The delight of many law school hopefuls is working on law school applications while friends and family are busy having actual winter and holiday fun.
Don't let application blues set in. To help you finish your law school applications over winter break, check out these five tips:
1. Be Realistic About Your LSAT Score.
You may think that you have time to take one more LSAT in February before firing off applications that are due at the beginning of March. But maybe you should re-evaluate.
If you're still way off from the median GPA/LSAT scores for your dream school, you should be spending time on polishing your applications for your second and third choices. Killing yourself by trying to score 175 in February may also keep you from making application deadlines in January.
2. Limit Your Applications.
There are literally hundreds of law schools in the nation, and given unlimited time and funds, you could probably apply to all of them. Assuming instead that you have some semblance of a budget for applications, try to narrow your search down to a lean dozen.
There's no magic number of school applications that's best, but having a good number of prospects will make your eventual choice easier.
3. Take Time to Draft Personal Statements.
The deranged, evil cousin of cover letters, personal statements involve taking a lifetime of experiences and condensing them into 250 words. They are a terrible exercise in self-aggrandizing, yet somehow modest writing, but the exercise may prepare you for future vomit-inducing networking events.
Don't get discouraged. The key is to write a draft -- no matter how sickeningly awful it might seem -- and then have another person proofread it and give feedback. Style-wise, avoid any clichés that you would make you wince while reading, and keep your own voice. Writing like a transcript for a Lifetime made-for-TV movie will not ensure you get into law school.
4. Keep an Eye on Deadlines.
Many schools have early acceptance/access/application options, so make sure that you focus on the ones due in early January before you tackle that one due March 1.
Remember also that gathering up good letters of recommendation might take some time, so try to get your mentors and professors to task as soon as possible. They will likely forget when you need those letters mailed in, so send them friendly reminders every now and then.
5. Spend Time Away From Applications.
You'll have plenty of time while you're in law school to abandon friends and family members to study for this or that test, so take some time away from your applications to relax.
Not only will your loved ones (hopefully) appreciate your presence, but taking breaks from the grind of application essays will keep you from burning out. If you're extremely focused about your application process, try using social functions as a reward for finishing incremental tasks. This practice may also serve you well as a 1L.
Above all else, remember that the law school application process is meant to be grueling, in order to weed out those not serious about applying. Strengthen your resolve and you'll prevail.
- 4 Ways to Overcome a Low GPA in Law School Applications (U.S. News and World Report)
- Buyers' Remorse: 40% of Young Wis. Lawyers Regret Law School (FindLaw's Greedy Associates)
- How to Apply to Law School: A (Nearly) Complete Checklist (FindLaw's Greedy Associates)
- Cut Law School Application Costs: Freebies and Waivers (FindLaw's Greedy Associates)