
  • No later than the end of Spring term and the beginning of summer: Approach professors about writing letters of recommendation for you for law school. Your professors will need you to share a special link from CAS in order to submit a recommendation on your behalf.
  • During the end of spring term or in the summer: Attend a Hunter Personal Statement & Application Workshop given by the Pre-Law Office (this is a two hour session). Afterwards, work closely with the office on your applications – all draft essays, resume, and other materials.

Summer Before Your Senior Year

  • Have a meaningful summer experience during the summer between your junior and senior year - again, exposure to advocacy/policy/law/governance are all valuable. Look for the opportunities that speak to your exploration of issues and career options.
  • Begin drafting -- and getting feedback on -- your personal statement, resume, and all related materials for your law school applications. Realize that these various pieces will need to "fit" together so you may need to go back/work on them in tandem.
  • Research Law Schools.
    • If you want to live your life in New York City and make your career here, be sure you are looking for New York "feeders" and considering schools in the NYC metro area. If you wish to make you life elsewhere, attend law school in that jurisdiction, so that you are building your professional network there. Admission to the state bars create regional anchors for legal practice.
    • Every law school lists LSAT/GPA requirements on their 509 Reports. This data is public information and is compiled in a convenient format by lawschooltransparency.com. While the schools will indeed look at every applicant "holistically," these reference points are real. The same site also comiles information on employment, debt, demographics and more.

Senior Year

  • If you have not already done so, attend a Hunter Personal Statement & Application Workshop given by the Pre-Law Office (this is a two hour session). Afterwards, work closely with the office on your applications – all draft essays, resume, and other materials.
  • Meet with the Pre-Law Advisor to help you assess the strength of your application for the schools you are considering. Follow up in a series of meetings to request critiques of your successive personal statement drafts, resume and additional essays to polish your matierals
  • Come to Hunter Admissions-related programming. This is also an opportunity for you to network with law school representatives who make a special effort to visit Hunter.
    • Admissions Panel on do's and don'ts
    • Mock Application Review
    • Session on how to make the most of the LSAC Forum (and group visit)
    • How to Pay for Law School
  • Visit the schools in which you are interested, taking special advantage of open houses and invitations to events.
  • Have transcripts from all undergraduate institutions you have attended sent to CAS if you have not yet done so.
  • Make sure your Credential Assembly Service report is correct; review the report through your online account.
  • Make arrangements to have dean’s certifications sent to schools that require them. If you need a dean's letter in connection with an undergraduate conduct or academic issue, be sure to sit down with the Pre-Law Office.
  • Attend the LSAC Forum in October to network with law school representatives, gaining additional information about schools and demonstrating your interest in your target schools. We will meet up as a group on the first day of the session.
  • Try to complete applications by November 1, but no later than Thanksgiving. Apply when you are READY, but be ready early.
  • Check with schools to make sure your files are complete.
  • If you are waitlisted, contact the Pre-Law Advisor about writing a follow-up letter to the school expressing your continued strong interest, updating transcripts, and seeking additional recommendations.
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