I created this for the 2010-2011 cycle. Some of it is still relevant. I will update for the 2011-2012 cycle as I see fit. However, I will be a 1L, so I will not be following this as closely, so if you see something you want me to add, please PM me.
Dear Lurking Admissions Officers,
I know you do this because I read your blogs and your interviews. I am trying to keep this OP as accurate and as helpful as possible and actually read several of your blogs and interviews when I find them. If anything in this is inaccurate, if pointed out via blog I will see and update. I think this is pretty accurate as is since I'm parroting what I've read what many of you say anyway, but there's always a chance for error.
The actual official FAQ thread from the FAQ subforum: http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/v ... =5&t=35133Reqs: http://appreqs.com/
--Note, this is slightly out of date. For example UPenn's "optional" essays are not optional this year.Decision Dates Chart: http://www.top-law-schools.com/decision-dates.htmlWhen you might hear back if you applied in Oct: http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=137012Class of 2013 Median/GPA: http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=128236Hidden Fee Waivers: http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=129078Negotiating Merit Aid: http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/v ... 22&t=79373How do I update my application?
If you're sending in an LOR or LSAT afterwards, the LSAT auto-updates and the LOR you just need to assign. Disclosure of Disciplinary Actions/Law Problems
Although NYU's app does not give specifications on the criminal offense question, I called them and confirmed that minor traffic offenses do NOT need to be disclosed. --Eskimo for the 2010-2011 cycle.Dean's Certifications
somebody start a thread about this for 2011-2012. Can you submit one before you submit your app?
Yes. Timing of Application SubmissionWhen should I submit it? When is early?
As soon as possible without sacrificing due care of quality.
General rule of thumb:
Super Early: Before Halloween
Early: Before Thanksgiving
On Time: Before Christmas
Lateish: After New Years.
The longer you wait, the lower your chances become and the less scholarship money there is. Exception: Yale, which does not do a rolling admissions process.
Dean Tom: “Yes. You must apply early. Even though we don’t have an early decision program, the early bird does catch the worm here. And by early I’m talking about October, mid-November at the latest. Even if you’re taking the December LSAT, you should send in your application to us ahead of time. Use the Law Services electronic application that’s available now. It’s a great product and it works very, very well. You can just apply online through them. Our application is available on our website in PDF form too. But if you use the Law Services version everything comes to us in a bundle: your LSAT score, your letters of recommendation, your personal statement, and it expedites things for the candidate.
A lot of people make the mistake of filling out their applications over the Christmas holidays. But I start reading applications in late October, and I start making offers at that time. Because we have a finite number of offers to make, not only are there fewer spots available later in the process, the competition for those spots increases.” --TLS Interview with Dean of Admissions for UCBerkeleyI'm retaking, but I want to submit some of my applications now. Can I do that?
orIf I submit apps now with the old score, will schools wait to review my file until the new score shows up?
If you ask them to. However, if you ask them to review it as is, they will probably do that too. You just need to e-mail them, let them know you've submitted an application, and tell them you would like them to wait for the new score before reviewing or to please consider your application complete without the new score and review your file as is.
They usually say they won't even look at your app if they know a second score is coming in later... unless you tell them specifically to consider your application complete without the new score.
I wouldn't do an addendum. They might not read it until they are reviewing your file, or possibly not at all. Just e-mail the Admissions office and let them know. That way you are sure they received the information.
-Lzyoverachiever Letters of Recommendation
Basics: http://www.top-law-schools.com/letters- ... ation.htmlQ: Can the LOR writer fax it instead of mailing?
Fax number is 1 (215) 504-1444.
LSAC has updated their FAQ:
"LSAC does not recommend faxing because the image of the letter is not always clear, and the barcode on the form can be distorted. Either of these problems can cause a significant delay in processing. If faxed documents are clear they will be accepted; however there is no guarantee."
I faxed all of mine and they were fine. Q: Can you e-mail or fax the signed sheet to the LOR writer?
Yes.Q: How many?
Most want just 2. 3 should only be sent if you think all 3 are strong.
One idea is to send the recommended, and save the extra for waitlists. Q: How do I give the forms to professors?
Either give it to them in person, mail it, or through e-mail. Be sure you send them a *signed* form, so if you're e-mailing it, print it out, sign it, and scan it in. Q: What is with this Evaluations thing?
It's new. You probably won't need it. I'm not doing it. Check with each school. Q: How do I submit LOR after I've submitted the app?
Just go in and assign the LOR to the schools you want. It will update. Q: My LOR writer showed me the letter--have I screwed up the waiver?
Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, educational institutions are supposed to allow you to see recommendations that are part of your file after enrolling at the institution as a student. If you waive this right, you will waive your right to ask your institution to show you this letter.
This does not mean you cannot view the letter--it means you cannot view it because the university, rather than the letter writer, gave it to you post-enrollment. If the writer wants to share it with you, that's fine, and totally within the requirements of the waiver.Q: Should I waive this right?
It's generally considered a good idea--you don't want admissions officers wondering what you might be trying to hide or what you're afraid of writers saying. Q: Can I use someone famous?
Only if they've supervised you in an academic manner.
--http://www.law.nyu.edu/admissions/jdadmissions/applicants/admissions_questions/recommendation_letters/index.htmQ: How long are LORs on file for?
LSAC will store them for up to five years. Should I use non-academic references?
This is going to be school-dependant and something you might consider asking individual schools about. If you don't want to call, scour for Dean interviews. For example, this response from Yale:
"Academic references are going to carry the most weight. Period. Particularly if you have a weaker part of your application, you really need to have phenomenal academic references who are willing to vouch for your performance as a student. If you’ve been out of school for a few years, I would suggest going back to your college professors and seeing if anyone would be willing to write one for you. If you think you’re going to be out of school for a while before you apply to law school, then plan ahead and get some professors to write you letters of recommendations now and place them on file with your undergraduate institution or set up an LSDAS account and let LSAC store them for you for up to five years.
I think only as a last resort -- you’ve been out of school for 10 years, none of your college professors remember you, etc. -- only then should you seek out employer recommendations that will speak to the kinds of things that an academic reference will. So, you’d want your employer to address writing and analytical skill, your intellectual curiosity, etc. Obviously, the closer they can be to the legal field, the better it will be for you. So if you’ve been a paralegal in a law office or worked for a judge, then that might be helpful, again, as a last resort."--Dean Asha from AdmissionsDean http://www.admissionsdean.com/researchi ... a-rangappaShould I write my own if the professor/boss/etc. tells me to?
1) It's against the rules. This should be enough to convince you. However..
2) If a professor doesn't like you enough to take the time to write it, just no.
3) You're sending at least one, if not multiple essays. You think they won't be able to tell it's the same person?
For other opinions, see this thread: http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/v ... 2&t=127028What if I've been out of school for a while and I can't get in touch with profs/they don't remember me?
They really want to see at least one academic LOR though from someone who can evaluate your ability as a student. Teaching assistants are also acceptable in place of professors. See response above. Still can't? Well, then, of course you have to ask an employer, who else could you ask? Help! One of my professors suddenly backed out/hasn't been responding to me/etc. What should I do for the LOR now?
Figure out a backup professor--same guidelines for when you first selected it. Contact them ASAP and give them 3-4 weeks to do it. I personally wouldn't explain why you're asking so late. Just ask and give them time and don't pressure. You'll take a little bit of a timeliness hit, but whatever. To speed it up, have them fax (it works, many on here will vouch for that). Also, if you can't get to them physically, print out a form, sign it, scan it, convert it to a pdf (many websites will let you do this for free, just search for "jpg to pdf converter" ), and send in e-mail. Fee Waivers
Basics & list:http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/v ... 2&t=159780Q: Do they mean I have a better shot?
No. They just want to increase # of applicants so they can reject more people. Q: How do you get them?
CRS on LSAC. Look around. You can also e-mail and ask for them. If you do, basic form:
I am really interested in applying to XXX Law School and am writing to ask if could be considered for a merit-based fee waiver. My LSAT is 1XX, GPA is X.XX, and my LSAC # is #######.
Eager ApplicantWhat about need-based waivers?
Eugenie says that it's apparently easier than getting one through LSAC to go directly to the schools (though some only honor LSAC):
"I emailed 10 schools with a basic request (no financial details). 8 replied within 2 days saying, "Here you go!" 2 asked for pretty basic financial info, and I'm waiting to hear. I just saved about $700!"Q: I took the LSAT in previous cycles or am re-applying and am not receiving them, what should I do?
Last updated for the 2010-2011 cycle.
This thread has more info: http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/v ... 2&t=127020
Wait until after the CRS wave goes out(which you can see in the thread linked) and e-mail politely and ask. So far this cycle(08/26/2010).
Schools with ninjas for admissions officers: (Managed to find us despite nobody else being able to)
Horchata asked for a second fee waiver to use.
Schools that said yes:
Schools that said no:
PennQ: When should I e-mail them to ask?
After the CRS wave. ResumeHow long should the resume be?
Some people insist you shouldn't go over 1 page, and Yale doesn't want more than 1. I did well with a 2 page resume. There is no TLS consensus. Essay Reqs
Yale--App not available yet, and website is vague, so no idea. Separate 250 word supplemental required. No specific prompt.
Harvard--"Two pages, double spaced, using a font size that is comfortable to read (not less than 11 point)."
Stanford--"Enclose a statement of about two pages describing important or unusual aspects of yourself not otherwise apparent in your application."
Columbia--1-2 pages. AddendumsShould I write an addendum for my LSAT score increase?http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/v ... 2&t=127964Specific Application Questions
Do I need to disclose minor traffic violations?
This varies by school, here's a list of some of the known ones:
Schools That Do NOT Require Disclosure of Traffic Violations
How much information do they need if they do require traffic violation disclosure?
Often a short list will suffice.
Date - Violation - Result (traffic school, paid, etc)What are my chances?
Wrong forum, go here: http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewforum.php?f=9
Also, 99% of our answers are based off of those two websites anyway. Selecting Schools
Reaches, Targets, and Safeties.
Depending on your LSAT & GPA score, you might have a bizarre combination of schools that fall into these categories. People differ on what they think is appropriate, so feel free to discuss, but I think in general it's good to build from the bottom up. Find 1-2 safeties that you know you'll be happy with, then a handful 3-5 targets, and then decide on how many reaches to apply to based on how much money you can spend. The benefit of having more targets is that you can usually negotiate scholarship offers between them if they view each other as peers, and also wait until you've visited properly to decide. I'm a fan in general of applying to a number of reaches. Of course, this depends on what you can afford. You'll have to really find the balance on your own. Using LSAC
Q: If I delay, will the things I send in (ex: LOR) still be there/available to use the next year?
Yes, as long as your account doesn't expire. The expiration date is listed in your account info. How do I update transcripts?
Send them into LSAC. It will auto-update every single school you have sent a report to in that cycle. Finding your official LSDAS GPA:
[All transcripts must be processed & your Academic Summary Report completed.]
Academic Summary Report
Q: How do you head personal statements and other essays? Is there supposed to be some sort of title (i.e. "Personal Statement")?
Titled what it is("Personal Statement", "Addendum", "Diversity Statement", "Supplemental Essay", etc.) with your name and LSAC number should do. An artistic title "My Life as a Ex Pop-Star" is unnecessary.How do I take the LSAT 4 times?
UPDATE: This was changed in June 2011. Probably won't work anymore. Contact LSAC.
"I contacted a law school through e-mail asking for a waiver. When they said they would give me one, I gave them LSAC's fax number. If they do fax it, make sure that you give them LSAC's general fax number not their LOR fax number. If you send it to the general one they'll process the request quicker.
Note that if you have to do this, you'll have to call LSAC up and get your seat through the phone. Unless they've changed it for this cycle, the online LSAC system won't recognize the waiver."