Getting into law school is no easy task, and getting into a top law school is an even tougher one. Develop a strategic approach and attack the application process full-force.

Timing Is Everything

Most schools employ a rolling admissions process that heavily favors those people who submit their applications as early as possible. You should aim to submit all of your applications, regardless of due dates, by late November or early December, if not earlier. Ideally, give yourself about a year, starting in January to complete all the necessary steps.

The LSAT

Unlike the GRE, the LSAT is only offered four times each year (usually February, June, October and December), and the deadline for registering is about a month in advance. We suggest taking a free LSAT practice test in January to calculate your diagnostic score. In February, start thinking about an LSAT prep course (we strongly recommend in-person or online courses). In March, check out the LSAT section of the LSAC website, which will provide LSAT test dates, registration deadlines, and the logistical information you'll need to know for the big day.

The CAS

The Credential Assembly Service (CAS) is a service provided by the LSAC and is required by most ABA-approved law schools. For a fee, CAS will assemble a report containing your transcript, LSAT scores, and letters of recommendation. Aim to register for the CAS around July so that you can complete your file as soon as possible. After you apply to the law schools of your choice, they will contact the CAS directly and request a copy of your report.

Transcripts and Recommendations

In August contact your colleges to ask that your transcript be sent to the CAS. As for recommendations, it's best to wait until September, when professors are getting back in the swing of things. Consider which professors know you well enough to offer solid predictions (and positive impressions) for your future performance.

Shopping Around

Check out school stats to find out where your GPA and test scores will fit comfortably within the application pool. Most people apply to somewhere between six and ten schools (you won't need to stress if you pick a range of safeties, realistic choices, and reach schools). August is a good time to touch base with your prelaw advisor and settle on a favorite few.

The Application and Personal Statement

Start working on your applications and personal statements around September. While your applications will be relatively straightforward to complete, your personal statement will most definitely benefit from careful ruminations and multiple revisions. Ask some people who know you well—and have good critical eyes—to read your personal statement to make sure that it communicates your character. Admissions officers will appreciate a clear indication of what attracted you to law and what particular field interests you.