Law School Applications: The Basics

law school applications
How comfortable are you with applications? Do you feel confident about the process, or do you get overwhelmed by the amount of paperwork? Let’s take it from the beginning. Here are the basics of law school applications to get you going. For a more detailed overview of the process, check out our complete guide to getting into law school!

Important Note about Law School Applications

Before you read about the basics of law school applications, let’s talk about the most basic rule. Never, ever lie on your application. When you submit, you will have to promise that your application is factually correct. Don’t risk your entire career by fudging the truth!

Basic Application Checklist

Each law school’s application might ask different questions. For example the University of Miami Law School may look for a different student than Stanford Law School. So, their applications may ask slightly different questions. But across the law schools, there are six main elements:

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  1. Application
  2. Personal Statement (and optional Diversity Statement)
  3. 2+ Recommendation Letters
  4. Resume
  5. LSAT Score
  6. Transcripts through the LSAC Credential Assembly Service Report

What to Expect on the Application

If your target schools’ applications haven’t opened yet, take a look at the general questions you might expect. They will most likely ask questions about:

  1. Your Biographical Information
  2. This section will ask questions such as what your name is, your date and place of birth, social security number, languages spoken, and citizenship. They will probably also ask questions about your family/parents. And of course, they’ll need your contact information.

  3. Race and Ethnicity/Sexual Orientation/Gender
  4. If you choose, you can list information about your race and ethnicity. You might also be given space to discuss your sexual orientation and/or gender.

  5. Education
  6. You will likely have to list all institutions you’ve attended.

  7. Miscellaneous Program Questions
  8. Law school applications may ask questions about your in-state tuition eligibility, and when you aim to start the program (if there is a summer option). You can also indicate you’re applying early decision or if you’re deferring attendance (to actually begin your first year later). They’ll also ask for information about your recommenders. Finally, if it’s offered at that school, they will ask if you’re applying to a dual-degree program.

  9. LSAT Plans
  10. Finally, law schools will ask whether you have taken the LSAT in the past, what your score was, and whether you plan to re-take.

Do Your Best to Apply Earlier Than Later

All in all, it’s best not to delay completing and submitting your application. Of course, you don’t want to rush it. Do your best to prepare for the LSAT, write your personal statement, and complete the application. But, the sooner you can finish, the better! Applications are generally reviewed as they are completed. If you and a similar applicant both apply, but you’re first, you have the advantage of being considered and possibly accepted for a spot before it’s taken. And remember, if you find out that you’re waitlisted at a particular law school, you can write a letter of continued interest and still be considered for admissions. Now that you have the basics of law school applications, you’re on your way to earning your J.D.!

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  • Deborah

    Deborah earned her undergraduate degree from Brown University in 2010 and MBA from Salve Regina University. She scored in the 96th percentile on the LSAT and loves finding better ways to understand logic and solid arguments. When she’s not teaching, she enjoys volunteering, reading adventure fiction, and adding tech skills to her toolbox.

2 Responses to Law School Applications: The Basics

  1. jaz September 6, 2019 at 7:28 AM #

    If I took the LSAT 3 times but my most recent take was my highest score, on an individual school’s application in the Standardized Testing section do I have to report all 3 or can I just include the one? I know LSAC is going to send them all 3 anyway so I don’t know if it matters. Real big discrepancy between my highest score and my second retake (I plan on including an addendum explaining why that take shouldn’t be considered–my watch broke and the clock broke so I panicked. Talking a 173 v. a 162 here.)

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert February 7, 2020 at 3:41 PM #

      Hi Jaz,

      I recommend contacting the school directly to ask for more information. They can provide you with the best answer to this question, and I don’t want to unknowingly steer you wrong!

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