University of Wisconsin–Madison

Timelines

Preparation Timeline

  • Continue to Research the Legal Profession
  • Consider joining a pre-law organization if you haven’t already
  • Meet with a pre-law advisor to develop a timeline for taking the LSAT and applying to law school
  • Follow the Center for Pre-Law Advising on Facebook for information on internships/events

  • Continue to Research the Legal Profession
  • Continue to Research Law Schools
  • Follow the Application Timeline if you are planning to go straight to law school
  • Meet with a pre-law advisor to discuss law school applications, whether you plan to apply senior year or not
  • Maintain existing relationships or start to develop new relationships with professors/TAs
  • Research Undergraduate Academic Award opportunities to help distinguish yourself
  • Follow the Center for Pre-Law Advising on Facebook for information on internships/events

Application Timeline

A W crest is pictured surrounded by the spring blooms of an ornamental pear tree along University Avenue at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on April 24, 2017. (Photo by Bryce Richter / UW-Madison)For whatever fall semester that you intend to enter law school, applications for that cycle become available in or around September one year prior. Application deadlines vary, but most range from early to late spring, 4-6 months before classes start. Because law schools use a rolling admissions process, it is not in your best interest to wait until a school’s deadline to apply. Rolling admissions means that law schools start evaluating and deciding on applications in late fall, approximately 9-10 months before classes start and well before the application deadline. Applying relatively early in the admissions process may increase your likelihood of admission because at the beginning of the process you are competing against a smaller pool of applicants for a larger number of available spots than you would later in the process.

 

  • Create your LSAC account
  • Meet with a pre-law advisor to discuss your LSAT timeline (When will you first take it? What is your retake option?)
  • Decide how you plan to prepare for the LSAT (Commercial Course? University Course? Self-Study? How many hours can you devote to your study per week?)
  • Meet with a Pre-Law Advisor to decide on an LSAT test date. The last good time to take your first LSAT is in summer if possible; make sure to research the deadline to register for the test as it may be 1 month or more before the test date.
  • Research Law Schools
  • Review the Center for Pre-Law Advising application handout on Requesting Letters of Recommendation
  • Select and meet with your recommenders
  • Prepare for the August LSAT if necessary, either as your first test or as a retake option following a summer LSAT (save October as a retest date if needed); make sure to research the deadline to register for the test as it may be 1 month or more before the test date.
  • Register for the Credential Assembly Service at lsac.org and pay the fee
  • Register for the Candidate Referral Service (free) at lsac.org if you are interested in the possibility of receiving application fee waivers
  • Select the law schools you intend to apply to (taking into account these factors); it is generally a good idea to include ~2-3 reach schools, ~2 safety schools, and ~2-3 target schools
  • Download law school applications on or around September 1
  • Review the Center for Pre-Law Advising application handouts on Personal Statements, Resumé, Transcripts, and Optional Essays and Addenda
  • Meet with a pre-law advisor to discuss your law school applications
  • Attend the Law School Fair if possible
  • If you will be taking a fall LSAT, focus on LSAT preparation through the exam date then turn immediately to your applications after the exam; otherwise begin to work on applications as soon as they become available
  • Meet with a pre-law advisor to discuss your law school applications
  • Formally request your Letters of Recommendation through LSAC
  • Draft your Personal Statement
  • Draft/revise your Resumé
  • Draft any applicable Optional Essays
  • Draft any necessary Addenda
  • Request your Transcript(s)
  • Plan to submit your applications by the end of November if possible; if applying Early Decision, the deadlines are generally around November 15
  • If you are not satisfied with your fall LSAT score, consult with a pre-law advisor to determine whether you should retake the exam this cycle.
  • Track your submitted applications through Status Check websites for each school
  • Take/retake the LSAT if necessary; plan to submit your completed applications as soon as the score is ready.
  • Research FAFSA deadlines and other financial aid documentation requirements for each school to which you applied
  • Review the Center for Pre-Law Advising’s After You Apply Handout
  • Watch the Center for Pre-Law Advising video The Law School Admissions Process: What Happens After You Apply?
  • Take steps to advocate for your admission at any school at which you are waitlisted by submitting a Letter of Continuing Interest, scheduling a formal visit, submitting an additional letter of recommendation and/or maintaining phone/e-mail contact with the admissions office every month or so
  • If you are still a student and applied in December or earlier, submit an updated transcript reflecting your fall semester’s grades (assuming your grades were strong)
  • Continue to track your submitted applications through Status Check websites for each school
  • Try to attend the Admitted Students Day/Weekend at any school that has admitted you and that you are considering attending
  • Plan to submit a seat deposit at a law school by the seat deposit deadline, often in early/mid April (depending on the school), even if you are currently wait listed at another school; you can always enroll in the school at which you were wait listed if admitted, even if you already placed a seat deposit at another school
  • Be sure to meet any financial aid deadlines
  • Continue to maintain contact through letters of continued interest every month or so; be sure to check in with the office just after the seat deposit deadline
  • Continue to maintain contact through letters of continued interest every month or so