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App Happy: The Basics (Part One)

Happy Women’s Equality Day! May your celebration of the 97th anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment include recognition of the strong women around you and the strong woman you are! 

I wanted to start a series that takes a deep dive into common law school application questions, concerns, and conundrums. To kick off this series, please find below a list of application components. For those of you looking to apply as close to the opening of the cycle as possible (some schools open applications on September 1) or those that just want to get a jump start, please use this series of posts as a guideline for all components you’ll need to complete the application process calmly and confidently. 

If you're looking for a place to start, I recommend consulting Courtney Gabbara and Bridget Shaheen's Ms. JD Pre-Law Prep Guide and the Pre-Law Index compiled by Ms. JD's Pre-Law Advisor, Genevieve Antono

With those resources consulted, let's get started! 

First things first: You will need to register with the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) and their Credential Assembly Service (CAS). The CAS fee is $185, and your account will remain active for five years. Fee waivers are available to those that need them. This service will be your gateway to LSAT registrations, application instructions, and submission of all materials, and some other helpful features, such as registration to regional law school fairs

Now that you’ve registered for CAS, it is time to take advantage of their services. I would recommend directing your attention to those components that require others’ support, i.e., your transcripts and letters of recommendation. Transcripts are required for all upper-level coursework including community colleges, undergraduate and graduate institutions, and institutions from which you took college-level courses while in high school (even if they were for high school credit). For instance, I took community college courses from two different community colleges, attended one degree-granting university, and attended another university’s study abroad program, which means in total, I submitted four transcripts. These must be official and sent directly from the institution so be sure to reference each school's policies and take advantage of LSAC’s instructions

Letters of recommendation are crucial in the application process. They can add value to your application and affirm your work ethic. Although some schools allow recommenders to submit letters directly to their admissions’ offices, facilitating the process through CAS is simple and ensures that the right letters get to the right schools. You will need your recommenders’ biographical information (including address). In entering this information, you will be able to send a link directly to your recommenders in which they can upload your letters. As a tip, be sure to properly spell all biographical information (it cannot be edited) and take advantage of the ID feature to recall the purpose of the recommendation.  

With transcripts and recommendations processing, it’s time to turn our attention to the other components of the application process. 

On the LSAC website, you can add schools to your list, a simple way to add/remove law school programs that interest you and make a note of their application deadlines. When you go to start an application, you will have one opportunity to choose the program in which you are applying. Be sure to select the JD program that applies to you.

Your LSAC application page is divided into five or six sections: 
-Application Home: the landing page for that school’s application, shows you details on the components and what you’ve completed. 
-Instructions: Everything you need to know about the law school application: the components, contact information of the school, special dates for scholarship applications, etc. Read this section thoroughly and contact the school with any questions you have.
-Application Questions: background contact, education, and character and fitness information. 
-Attachments: Upload center for your personal statement, answers to character and fitness questions, resume, diversity statement, addenda, and any other optional questions. 
-Forms (if applicable): Recommendation forms, scholarship applications, and other school-specific materials. 

In Part Two of this series, you will find a listing of the types of information that will be asked of you in your application. 

Please don’t hesitate to reach out or comment below with any questions you have about the application process or areas you need further clarification on. 

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Tatum Wheeler is a fellow law aspirant based in the San Francisco Bay Area. When she’s not working as a Research Associate, she spends her free time exploring new trails with her dogs, reading narratives, and cheering on her favorite sports teams, the Cal Bears, Oakland Athletics, and Pittsburgh Steelers. Please feel free to contact her with any questions, comments, or further advice.

 

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