Navigating the LSAC application process

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Navigating the LSAC application process

Postby samiseaborn » Thu Jul 01, 2010 8:21 pm

Note: subject to change if they do a major overhaul on the website like they did last year!

I know it seems fairly straight forward, but for those who haven’t spent hours, or years on before applying, LSAC does have some nuances to look out for and sometimes you just miss obvious things.

Pretty much every school requires you to submit your application (or at the very least download the forms) through Since you are likely already registered from taking the LSAT, step 1 complete!

• How: Click apply, credentials, transcripts. Fill out the questionnaire and the site will generate a form with your under/grad school’s name on it and your LSAC number. Take/mail this form to the registrar’s office so they can attach it to your official transcript when they mail it to LSAC. Repeat for as many schools as needed. Some schools have their own ‘transcript request form’, make sure to use both theirs and LSAC’s. They’ve likely done this before and won’t be surprised.
• Submit one from every single school you attended or took a class at. (Yes, that includes that one college course you took in high school. You did lousy because you were only 15 and didn’t foresee Sign Language 101 having any impact on your future 10 years down the line? Too bad. It counts.)
• Do this as soon as you start thinking about applying! It may take a while to track down all those transcripts and even if you change your mind about applying you’ve only wasted about $15 (if your undergrad is a cheapskate and makes you pay for transcripts, which many do).
• Timing: depending on when you submit the transcripts, expect about 2-3 weeks for LSAC to process the transcript and post it on the website.
• Extra note: If you submit your applications before LSAC has the transcript they will send your application to the law schools without it. HOWEVER, it may not be sent to the school the same day LSAC actually posts it on the website. Some schools only ask LSAC for ‘updates’ once a week, so for example:
o You apply to XLS on Monday. Your transcript is processed by LSAC on Tuesday. XLS only likes to get reports on Mondays. LSAC will not send the transcript to XLS until the FOLLOWING Monday! See why you should start gathering transcripts as soon as possible?
• LSAC will then added up all of your transcripts (EXCEPT for grad school ones! And any classes taken AFTER getting your Bachelor’s) and calculate your total GPA using their own normalization calculation. Sometime you’ll end up with a higher one than expected, sometime not. But there are plenty of threads crying or jumping for joy about that on this site already, do a quick search for LSDAS GPA.

Letter of Recommendation:
• Very similar to transcripts. After you’ve decided who your recommenders will be, go to credentials, LORs, add a recommender.
• Fill out the form much in the same way as you did with the transcripts. Give the name and info of who your recommender will be and it will generate a .pdf form for that person to attach to their letter. Make sure to sign away your right to read the LOR on the form.
• I recommend giving this person both the form and a pre-addressed/stamped envelope so they can just stick it in the mail to LSAC when done.
• Timing: expect them to process about as quickly/slow as your transcript did. In the fall and near deadlines expect it to be even slower since everyone is rushing around like you are. There is a fax number floating around this site (search: LSAC fax) that sometimes speeds things up. If you try the fax, I would also send the hard copy in the mail as a backup. (I’m not giving the number here because it may have changed/not work anymore, so do a little forum search and see what is happening during YOUR cycle)
• Note: see note under Transcripts about sending AFTER submitting the application.
• After Beginning Applications: Go back to the LOR page and you will see a list of the application you have opened. Next to each one you can ‘assign letters’ and chose which letter to send to which schools since you may have some school specific ones.

• This is probably the most straight forward part. Go to applications, school list and search for the schools you want to apply to. Start whichever one you want.
• The ‘Common Information Form’ is meant to help by automatically inserting data into certain fields on every application for you. It works well for some things, like your name. Others, not so good (phone numbers get switched around, job experience gets wonky because different schools ask for different details). So go ahead a use it, but double check every application to make sure you are answering the right questions.
• Some schools have supplemental forms (Dean’s Certifications, LOR forms). Make sure to check the instructions to see if they are optional or ‘must use’. Most are optional.
• Dean’s Certifications: A few schools ask for these. The easiest way to deal with it is to call the registrar’s office of whatever undergrad/grad you went to and just ask them where to sent it. They’ve done this before, and they’ll be happy that you sent it to the right person on the first try. Also, while most of them say “Dean” it really means “or other person of some importance with access to your records”, so don’t worry that you weren’t BFFs with the Dean in college. Most of us never even knew the Dean’s name, much less having them know us personally.
• If you need to send a personal statement/transcript, you can write it in Word and upload it by clicking that handy “view or edit” button under “Upload additional documents”. Make sure to put your name or LSAC number in the header of any of these documents in case your application gets separated. Also, do this at the beginning because nothing sucks more than just getting you statement on to 2 pages after hours of manipulation and then having one line kicked to the 3rd page because you forgot to add the header.
• Any addendums about GPA/LSAT/DUIs/etc. can get attached in the same way a previous step. Individual applications will let you know how they want this info or if it should get special file names.

The Home Stretch
• When you are all done, take a deep breath. We all panic and blackout a little bit when hitting the submit button.
• LSAC will take all of your attachments and application and generate one giant .pdf. You have to look at this before it will let you submit. Make sure you haven’t typed outside any boxes, if you can’t read something in this pdf, the school won’t be able to either.
• Irritating note: LSAC doesn’t save your credit card info. So unless you want to fill out the billing form 10 times, submit a few apps at once if you can. I know it’s not important, but when you’re on edge it really is the small things that drive you over.
• LSAC will send a few emails letting you know they’ve taken your money and sent your file.
• Some schools require that you print out a form and sign it instead of signing it ‘electronically’. They will let you know if this is the case, and your application will not be ‘complete’ until you have mailed this to them.
• After a few hours, you’ll be able to go to the “Reports” section of LSAC. This will probably say XLS has ‘requested’ your report. Yes, even if you send it at midnight it will say this. No, there isn’t someone pulling an all-nighter in admissions, it’s the wonders of computers!
• Don’t panic if LSAC hasn’t sent the report (which is just your transcripts and new GPA stuff) immediately. Sometimes it takes a day or so.
• Some schools have ‘status checkers’. This is a website for all us Type-A, OCD, people to check every 2 minutes for the next 6 months. It doesn’t say very much, but you’ll probably get irrationally excited/paranoid when things like the font changes. That rarely means anything. The most helpful parts say “application complete!” or “under review!” The one you should worry about is “application incomplete”. If it says this, making some phone calls and find out what is missing. Don’t expect it to be updated very often either. If a school has one of these, they will email you the address and password within a few days of getting your application (varies by school). They also tend to update in batches, so check the forums here and you’ll see when certain schools change them.

And that’s about all I can think of. I’m sure I’m missing things, but these are the little things about LSAC that stood out as being significant/frustrating. Good luck!

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Re: Navigating the LSAC application process

Postby takehold » Wed Jul 07, 2010 11:25 pm

Awesome, thanks a lot for the overview.

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Re: Navigating the LSAC application process

Postby leeleehoku » Tue Nov 30, 2010 2:41 pm

thank you SO much :)

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Re: Navigating the LSAC application process

Postby Fast_Fingers » Fri Dec 10, 2010 12:15 am

Just like to add, include a lot of time for the teachers to get back to you regarding recommendations. Some may even want to see your personal statement. A month in advance (so November 1st at the latest), with regular check ups, would be the minimum.

And for status checkers, I found the TLS Class of (your year here) to be a great place to get an idea as to which batch would be what, and to compare numbers of people who got accepted/waitlisted/rejected.

Terrific job on the summary. It was annoying to fill out, I agree.

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Re: Navigating the LSAC application process

Postby katie96 » Wed Aug 03, 2011 2:57 pm

tagged :D so helpful

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Re: Navigating the LSAC application process

Postby moopness » Wed Aug 03, 2011 3:10 pm

Super tagged. THANK YOU!

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