Applying to Law School
Law School Application Materials
LSAC is the gateway to the entire law school admission process. While students and alumnae/i applying to graduate school must typically submit individual application packets to each school, LSAC has a Credential Assembly Service (CAS) that streamlines the admission process: you only have to send your transcripts, recommendations, and evaluations to LSAC one time.
It is important to get your application in as early as possible if the law schools you are applying to have rolling admissions or early decision opportunities that you wish to capitalize upon (so long as it does not come at the expense of the quality of your application).
Registering for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is the beginning of the process for most applicants. The LSAT is paper-based test and held only 4 times a year (generally September or October, December, February, and June), so it is important to schedule your LSAT date to allow plenty of time to obtain your score before any of your law school application deadlines. The following official LSAT website provides you with specific information on test content, dates, and locations. You will receive your LSAT score by email approximately three weeks after taking the test. Exam scores are usually valid for 3 to 5 years, depending on the school.
If you are considering taking a test preparation course or purchasing test preparation books we encourage you to make use of Clear Admit's LSAT Test Prep Guide to help you compare test prep options; Clear Admit also contains coupons to multiple test prep companies.
Essay or Personal Statement
The purpose of the personal statement is to articulate your goals and reasons for applying to graduate school in your particular field of study. Discuss how your background and qualifications have prepared you for graduate work and show evidence of your motivation to succeed. Personal Statements should represent your best writing efforts and be proofread carefully. Successful essays often go through many drafts and revisions.
Our Writing the Personal Statement publication provides more detail on personal statements and prompts to help get you started. The CDO is available to review drafts of personal statements/statements of purpose (and any additional application materials) prior to your application deadlines.
Resume or CV
Come by the CDO or download a copy of our Resume Guide for assistance. Stop by the CDO to receive feedback on your resume/CV draft and work closely with a Career Counselor to ensure that it is polished before you submit your application.
Request official copies of your transcript from the Registrar’s Office (http://registrar.vassar.edu/) and from every college you have attended (even if you were not awarded a degree). If you are sending a transcript before completing your degree, you will likely also be asked to provide a final transcript at the end of your last semester.
Letters of Recommendation
Most law school applications require 2-3 letters of recommendation is standard, but applicants should always check each school's specific requirements.
When asking someone to write a letter of recommendation, do so in person if at all possible - and be sure to ask your recommenders early in the application process. Only ask individuals who know you well enough to write a meaningful reference. Provide your recommenders with appropriate details such as a transcript, resume/CV, example of your class work, or any accomplishments, special projects or promotions, and any relevant details on the law schools you are applying to. Letters which are detailed and specific are usually more valuable to your candidacy.
The Career Development Office maintains a reference letter mailing service for all students and alumnae/i. Check with our Administrative Assistant to open a file. Any letters of recommendation for health professions should go to the Office of Fellowships and Pre-Professional Advising.
An addendum is not required, but is sometimes justified to include in a law school application. An addendum is a brief note to the admissions committee explaining (not excusing) why there is some type of discrepancy in your application. For example, perhaps you struggled in school your freshman year resulting in a poor GPA; however, upon returning from your mission your school performance greatly improved. Work with a Pre-Law Advisor to draft and edit addenda prior to submitting them to ensure they are appropriate.
Some schools will require an interview for acceptance. Remember that the goal in any interview is to communicate to the interviewer that you are ready for and excited about their law school.
Law school interviews can take various forms: one-on-one meeting, group interview, campus/faculty visits, panel interviews, and/or phone/Skype interviews. Here are some general guidlines to help you papre before a graduate and professional school interview:
- Do your homework: Know the school, the program, and the faculty, especially those that you want to work with while in the program. There was a reason why you applied to this school and chose this field -- recall why and convey that during the interview.
- Know your goals: Consider whether your goal is to teach, to do research, to go into industry, etc. Really think about what areas of law you are interested in or what stands out to you about the courses this particular school offers.
- Review your transcript: Be aware of "glitches" in your transcript and be prepared to explain them. In addition, remind yourself of commitments outside of academica that may have contributed to making you a strong candidate to succeed in graduate school.
- Practice: Schedule a mock interview with the CDO or an appointment to discuss interview strategies so you are more prepared for the interview.
- Prepare questions for the end of the interview: Most likely you will be given a chance to ask your own questions. Ask meaningful questions that demonstrate you have researched the law school and field carefully, as well as ones that show you've been listening to the interviewer. It's also appropriate to ask when you can expect to hear from the admissions committee.
- Be prepared to answer the following questions:
- Tell me about yourself.
- What do you know about our program and why did you choose to apply to our program?
- What other law schools are you considering?
- How has your previous experience and academic background prepared you for law school?
- How will you make a contribution to this field?
- What are your professional/career goals? How will this program help you achieve those goals?
- What areas of law do you think you might be interested in?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- What do you believe will be your greatest challenge if you are accepted into this program?