The Student Timetable will guide you through important activities and deadlines you should prepare for in the process of applying to law school, starting from your first year at Rutgers through your senior year.
First & Sophomore Years
Take courses that will enhance your writing, reading comprehension, and analytical skills.
Develop your logical reasoning ability and increase your awareness of human institutions, social values, and the world at large.
Develop a realistic view of legal careers. Look for opportunities to obtain law-related experience. Talk with lawyers about their work.
Choose a major that represents your own academic interests. Be serious about your studies.
Do well! Your grades are a very important part of your law school application.
Find the right balance between academic coursework and extracurricular activities. Pursue your interests outside of class, but not at the expense of your grades.
Begin to consider how you will finance a legal education.
Attend LSAC Forums.
Make this your best year academically. Your acceptance to law school will depend to a great extent on your academic record. If you hope to go on immediately to law school after graduation, your junior year and first semester senior year grades will be what law schools look at most closely.
Usually it is not a good idea to take the LSAT prior to June, but start reviewing old copies of the test and exploring the option of enrolling in a commercial test preparation course. Sample tests are available in the LSAT registration packets (available upstairs in Milledoler Hall) or in LSAT prep books (such as Barron's).
Do not write to law schools for catalogs and application forms until you return to school in August. Their printing deadlines for current year materials are late summer.
Continue to explore and learn about the legal profession by: reading articles, pamphlets, and books; talking with and observing lawyers; taking part in the law-related activities on campus.
Start investigating law schools. Think about where you want to spend three years of intensive study. There are a number of variables to consider: location, size, prestige, cost, special programs, student body, chances of admission, etc. Again, reading and talking with others can help. Take advantage of the pre-law programs and the pre-law society. Visit prospective law schools during your travels.
Give some thought to recommendations. Most law schools request two faculty letters, and the most persuasive ones are often written by faculty who know you well and for whom you have done your best work. Consider taking another course from such professors, and get to know faculty.
Summer Between Junior & Senior Years
Pick up an LSAT/LSDAS Registration Packet in Milledoler Hall. Read the packet thoroughly to make sure you understand all phases of the application process. This is the single most important step.
Register for the LSAT and LSDAS.
Read the Official Guide to U.S. Law Schools, if you have not already. Begin to develop a list of 8 to 15 law schools which, given your GPA and LSAT scores, offer a reasonable chance of your gaining admission. A few should be "reaches," but most should be in the "more likely" range. It's also a good idea to have one or two "safe" schools. Most applicants wind up sending applications to 6 to 10 schools.
Prepare for and take the LSAT in June or October so that you will get your scores back in time to select an appropriate range of law schools.
Develop a system for keeping track of all the registration and application details. Duplicate all forms, applications, and correspondence for your own records.
Request applications from law schools using the postcards in the LSAT/LSDAS packet, or start looking at online applications. The LSACD (provided by the LSAC) is a great way to apply to lots of schools with minimal typing.
Make an appointment with a pre-law advisor to discuss your plans.
Pull together ideas for a personal statement or essay. Begin drafting and revising.
Conclude arrangements for your letters of recommendation.
Use the transcript matching forms in your LSAT/LSDAS packet to request that the registrar send your transcript to LSDAS.
Obtain financial aid applications (available from the financial aid office) if you intend to apply for financial aid.
Investigate other financial aid possibilities.
Finalize and send your applications (with the Law School Matching Forms in the LSAT/LSDAS Packet) to law schools before Thanksgiving, if possible.
Double check everything. By mid-January, make sure the law schools received your applications, your LSDAS reports, and all letters of recommendation.
Once admitted, send a deposit to reserve your space in the entering class.
After hearing from all law schools, but before graduation, let us know your results and decision, and let your recommenders know of your application results.
Arrange with the registrar for a final copy of your transcript to be sent to the law school you will attend.