After submitting an application, you will likely have two questions in mind: (1) What happens now? and (2) How soon before I hear back? The answers to these questions can vary widely depending on the school, the time of year, and even the strength of the application. There are, however, a few general consistencies.
1. What Happens Now?
When you submit an application on the LSAC website, LSAC time stamps the application and prepares it for the school to download. LSAC may also send a paper copy if the school still maintains paper files for applicants. This process may take anywhere from 1 day to several weeks in certain circumstances.
For example, some law schools may request LSAC not to forward completed applications until the Law School Report for the applicant is ready. Once a law school has received an application through LSAC, it will begin a process of review to ensure that all requisite components are included in the application file. This initial review process may conclude relatively quickly, or in some cases it may take several weeks, depending to a great extent on the volume of applications being processed by the school at that time.
To give applicants some insight into the seeming black box of the admissions process, many law schools offer an Online Status Check website. For example, the University of Wisconsin’s Status Checker website informs applicants when an application is received from LSAC, when an application is placed in the queue for review by the admissions committee, when the committee begins its review, and when a decision has been reached. If you are accepted, most schools will communicate that information to you by phone call or e-mail. If you are placed on hold, placed on a wait list, or rejected, you will receive an e-mail and/or letter at your address on record.
2. How Soon Before I Hear Back?
There is, unfortunately, no specific answer to this question. In rare cases, some applicants may receive an answer within a few weeks, but the process typically takes 2–4 months. If your application is placed on hold or if you are placed on a wait list then it may take several additional months to receive a final decision.
In the meantime, continue to check the online status check for each school, and check your LSAC account to confirm that each school has requested a Law School Report from LSAC within a few weeks after you submitted your application.