Pre-Law Recommended Timeline

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1 Colgate University Center for Career Services Pre-Law Recommended Timeline Discovering law as a career can begin as early as your first year of college. The application process should begin during your junior year or in the year prior to your anticipated attendance at law school. FIRST YEAR AND SOPHOMORE YEAR OF COLLEGE Enroll in courses that will enhance your communication skills, reading comprehension, logical reasoning, and analytical skills. Select courses in your major field that interest you, challenge you, are at a level that is advanced well beyond the mere introductory, demand research, and require you to express your ideas in writing. Choose a balanced and diversified course of study. Make an appointment with the pre-law advisor or a career services advisor; and your faculty advisor. Work diligently on class materials. If you need help, get it. Your transcript should reflect a performance of which you are proud. Maximum effort should be expended from the very first day of classes. Develop relationships with members of the faculty. Begin to think about whom you should ask to write letters of recommendation. In most cases, you will need letters from two professors who can specifically address your academic performance and intellectual promise. Participate in selected extracurricular activities. Your contributions and involvement should be substantive and meaningful to you. If possible, obtain leadership status and identify some way to provide service to the college and/or local community. Read broadly, including some law-related materials, and talk with law students and lawyers about the nature of legal education and the profession. Alumni are great resources from which to learn about the different areas of law. Maintain a strong academic standing. Your GPA is important in the admission process! Participate in Career Services A Day in the Life program and shadow a lawyer over winter break. Attend Colgate s Law School Fair held in late September/early October every year. Join Colgate s Pre-law Society. Manage your undergraduate finances wisely, to be prepared for the expense of law school. Check out the Pre-law Advising website regularly for programming news and updates, go to select Graduate School and then select Pre-law Advising. JUNIOR YEAR OF COLLEGE Fall Semester: Schedule an appointment with the pre-law advisor during first semester. Issues to be addressed include: current academic status; LSAT preparation and individualized time frame; references; current trends and expectations; personal preparedness; preliminary research of schools; LSDAS; the application process and requirements. Academic course of study should demonstrate depth, persistence and perseverance. Continue to maintain a good GPA and select elective courses carefully. Study The Official Guide to U.S. Law Schools! Read, cover to cover, the LSAT/LSDAS Information Book! Attend pre-law workshops and meet with law school representatives visiting campus. Attend the Colgate University Law School Fair in September/October. Attend an LSAC Law School Forum (Boston or New York are the nearest sites to Hamilton).

2 JUNIOR YEAR OF COLLEGE Spring Semester: Prepare (or continue preparation) for the LSAT. Decide whether to test in June, after junior year concludes, or in the fall of your senior year. Begin with a Diagnostic Test. A formal prep course and/or individual study with appropriate material is strongly advised. A major commitment of your time and energy is necessary. If testing in June, register prior to the deadline noted in the LSAT/LSDAS Information Book (Late registration by mail/phone is possible for a fee.) If you are requesting a fee waiver, you must obtain the Fee Waiver Forms and submit documentation earlier than the registration deadline! You may subscribe to LSDAS when registering for the June LSAT, or wait until the fall of your senior year. Your LSDAS account registration is active for five years, and will renew if you register for the LSAT a second time. Schedule an appointment with the pre-law advisor. Attend pre-law workshops. Review your individual timeline. Create or purchase a calendar or make your own spreadsheet to be used solely for the application process. Continue to evaluate your decision: Obtain information about and exposure to law-related careers and legal education. Career Services can connect you to alumni in the field of law for advice about law school and law practice through the Colgate Connection. Evaluate your financial situation. Identify faculty members for recommendation letters; discuss your plans with them and request permission to use them as references. Inform them of your tentative time frame for submission of applications. Prepare a résumé to be submitted to faculty, along with forms from law schools, envelopes, postage, etc., in the fall. You might also prepare a list of accomplishments and highlights and submit a copy of a paper or two you wrote for the faculty. Prepare a list of law schools which are of interest to you include information about requirements for admission as well as curriculum structure, special programs and electives, size of library, clinical experiences, etc. SUMMER FOLLOWING JUNIOR YEAR Contact law schools for applications, catalogues/bulletins, and information about special programs. Visit law schools. Make appointments in advance for a tour, appointment with an admissions representative, attend a class, and possibly meeting with a current student or faculty member. Be aware of open houses at your top choice law schools. Update your résumé. Prepare a first draft of your personal statement. Review your June LSAT score. Meet with the Pre-Law Advisor to discuss concerns with your score. Create or revise your selection of law schools, evaluating your strengths and weaknesses realistically. Consider alternative plans. Register for the fall LSAT, if you did not test in June. (Late registration by mail/phone is possible for a fee. If you are requesting a fee waiver, you must obtain the Waiver Forms and submit documentation earlier than the registration deadline.)

3 SENIOR YEAR OF COLLEGE Fall Semester: Register with the pre-law advisor. Decide where you will apply. Although your decision is strictly an individual one, pre-law students tend to select from 8 to 12 law schools. If you are testing in the fall, continue to prepare for the LSAT. Subscribe to LSDAS in August or September. Once you subscribe, you will have access to your File Status and Activity Updates. Check regularly and read carefully! Using the Transcript Request Form found online at send your undergraduate transcript(s) to LSDAS. (First obtain your own copy and check it for accuracy.) LSDAS Law School Reports are normally processed within two weeks. Schedule an appointment with the pre-law advisor to review the following: your list of schools; your personal essay(s); other important concerns. Attend pre-law workshops, and the Colgate University Law School Fair in October. Attend an LSAC Law School Forum (Boston or New York, are the nearest sites to Hamilton). In accordance with your timeline, distribute recommendation forms and other material to professors. (Plan ahead! Account for approximately three to four weeks for the professor to complete the recommendation.) Read each school's instructions carefully. Some schools require professors to send letters directly to them, while other schools require the student to retrieve all recommendation letters and submit them with the app1ication material. The LSDAS also offers a Recommendation Service which may be preferable as the recommendations are sent directly to the LSDAS and law schools to which you apply receive the recommendations as part of your report. Forms can be downloaded from the LSDAS website if you choose this method. Maintain good and organized records, keeping copies of all important documents. Maintain a binder with all of your law school application materials and/or create a file folder for each school you have applied to. Prepare a thorough checklist, noting dates each task was undertaken and completed! Several schools require you to provide a Dean s Certification. This is a check to see whether there is any disciplinary action on your permanent record. Schools that request this letter often do so to ensure their graduates meet the state bar requirements. Your Administrative Advisor in the Dean s Office completes these forms for Colgate students. It is highly recommended that you make an appointment with your administrative advisor in September/October to review your record for accuracy. The following should be taken to your administrative advisor meeting: the individual law school s form; pre-addressed, postage paid envelope that goes to the school or back to the applicant; current resume or CV; LSAT scores; and any knowledge of an anomaly in your file. As with your recommendations, be sure to give your administrative advisor ample time to complete the Dean s Certifications for you. Make final revisions to your personal statement(s). Complete and submit all law school applications as early as possible, preferably between October 15th and December lst. A mid-november timeline is preferable if you plan to take advantage of the rolling admissions. Many law school deans have indicated that early is important for candidates interested in institutional scholarship money. Be sure that applications are complete and keep copies! If you do not receive a card from the law schools, follow-up with them to determine that your app1ication files are complete. This is your responsibility!! Research and apply for grants, scholarship and financial aid, both school-related and outside award programs.

4 SENIOR YEAR OF COLLEGE End of Fall into Spring Semester: Send first semester senior grades to law schools via the Transcript Request Form to LSDAS. If you re-tested in December and want the law schools to defer reaching a decision about you until they receive your December score, you must inform the schools yourself. Early January obtain and complete the FAFSA, Free Application for Federal Student Aid, with your estimated income tax reports. You will later receive an SAR, Student Aid Report, to make adjustments as needed. For Federal Financial Aid purposes all graduate students are considered Independent Students. As soon as you begin to get decisions from schools, decide whether you need to apply to additional schools or investigate optional programs. Update law schools you have not yet heard from regarding new evidence to support your application such as honors or awards. When you have chosen your law school, mail in the appropriate deposit and confirmation forms. Then notify all other schools that you are withdrawing your application from their application review process or declining their offer of acceptance. Some state bar associations inquire about the law school admission records of those seeking admission to the bar. You should keep and maintain complete copies of all law school application records throughout the admission cycle and your law school career. Communicate your plans with the pre-law advisor and send thank you correspondence to your recommenders. DEAN S CERTIFICATION (information obtained at PLANC, Pre-law Advising National Conference, June 2007) Law Schools Requiring Dean s Certification/Letter in J.D. First Year Application Materials: Boston University Brigham Young University Brookly n Law School Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law (**if applicant has been subject to academic or disciplinary action) Columbia University (**if applicant has been subject to academic or disciplinary action) University of Connecticut Cornell University Duke University (**if applicant has been subject to academic or disciplinary action) Howard University University of Richmond University of Southern California (**if applicant has been subject to academic or disciplinary action) Southern Illinois University (**if applicant has been subject to academic or disciplinary action) Stanford University Suffolk University University of Washington Law Schools Requiring a Dean s Certification after an applicant is accepted and chooses to enroll: Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law (see also above) Columbia University (see also above) Georgetown University Harvard University New York University University of Pennsylvania Stetson University Wake Forest University

5 INTERVIEWING WITH LAW SCHOOL REPRESENTATIVES The majority of schools do not require individual interviews, yet this doesn t mean that when you are visiting the school or talking to a representative on the phone that you shouldn t be asking them questions. While interviewing or speaking informally with law personnel, we would encourage you to ask, among other things, some or all of the following questions: How would you evaluate the overall quality of your law school program? Are there opportunities for law students to take courses not directly related to the law program? Are there opportunities for internships or other clinical experiences? Does your school participate in law review or similar programs? What methods of instruction are utilized at your school? What types of support services are available to students? What is the student body like? What is your financial aid program like? What placement services are provided? What types of employment options are there after completing your program? Where do your graduates go after completing the program? Into what types of work experience do they enter?

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