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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.
  • They will consider how you made the most of your time both inside and outside of the classroom. 

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.

This timeline is oriented around a student that intends to attend law school immediately following graduation -- however, the vast majority of law school applicants are graduates with work experience. Heading to law school after working for a few years also means that you will be able to use more of your time in college build your resume and your skills. When the job market is not promising, however, more students decide to head directly to law school instead of work.

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.

For all Pre-Law students:

  • Meet one-on-one with the Pre-Law Advisor - check in at least once a semester. An email update is appreciated if you do not have time for a meeting. Attend group information sessions for your academic level (i.e. with other Freshmen, Sophpomores, Juniors and Seniors) when appropriate. 
  • Register with the Pre-Law Program and participate in publicized Pre-Law activities. Learn about the work of lawyers, what to expect in law school, opportunities now as undergraduates, and build professional skills by participating in programming.
  • Meet all kinds of lawyers at Hunter through the Pre-Law Program, through your internship experiences, and other networking. Meeting attorneys from different practice areas can help you discover interests you did not know you had. Regardless of areas of practice, meeting Hunter alumni attorneys can give you career insight and savvy tips.
  • Continue to research legal careers.


Freshman and Sophomore Years Generally

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Strategic tips for Freshman Year

  • Try to identify your "interests" which are beyond simply knowing your major, and which may or may not be directly related to your goal of attending law school. What specific issues in the world are the ones that you want to know more about and explore?
  • Think about the organizations that do work that you are interested in. It might be helpful to check out this Career Exploration Tool designed exclusively for Hunter Pre-Law & Roosevelt Scholars. Speak with the Pre-Law Advisor about opportunties that might be a good match for you.
  • Three small steps can help you jumpstart your resume. In the first year, consider one:
    • student club
    • volunteer advocacy role (note that an advocacy role will give you skills advancing the interests of others and/or working on a substantive issue) Check out tips on the Internships & Professional Development section of this website.
    • internship over the summer before sophomore year relating to advocacy, policy, governance or law
  • Consider applying for the Janette K. Watson Fellowship, which offers students three (3) consecutive summers of funded internships

Stretegic tips for Sophomore Year

  • Be sure to have a resume. Consider further developing and polishing the one you have.
  • Declare your major if you have not done so already, and lay out your academic plan to ensure on time graduation.
  • Consider participating in student government  or a student club that will build your speaking skills such as Moot Court, Mock Trial, or Model U.N. Contact information is listed on the Student Opportunities Page of this website.
  • Consider interning for credit during the semester. Use the Hunter Pre-Law Internships & Professional Development page and the Career Exploration Tool to get started on your research and networking. Get feedback from the Pre-Law Advisor. Do not default into simply applying to internships because they are posted. Speak with your department about arranging credit.
  • Check out local conferences on Eventbrite that relate to your interests. Organizers will frequently "comp" you if you offer to volunteer. Do not be shy about networking.
  • If you are public interest oriented, consider applying for JFEW Eleanor Roosevelt Scholars
  • Consider participating in a Summer PreLaw Undergraduate Plus Program. They are free and seek to reach students from groups who are underrepresented in the legal profession. They are offered at various law schools around the country.
  • Participate in the Pre-Law Summer Resume Drop and professional development sessions that are required in the spring for placement in summer internships.

No Later then 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 Thanksgiving. 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.
  • If you are not headed straight to law school, use this year to continue building your resume, your world view, and academic depth. 

Strategic Tips for Junior Year

  • Consider participating in the Hunter Moot Court class in the January session. Entry is competitive and will require an application that will be made available in the fall. The class is limited to 12.
  • Consider studying abroad for a semester or during the winter session.
  • Consider applying for the Mellon Public Humanities Scholar Program.
  • Consider applying for the Eva Kasten Grove Fellowship Program at Roosevelt House.
  • Consider applying for the PPIA Junior Summer Institute at Princeton or another associated university.
  • Start planning for capstone papers and/or your thesis. Use class assignments now to begin ground clearing for the more in depth work you want to pursue later.
  • If your career interests and academic interests coincide, capitalize on that through targeted experiences that will enhace your cachet when you apply for the next opportunity, and ultimately make your law school application stronger.

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.
  • Once you have an LSAT score and a sense of where you want to live as you make your career, 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 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
    • Reception for Law School Applicants
    • There is an application grant (awarded once students put down their seat deposits), to help offset the cost of applying. Information will go out on the listserv. Participation in the above events is required.
  • 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 no later than Thanksgiving. Apply when you are READY, but be ready early.
  • 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.

Strategic Tips for Senior Year

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