The Ultimate Law School Application Timeline

Stephanie Ripley

By: Stephanie Ripley

Once upon a time, I thought law school was going to be in my future.

I held a love for reading and writing. Heck, I even majored in English. After I informed my friends and family about my declared major, they always asked: “So you want to be an English teacher?” My response was a definitive “no.”  

Truth be told, I had no idea what I was going to do after graduating with an English degree, but I knew a master’s degree of some sort was in my future.

I somehow settled on law after researching which careers matched my skill set, and I began executing my plan to apply to law school. Without a pre-law advisor, my first instincts were to take a Business Law class (which I loved and highly recommend) and obtain a law firm internship (which I also recommend).  

My second reaction was to study for the LSAT. So off to Barnes and Nobles I went to purchase the first LSAT prep book I spotted. I registered for the February exam because I saw deadlines for the application were February 15th (this made sense to me at the time). I studied for maybe a month and took one full-length practice test before sitting for the exam. Once I got my score back, I promptly submitted my application to two schools and gave myself a pat on the back for my hard work.

Don’t hold your breath… because this story does not end well for my law school career. I received rejection letters and sullenly turned my back on law school.  

If I only knew what I know now, I would’ve told 22-year-old Stephanie all of the things that she did wrong with her application process:

  • Law school is on a rolling admissions process; the earlier, the better!
  • Take more full length practice exams!
  • Apply to more than two schools!  

But good news! There is a silver lining to this entire story. I eventually received a master’s degree in Higher Education Administration, which brought me to my career as a pre-law advisor. I pride myself on ensuring that students don’t make the same mistakes I made many years ago.

If you have any questions about the law school timeline or process, feel free to email me at  

I hope you find this application timeline useful on your path to law school!

The Ultimate Law School Application Timeline

Year One, Prior to Applying


Begin studying for the June LSAT and register for a test date. Students typically take about three months to prepare depending on their study habits. Learn More About Studying Resources.


Start planning to secure your letters of recommendation. Law schools look for 2-3 recommendations. Ideally you want to ask work supervisors or professors who know you the best. Find Out More About Letters of Recommendation.


Continue to study for the LSAT and maintain your good grades (if still in school).


Create an LSAC account in order to register for the June LSAT. Your LSAC account will help you throughout every step of the application process.


Take the LSAT. This is the ideal time to take the LSAT in order to begin your application in the fall. You will have your scores in time to figure out the best schools to apply to.  


  • Set up your Credential Assembly Service (CAS) account with the LSAC. This account holds all of your information for applying to law school (transcripts, letters of recommendation, etc.)
  • Send your transcripts from all schools you attended. They can be sent using the CAS Transcript Request Form.
  • Prepare a draft of your personal statement.
  • Prepare or fine-tune a copy of your resume.

Late Summer

  • Continue to investigate law schools, and visit them if possible.
  • Receive LSAT score and evaluate list of schools in light of your score.
  • If necessary, register and prepare for the LSAT in the fall.
  • Consider attending an LSAC forum to learn more about specific schools and the law school admissions process.  


  • Applications open. Use your LSAC and Credential Assembly Service account to apply.
  • Check out specific requirements for individual law schools through their applications on CAS so that you can apply efficiently.


  • Take the LSAT for the first time or retake the LSAT, if necessary.
  • Finalize your personal statement and/or diversity statement.


Complete and submit online applications. You should aim to submit by Thanksgiving.


  • Begin working on your Financial Aid application through FAFSA.
  • If you’re a graduating senior, submit an updated transcript with fall grades to CAS.

Year Two, After Applying

January - June

  • Await acceptances, rejection, and waitlists.
  • Review scholarship information and weigh the pros and cons of attending particular law schools.  
  • Decide on where you will attend.
  • Submit all Dean’s Certifications if the school requires one. Check with your Judicial/Student Affairs Office on how to complete this process for your school.  

Want to see if we are a good fit to work together on your law school applications? Book a FREE consultation with me.