Pre-Law Timeline

This timetable assumes that you are applying for admission to law school immediately after your senior year. However, in many law schools, more than half of the incoming class has spent one to three years pursuing career or personal interests, and the number of students taking time off between college and law school is expected to increase. If you are planning on following such an extended timetable, see the section below on “After Graduation”.

Menu

Freshman Year 

  • Focus on completing your general education requirements.
  • Since your GPA is cumulative and an important component of the law school admissions criteria, work hard to excel in your courses. Remember that if you are applying to law school during your senior year, the law school admissions office will only be looking at grades from your freshman, sophomore and junior years.
  • Introduce yourself to the Pre-Law Advisor and place your name on the pre-law emailing list by seeing the Office Coordinator for the Politics and International Relations Department.
  • Set a goal of getting to know one professor reasonably well each academic year so that at the end of three or four years you have three or four professors who can write letters of recommendation for law school or provide references for internships or jobs. A professor who knows you and your abilities and accomplishments will be in a better position to provide a meaningful letter of recommendation or reference. You can accomplish this goal by making the effort to schedule meetings with professors during office hours, taking advantage of the Dine-with-a-Mind lunch program, becoming a teaching assistant, or seeking ways to work and collaborate with professors on their research projects.
  • Begin developing a portfolio of your best papers and projects that can be used as writing samples for job and internships and to assist professors in writing letters of recommendation and references.
  • Begin exploring the legal profession. Use family, church, and community connections to get names of attorneys in different practice areas. Use the time during breaks and vacations to conduct informational interviews with these attorneys, to “shadow” them for a day or a week, or to work as an intern in their office.
  • Pray for discernment about God’s calling for your life and the wisdom to make choices to fulfill this call. Explore the gifts God has given you.
  • Join a campus group or organization both to provide a source of social and personal support and to make your law school application more interesting. For the purpose of your law school application, the quality rather than the quantity of extracurricular activities matters.
  • Become involved in the Pre-Law Society and attend law-related programs on campus.

Sophmore Year 

  • Continue the activities suggested for your freshman year.
  • As you complete your general education requirements and have more flexibility in your schedule, take courses that will help you make informed decisions about your major and the courses you will take during your junior and senior years. Focus on courses that strengthen your reading comprehension, writing, communication, reasoning and analytical skills.
  • Choose a major in an area that interests you since law schools do not have a required or preferred undergraduate major. If you are interested in exploring the law and legal issues and in strengthening the skills used in law school, consider undertaking the coursework necessary for the Pre-Law Studies Certificate Program in addition to the requirements of your major and make arrangements for the law-related internship required for the Pre-Law Studies Certificate Program.

Junior Year 

Fall

  • Continue the activities suggested for your freshman and sophomore years.
  • Contact the Pre-Law Advisor to review your academic record and your extracurricular, work, and other experiences and to discuss the law school application process.
  • Select a date to take the Law School Admissions Test. The LSAT is offered four times a year in February, June, either late September or early October, and December. You should take the LSAT only after you have spent a significant amount of time preparing for the test, so select a date that provides you with enough time to get ready for the test. Most law school applicants take the LSAT either the summer of their junior year or the fall of their senior year so that their applications can be submitted during the fall of their senior year.
  • Take a practice LSAT to determine areas of strength and weakness.

Spring

  • Register with the Law School Admissions Council by going to the LSAC website >> .
  • Register for the LSAT by going to the website >>.  Register as early as you can so that you can reserve a spot in the most convenient test center for you. The registration deadline for the LSAT is usually one month prior to the test date. When you register for the LSAT, please authorize the LSAC to release your data to the Pre-Law Advisor. Your personal data remains confidential, but it will help the Pre-Law Advisor in advising future students.
  • If you are taking the LSAT in June, prepare for the test either by using preparatory materials from the Pre-Law Library and private companies or by taking a preparation class.
  • Use the materials in the Pre-Law Library to start researching law schools.
  • Have initial discussions with professors about providing letters of recommendation.

Summer

  • Take the LSAT if you are taking the test in June. If you are taking the LSAT in September/October, prepare for the test either by using preparatory materials from the Pre-Law Library and private companies or by taking a preparation class.
  • If you took the LSAT in June, you should receive your score in July. 
    Consult the Boston College Law School Locator >> and the ABA/LSAC Official Guide to U.S. Law Schools >>  to make a list of law schools that interest you and that represent a realistic possibility for admission based on your GPA and LSAT score.
  • Research your law school choices and request catalogs, applications and financial aid information.
  • Begin drafting and revising your personal statement and resume.
  • Subscribe to the Credential Assembly Service (CAS) >> by going to LSAC website and having transcripts from all undergraduate institutions from which you have received college credits sent to the LSDAS at the very beginning of the fall semester. Verify the accuracy of the transcripts and your CAS report.

Senior Year

Fall

  • Request letters of recommendation at the very beginning of the fall semester. At least one, and preferably two, letters of recommendation should be from professors. Make sure that the recommendation writer is comfortable with providing a detailed and positive recommendation. Give the recommendation writer any necessary forms and relevant information about yourself. Most law schools want you to use the letter of recommendation service provided by the CAS.
  • Take the LSAT if you are taking the test in September/October. You should receive your score in late October. Based on your LSAT score and your GPA, use the Boston College Law School Locator >>  and the ABA/LSAC Official Guide to U.S. Law Schools >>  to make a list of law schools that interest you and that represent a realistic possibility for admission.
  • Finalize your personal statement and resume.
  • Meet with the Pre-Law Advisor to assess your law school application strategy.
  • Prepare your law school applications. Take advantage of rolling admissions policies and complete your law school applications by December 1st at the very latest. Since most law schools begin reviewing applications as soon as they arrive, an early application may receive favorable consideration simply because there are fewer applications to compare against.

Spring

  • Check with the law schools early in January to ensure that you files are complete.
  • Complete the FAFSA and any financial aid material as early as possible in January.
  • Take appropriate action on acceptances, wait-listings and financial aid packages. Meet with the Pre-Law Advisor to assess your options. Select your law school and inform the Pre-Law Advisor of your choice.
  • Send a copy of your final transcript and certification of graduation to your law school.

After Graduation

  • More and more students who want to pursue a legal career are taking time off between graduating from college and beginning law school to pursue a variety of personal or professional interests. Law schools, especially highly selective law schools, are seeking to expand the number of such students in each class.
  • Before graduating, obtain at least one letter of recommendation from a professor and place it on file using the LSAC's Credential Assembly Service (CAS) letter of recommendation service. As the years between college and law school increase, so does the risk of professors transferring to other institutions, retiring, dying, or forgetting about you. While you can obtain letters of recommendation from employers, volunteer coordinators, and pastors, at least one academic letter of recommendation will make your application more attractive to law schools.
  • Generally, begin the application process one to two years before you plan to start law school and follow the timetable for juniors and seniors. Remember that you will be submitting your application almost a year before you begin law school. Bottlenecks to avoid include taking the LSAT and getting transcripts from all undergraduate institutions where you received college credit to the CAS.

 

Freshman Year 

  • Focus on completing your general education requirements.
  • Since your GPA is cumulative and an important component of the law school admissions criteria, work hard to excel in your courses. Remember that if you are applying to law school during your senior year, the law school admissions office will only be looking at grades from your freshman, sophomore and junior years.
  • Introduce yourself to the Pre-Law Advisor and place your name on the pre-law emailing list by seeing the Office Coordinator for the Politics and International Relations Department.
  • Set a goal of getting to know one professor reasonably well each academic year so that at the end of three or four years you have three or four professors who can write letters of recommendation for law school or provide references for internships or jobs. A professor who knows you and your abilities and accomplishments will be in a better position to provide a meaningful letter of recommendation or reference. You can accomplish this goal by making the effort to schedule meetings with professors during office hours, taking advantage of the Dine-with-a-Mind lunch program, becoming a teaching assistant, or seeking ways to work and collaborate with professors on their research projects.
  • Begin developing a portfolio of your best papers and projects that can be used as writing samples for job and internships and to assist professors in writing letters of recommendation and references.
  • Begin exploring the legal profession. Use family, church, and community connections to get names of attorneys in different practice areas. Use the time during breaks and vacations to conduct informational interviews with these attorneys, to “shadow” them for a day or a week, or to work as an intern in their office.
  • Pray for discernment about God’s calling for your life and the wisdom to make choices to fulfill this call. Explore the gifts God has given you.
  • Join a campus group or organization both to provide a source of social and personal support and to make your law school application more interesting. For the purpose of your law school application, the quality rather than the quantity of extracurricular activities matters.
  • Become involved in the Pre-Law Society and attend law-related programs on campus.

Sophmore Year 

  • Continue the activities suggested for your freshman year.
  • As you complete your general education requirements and have more flexibility in your schedule, take courses that will help you make informed decisions about your major and the courses you will take during your junior and senior years. Focus on courses that strengthen your reading comprehension, writing, communication, reasoning and analytical skills.
  • Choose a major in an area that interests you since law schools do not have a required or preferred undergraduate major. If you are interested in exploring the law and legal issues and in strengthening the skills used in law school, consider undertaking the coursework necessary for the Pre-Law Studies Certificate Program in addition to the requirements of your major and make arrangements for the law-related internship required for the Pre-Law Studies Certificate Program.

Junior Year 

Fall

  • Continue the activities suggested for your freshman and sophomore years.
  • Contact the Pre-Law Advisor to review your academic record and your extracurricular, work, and other experiences and to discuss the law school application process.
  • Select a date to take the Law School Admissions Test. The LSAT is offered four times a year in February, June, either late September or early October, and December. You should take the LSAT only after you have spent a significant amount of time preparing for the test, so select a date that provides you with enough time to get ready for the test. Most law school applicants take the LSAT either the summer of their junior year or the fall of their senior year so that their applications can be submitted during the fall of their senior year.
  • Take a practice LSAT to determine areas of strength and weakness.

Spring

  • Register with the Law School Admissions Council by going to the LSAC website >> .
  • Register for the LSAT by going to the website >>.  Register as early as you can so that you can reserve a spot in the most convenient test center for you. The registration deadline for the LSAT is usually one month prior to the test date. When you register for the LSAT, please authorize the LSAC to release your data to the Pre-Law Advisor. Your personal data remains confidential, but it will help the Pre-Law Advisor in advising future students.
  • If you are taking the LSAT in June, prepare for the test either by using preparatory materials from the Pre-Law Library and private companies or by taking a preparation class.
  • Use the materials in the Pre-Law Library to start researching law schools.
  • Have initial discussions with professors about providing letters of recommendation.

Summer

  • Take the LSAT if you are taking the test in June. If you are taking the LSAT in September/October, prepare for the test either by using preparatory materials from the Pre-Law Library and private companies or by taking a preparation class.
  • If you took the LSAT in June, you should receive your score in July. 
    Consult the Boston College Law School Locator >> and the ABA/LSAC Official Guide to U.S. Law Schools >>  to make a list of law schools that interest you and that represent a realistic possibility for admission based on your GPA and LSAT score.
  • Research your law school choices and request catalogs, applications and financial aid information.
  • Begin drafting and revising your personal statement and resume.
  • Subscribe to the Credential Assembly Service (CAS) >> by going to LSAC website and having transcripts from all undergraduate institutions from which you have received college credits sent to the LSDAS at the very beginning of the fall semester. Verify the accuracy of the transcripts and your CAS report.

Senior Year

Fall

  • Request letters of recommendation at the very beginning of the fall semester. At least one, and preferably two, letters of recommendation should be from professors. Make sure that the recommendation writer is comfortable with providing a detailed and positive recommendation. Give the recommendation writer any necessary forms and relevant information about yourself. Most law schools want you to use the letter of recommendation service provided by the CAS.
  • Take the LSAT if you are taking the test in September/October. You should receive your score in late October. Based on your LSAT score and your GPA, use the Boston College Law School Locator >>  and the ABA/LSAC Official Guide to U.S. Law Schools >>  to make a list of law schools that interest you and that represent a realistic possibility for admission.
  • Finalize your personal statement and resume.
  • Meet with the Pre-Law Advisor to assess your law school application strategy.
  • Prepare your law school applications. Take advantage of rolling admissions policies and complete your law school applications by December 1st at the very latest. Since most law schools begin reviewing applications as soon as they arrive, an early application may receive favorable consideration simply because there are fewer applications to compare against.

Spring

  • Check with the law schools early in January to ensure that you files are complete.
  • Complete the FAFSA and any financial aid material as early as possible in January.
  • Take appropriate action on acceptances, wait-listings and financial aid packages. Meet with the Pre-Law Advisor to assess your options. Select your law school and inform the Pre-Law Advisor of your choice.
  • Send a copy of your final transcript and certification of graduation to your law school.

After Graduation

  • More and more students who want to pursue a legal career are taking time off between graduating from college and beginning law school to pursue a variety of personal or professional interests. Law schools, especially highly selective law schools, are seeking to expand the number of such students in each class.
  • Before graduating, obtain at least one letter of recommendation from a professor and place it on file using the LSAC's Credential Assembly Service (CAS) letter of recommendation service. As the years between college and law school increase, so does the risk of professors transferring to other institutions, retiring, dying, or forgetting about you. While you can obtain letters of recommendation from employers, volunteer coordinators, and pastors, at least one academic letter of recommendation will make your application more attractive to law schools.
  • Generally, begin the application process one to two years before you plan to start law school and follow the timetable for juniors and seniors. Remember that you will be submitting your application almost a year before you begin law school. Bottlenecks to avoid include taking the LSAT and getting transcripts from all undergraduate institutions where you received college credit to the CAS.