Applying to Law School

Law School Admissions Timeline

Some law students enter law school directly from their undergraduate studies.  However, approximately, two-thirds of law school applicants take at least one year between graduation and law school.

The decision of whether to take time off between undergraduate studies and law school is a personal one.  In general, students should begin to research law schools at least 18 months before they intend to enter law school.  Students should take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) at least one year before they intend to enter law school.  First-time test takers should start preparing for the LSAT three to six months before their test date.


Below is a timeline to consider in preparation for law school admission.  Please keep in mind that there is no one ideal path to law school so this timeline may be adjusted based on the student’s individualized needs and goals.

Always check with individual law schools to ensure that these guidelines are consistent with school-specific deadlines.  Students are also encouraged to thoroughly review the Law School Admission’s Council’s (LSAC’s) Steps to Apply and meet with the pre-law academic advisor for additional guidance with this process.

In addition, AccessLex, a national organization committed to promoting access to legal education, offers a free interactive resource called “Ask EDNA” to answer questions about applying to and financing law school.

  • Take interesting and meaningful classes. Consider branching out and selecting courses that are outside of your comfort zone.
  • Select a major that is interesting and exciting to you
  • Prioritize academics
  • Get involved with organizations and activities that support your personal and professional interests and potential career goals
  • Begin building relationships with professors and other mentors
  • Learn about the legal field through classes, pre-law events, and networking
  • Connect with the Pre-Law Academic Advisor
  • Create a J.D. Applicant Account on LSAC’s website
  • Attend law school admission events
  • Continue to focus on academics and do as best as you can in all courses
  • Network with attorneys, including UMBC alumni
  • Seek hands-on experience through internships, volunteer work, or job shadowing
  • Attend a law school fair or forum, and begin or continue to research different schools and programs
  • Connect with the Pre-Law Academic Advisor for additional guidance
  • Visit law school campuses
  • Participate in leadership activities
  • Research legal career paths
  • Begin preparing for the LSAT
  • Take advantage of free LSAT practice tests using LSAC’s LawHub
  • Continue preparing for LSAT
  • Consider taking the LSAT in June or August before your senior year (or approximately one year before you intend to enroll in law school)
  • Apply for LSAC Fee Waiver and request testing accommodations on LSAC.org, if needed
  • Prepare for and take (or re-take) the LSAT, ideally no later than September or October
  • Meet with the Pre-Law Academic Advisor for additional guidance about your law school application process and strategy
  • Request and secure letters of recommendation from professors and mentors and/or supervisors
  • Draft, revise, and finalize application materials (e.g., personal statement, resume, applicable optional essays, and any necessary addenda)
  • Request your transcripts
  • Find and apply for law school scholarships on AccessLex.org and LSAC.org 
  • Finalize list of schools
  • Submit law school applications*

*Note:  Most law schools have a competitive “rolling” admission policy.  Prospective students should typically plan to submit their completed applications in mid-November.  Be sure to review school-specific deadlines.

For more information, please contact the Pre-Law Academic Advisor at mtimko@umbc.edu