Four Year Timeline

Timeline for Students Considering Law School


 FIRST AND SOPHOMORE YEARS

  • Select a major in a field that interests you and in which you can excel academically.  Focus on academics!  Creating a strong academic record is critical to admission to law school.
  • Begin to form relationships with professors so that they will know your work well enough to write a recommendation letter for you.
  • Don’t shy away from classes that encourage a great deal of writing and analysis; these are skills that are absolutely necessary for success in law school.
  • Participate in at least one or two activities beyond your studies. These activities can INCLUDE a part-time job, athletics, student clubs or community work and volunteering. Law admissions officers understand that it can be difficult to pursue both work and extracurricular activities. If you need to work part-time, focus on that. Your extracurricular activities will not make up for classroom success so don’t spread yourself too thin.
  • Sign up for a BCDC-sponsored job shadow through the Career Discovery in Practice (CDIP) program. Details announced on Handshake in September.
  • Stay up to date on opportunities offered. Join the prelaw listserv.  Subscribe by emailing prelaw@lists.bates.edu
  • Attend Bates, Bowdoin, Colby Law Day on Friday, Sept. 30 from 2-5 pm at the University of Maine School of Law in Portland. Transportation provided. See News and Upcoming Events for info.
  • Attend the Grad School & Professional Fair on October 4 from 11 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. in Gray Cage and meet law school admission representatives.
  • Attend the BCDC law school information meeting on Monday, October 3 at 8 pm. Room TBA.

JUNIOR YEAR

  • Take upper-level courses in departments outside of your major.
  • Participate in BCDC-sponsored presentations and workshops.
  • Visit a law school while students are on campus.
  • Schedule a preliminary conference with Nancy Gibson to discuss your plans for test preparation and application schedule.
  • Attend Bates, Bowdoin, Colby Law Day on Friday, Sept. 30 from 2-5 pm at the University of Maine School of Law in Portland. Transportation provided. See News and Upcoming Events for info.
  • Attend the Grad School & Professional Fair on October 4 from 11 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. in Gray Cage and meet law school admission representatives.
  • Attend the BCDC law school information meeting on Monday, October 3 at 8 pm. Room TBA.
  • Develop an LSAT preparation strategy including dedicated study time and practice exams. Ideally, you should have 2 – 4 months to prepare.
  • Speak with those whom you would like to write recommendations and/or evaluations; provide recommenders with sufficient information to write detailed letters.

SUMMER BEFORE SENIOR YEAR

  • Prepare a resume.  This will be helpful to recommendation writers and will be useful in organizing application answers and essays and should be included with your application.
  • Prepare a draft of your personal statement and ask Nancy Gibson to review it.
  • If you intend to apply for financial aid, obtain your credit report from www.annualcreditreport.com and address any errors or omissions with the credit bureaus.
  • Compile a list of all your current debts and estimate your monthly payments during law school. www.accessgroup.org has tools to help.
  • Begin your search for grants and scholarships. Be sure to request a copy of your credit report if you will be borrowing money.

SENIOR YEAR/YEAR BEFORE ENTERING LAW SCHOOL

  • Register with the LSAC.  Have transcripts from all undergraduate institutions you have attended sent to the LSAC.
  • Research law schools which meet your selection criteria.
  • Take the LSAT in October or December if you did not take the test in June or wish to retake it.
  • Request recommendations and/or evaluations from faculty members and others if you have not already done so.  Provide recommenders with the LSAC forms or the law school’s forms along with sufficient information to write detailed letters.
  • Complete the FAFSA as soon after October 1 as you can. If you will be filing an income tax return, do that as soon as you can after January 1.
  • If you have not already done so, draft and revise your personal statement.  Meet with Nancy Gibson to discuss.
  • Meet with Nancy Gibson to discuss your plans and application strategy.
  • Obtain current financial aid information for each school to which you will apply.
  • Research grant and scholarship opportunities.
  • Determine whether additional scholarship applications or letters of recommendation will be necessary for chosen law schools.
  • Make sure your LSAC Academic Summary is correct.
  • Make arrangements to have Dean’s Certification sent to schools that require it by contacting Dean Carl Steidel.
  • Complete and submit your applications.  Admissions are on a rolling basis.
  • Take the LSAT in December if you are retaking the test.
  • Check with schools to make sure your files are complete
  • Complete your federal income tax return as soon as you have complete documentation after January 1.
  • Complete your law school financial aid applications.
  • Meet with Nancy Gibson to assess your options as you learn schools’ decisions.
  • Receive financial aid offers.  If you have special concerns or situations, discuss these with the law school.  Examine the net costs and benefits of attending schools where you have been admitted.  Discuss actual housing costs with law students at individual schools.
  • Take appropriate action on acceptances, wait-list status, and financial aid packages.
  • Pay your first law school deposit.  Once you have selected your law school, submit your loan application(s) and finalize your housing arrangements.
  • Before leaving campus, have a final transcript sent to the law school you plan to attend and/or to any schools still considering your application.
  • Make sure BCDC has your new permanent (non-Bates) email address.