It’s now July, 16th 2013 and there is something like 80 days until the October LSAT is administered. We wanted to give our readers who are taking the LSAT in October an admissions and LSAT prep timeline to help them along. If you aren’t taking in October, check out our December LSAT timeline. We’ve compiled a lot of advice for different parts of the admissions/LSAT process in here so bookmark the page. You’ll be glad to have it in one place.
This timeline is an overview that gives you the full picture. Our more detailed LSAT study schedule is here. October is a great time to take the LSAT and incidentally, it’s the test most people take. Likely because we always got forced back into school around late summer, the cooling of the weather tends to put people in an academic frame of mind, making it easier to get down to some serious LSAT prep. Use this Pavlovian response to your advantage and really drill down on LSAT study from now until October. Don’t worry, the October LSAT is not harder than the other administrations (see our LSAT Myths Page, which dispels this common misunderstanding).
More importantly, the October LSAT gives you a chance to retake in December and still have good chances. Taking the October LSAT always gives you a little more leeway as far as pushing application stuff until after the LSAT. That said, shoot for having apps out the door by mid November at the latest. Law school generally start making decisions in November, and being part of the first round is always an advantage.
Note that how much of an advantage it is now is an open debate: there are so many fewer law school applicants at the moment that applying early is not nearly the imperative it once was. Check out my post on rolling admissions for some more analysis of this change. With all that said, why not put yourself in the best position possible? All it takes is not putting stuff off until the last minute. Here’s how to do it with minimal stress: JULY
- If you are self-studying, pick an intense LSAT prep schedule and stick with it. We have our recommended study schedule here, which is designed for 3 months of study. If you are checking out this schedule now for the first time, it’s not even close to too late to get on that. That schedule could even be compressed in to two months without discarding too much material. Start by hammering the logic games bible. We’ve got a special something coming up to help you do this right, even if you’ve been through it once already, so be on the look out ^_^
- Things that shouldn’t wait: letters of recommendation and registering for CAS. If you haven’t already ready done so, you need to register for CAS, LSAC’s credential assembly service. You use this to give schools your letter’s of recommendation and transcripts. Now would be the time to get on requesting those letters of recommendation. Professors are people too and may drag their feet when writing LORs. It’s polite to give them time, usually a month.
- Also, request transcripts from your schools and have them sent to CAS. This isn’t the longest process in the world, but its not something you can speed up without expensive bribes to the registrar at your undergrad, so do it now rather than in October/November when it could hold your applications up.
- Keep studying for the LSAT. Here are some resources to help you along the way:
- How to Improve at Logic Games
- How to Improve at Logical Reasoning
- How to Improve at Reading Comprehension
- How I got a 177 on the LSAT
- If you are doing an LSAT prep course, do some serious extra prep. I used to teach an LSAT course, and it was my firm belief that the big prep companies simply don’t assign you enough stuff to really make breakthroughs. Get all the official preptests (or at least the majority of them) and start doing them. Here is a list of every actual, official LSAT preptest and where to find it. Print this when scheduling your extra study.
- Work on your personal statement. It’s time to get a draft of this done if you haven’t already. Though it needn’t be hugely time consuming (I wrote my first draft in a couple of nights), it’s good to get something down on paper. Do your first draft and then look at it again in a few weeks and start making changes. Solicit advice and get every good reader you know to look at it, especially harsh critics. If you plan to hire an admissions consultant, this is the best thing to use them for. Remember that the personal statement is the one opportunity the admissions staff gets to really know you.
- Keep up the LSAT study and make sure to avoid burnout. Here are my tips for reducing LSAT stress.
- We are getting in to the last month of your LSAT prep now. If you are just happening on this Admissions/LSAT prep timeline in September and think you need a major push to bump up your score, read this- Increasing Your LSAT Score In Under 30 Days.
- Push towards a final draft of your personal statement. It’s okay to primarily focus on your LSAT study, but some redrafts of the PS are a good idea. Remember that waiting in between redrafts let’s you see the PS in a new light. I certainly wish I had of sat on mine a little more. Revisit it a couple times over the month.
- It’s now THE LAST WEEK BEFORE THE LSAT! Sorry if those caps made you freak out a little. The final countdown can be handled with ease if you just follow our last week advice. Here is some good advice that is not followed enough: take a week off before the LSAT. I know it’s terrible to waste precious vacation time on the LSAT, but the payout is high enough to justify it.
- Also check out our post on the day before the LSAT.
- Cross the LSAT finish line. Did you study hard? Then you are likely going to kill it. Here are some test day problems you might encounter and how to solve them.
- Now take a week off after the LSAT. Enjoy some fall foliage. Travel somewhere. You deserve a break no matter how the test went.
- Now, it’s time to get your personal statement in final form. Remember that while the personal statement should be a labor of love, eventually you have to call it good and get it off your desk. Don’t damage your vision rewriting it 20 times. DO make sure to check it several times for typos. Remember once it’s sent there is no getting it back if you spot an error later.
- SCORES ARE OUT!!! We hope everything turned out okay. If not, it’s time to consider whether you should retake. I want to add that you should not feel committed to law school just because of the time and hard work you have put in thus far. The decision to go to law school has never been more serious than it is now with the legal economy struggling. It’s usually a bad idea to settle for school options you would not have considered beforehand just because you feel committed now. As law school consumers (you) become more and more educated about the risks vs. rewards of law school, it should become increasingly common to see people taking the LSAT before ultimately deciding against law school. Do not be in the least bit ashamed to be part of this group.
- Fill out your biographical information and complete any additional essays. Don’t worry, it’s not a lengthy process. We are getting down to the end here.
- Send off your applications! Now it’s time to relax and play the waiting game, which is easy. Use the comments if you have questions on this timeline or anything at all related to law school admissions or LSAT prep. It’s also easy to send us your questions on twitter @onlawschool.