If you have taken the LSAT, congratulations to you! Now what do you do while you await the results?
We asked Senior Consultant Heike Spahn to take a moment and give some advice as to what your next steps should be.
The first thing that came to mind for Heike was whether recent LSAT test-takers should cancel their score. That decision has to be made soon, as according to LSAC, “written requests for score cancellations must be received by LSAC within nine calendar days of the test.”
“Typically, there are pros and cons as to whether someone should cancel their score,” says Heike. “Fortunately for October test takers, you can retake the exam in December and still be competitive for the following fall.” So what does an applicant do who’s not sure how they did on the test?
The best advice, according to Heike, is to “speak with someone who can evaluate the rest of your application and provide you with a non-biased opinion as to your competitiveness. I know sitting for the LSAT is not a joy (I’ve done it), so please be assured that my colleagues and I only recommend taking the test again if we think it is truly beneficial or necessary.”
Now’s the time during the lull as you await your scores to look over the other parts of your application. One thing to keep in mind is that most applicants to an ABA accredited school clear the same academic hurdles you’re facing. So you need to make especially sure your more ‘personal’ sections – the essays, “wow” factors, your personal statement and possibly even addenda – all reflect who you are and where you want to go. The law school admission process is more than just a “who has the best numbers” system; it’s a chance for you to stand out in the crowd and show the admissions committee you have something long-lasting to offer the school.
Another step in the application process to consider at this time is the ever-present question of money – and if you should apply for financial aid. But is it too early to start thinking about it? “Typically, most applicants begin the financial aid application process in January or February,” replies Heike. “It’s difficult to begin earlier than that because you will want your tax information to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and the FAFSA is used to determine your eligibility for federal loans.”
So no need to think about it at this point? Not necessarily, says Heike. “If you anticipate securing private loans (in addition to federal loans) to fund your legal education, I highly recommend obtaining a copy of your credit report now. The sooner you receive that report, the sooner you can clean up any credit problems.” Heike also added that oftentimes, these reports contain inaccurate information, so getting one now will allow you plenty of time to correct any mistakes. “I recommend making sure you have good credit prior to applying for a private loan.”
Lastly, one thing you might want to hold off on is your letters of recommendation. Oftentimes, it’s best to wait until you have your LSAT scores so you know what to have your recommenders focus on about you. Instead, start taking a look at getting your list of extracurriculars together, tightening your resume, and put some more time in researching your target schools. Get to know what they’re looking for and make sure they’re the right fit for you. If you’ve got a pressing question about law school admissions process, you can give us a ring at 1.800.809.0800 or by email.
– Contributed by Senior Consultant Heike Spahn. Heike served as Associate Director of Admissions and Assistant Dean of Financial Aid at the University of Chicago Law School.