A guide to applying to law school

CATEGORIES: Uncategorized

Now comes the time toward the end of a student’s career at Iowa State, that they must start planning for what they will do and where they will go after graduation. For me this means applying to law school. Even though I had to wait until September 1st for the applications for next fall to open, there were things I could do before in order for the process to go a lot quicker and more smoothly.

  1. Take the LSAT

I took the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) this June, therefore the summer before my senior year when I would start applying. Please see my last blog for information on studying for and taking the LSAT. https://www.las.iastate.edu/a-summer-of-law-school-prep/

  1. Draft a Personal Statement

Last year for a course project I drafted a two-page personal statement of my own, discussing how I got to this point of wanting to go to law school and what I aim to do in my legal career. Since then I have been able to edit my statement multiple times, and have different sources offer their critiques. By the time applications opened in September, I was more than ready to submit my personal essay of myself stating my drive toward law school. I recommend writing about what makes you want to study law in the first place, and also specifically for each of the schools you apply to. I altered the end of my personal statement for every school in order to add the reasons why I am interested in attending that program in particular.

  1. Have Transcripts Sent to LSAC

For all law school applications you simply must have the transcripts of any college coursework you have taken sent one time to the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC). From there they will sent all of your information to each school for which you apply. I had Iowa State send in my transcript over the summer, since I knew I was going to apply before this fall semester was over and therefore my grades were complete.

  1. Ask for Letters of Recommendation

Also before returning to Iowa State for this fall semester, I contacted three people who I thought would write valuable recommendation letters for me. Many school applications require two, for which at least one must be from a college professor, but they accept more as well. Since a lot of schools have a maximum of three letters I got one from one of my professors that I also did research for, one from the attorney I interned for, and the last from another faculty member at Iowa State that I have worked closely with. If you are still early on in your college journey be on the lookout for opportunities in which you could get to work closely with a professor. Because I asked in July, I was able to have all of my recommendation letters lined up in time for the applications to be open for prospective students in September.

  1. Find Fee Waivers

A big deal to me in the application process is the fees that are associated with it. When applying to many schools, each with an application fee anywhere from thirty to over one hundred dollars, it can add up for quickly. Especially when you add in the $30 fee from the LSAC for each school that you apply to, which goes towards their Credential Assembly Service report that includes your transcripts and scores. Thankfully I received many fee waivers to my account and was notified by email from these schools, but there were a few I wanted to apply to that did not offer me this assistance. Upon researching these law schools and accessing their websites, I found that many schools offer you a fee waiver if you set up a visit, and some that give out fee waivers to the pre-law advisors at undergraduate institutions. Spending a little time looking into these opportunities could save you a lot of money.

After doing these things to prepare, once September 1 hit I was just about done with the application process, just filling out the short application forms was all that was left. Now it is October and I have been completely done applying for weeks and can focus on my senior year while waiting to hear back from the various admissions committees. To look for more help with the law school application process, contact the Pre-Law Advisor Bruce Allen at allenbs@iastate.edu or call 515-294-4831 to set up an appointment.

Posted by: Carly Crist