« on: May 15, 2010, 08:08:55 PM »
Everything they said, plus, you're not early, if you're right on time, so get on it...
It is spring '10 now. If you want to attend law school the Fall '11, you need to get your application and alllllllll the related and required materials in to the schools by November 15 (because you need to take the LSAT in October).
In the meantime, go ahead and get professors you were star student with to write you letters of recommendations NOW, not when school starts back in the fall NOW, because they always take 2-3 months to do it (and make sure to give them a one month deadline when you talk to them and explain to them about the letter and what it needs to say...because I have the feeling that had I told them a 2-3 month deadline they might have taken 4-6 months to actually get it in to the LSAC). The professors you ask should be asked by phone with details sent in email, or in person if you are still in their town. Send them or take them your resume, a writing sample from a project, case study, or term paper you did in their class (or someone else's class if needs be), your unofficial transcripts, and the LSAC cover sheet for the LOR signed by you.
Buy the bibles mentioned and 30 tests books if you can't afford the prep courses...and take them all. Order the bibles and books now, spend a month or so on the bibles and the drills in them, then another 2 months or so on the timed practice tests.
Write your personal statement and try not to read anyone else's statement before you begin yours, that way you come original. brainstorm from every angle (why you want to practice law, what you think makes you good enough/talented enough for law school/being a lawyer, what type of law you are attracted to, why, what makes you different from most people you know, what drives you to succeed in life, what experiences made you see the world or yourself in a new way, what terrible things happened to you or people close to you that you had to get past and succeed in spite of, etc.).
From the brainstorm (words, phrases, concepts, anything, write them all down) make an outline or a few outlines so you have options.
You can piece that together into one cohesive story, or have a personal statement and a diversity statement arise out of it all.
After you are done writing them, edit and rewrite and get input from lawyers in the area or professors or english majors etc. It needs to be original, the first paragraph needs to grab the reader's attention and encourage them to keep reading (they are reading THOUSANDS of these things a month!)...only after that would i say to look at any sample essays. That way the writing style and content of others' essays won't influence (or worse, intimidate) you.
Get a copy of your criminal record from all states you have lived in (i.e., do a background check on yourself to make sure nothing pops up you are unaware of) and check your credit, you are entitled to one free copy of your credit report every year from annualcreditreport.com and there CAN be errors you want to fix!
Get a Dean's letter from the dean of your department certifying that you are in good standing. Some schools will want this you don't want to wait on ANYthing when October gets here except your LSAT score.
Anything abnormal in your academic or criminal records including a semester of withdrawals, write a very short and brief addendum for, like bullet points that get to the point explaining and get out. Avoid having an addendum if possible, it's not something that looks good to have if there are no glaring issues they will wonder about.
Oh yeah: diversity statement does not have to have ANYTHING to do with race. Socio-economic background, extracurricular standouts like being a star athlete or a study abroad IN AN UNUSUAL COUNTRY (Europe is out, english speaking countries where the majority population is white...they're out...better to have done a French study abroad in Guadeloupe and actually contributed something to the community than to have been on the beaches of the French Riviera)...what else...foster child (that remained a ward of the state til emancipation), published work, etc. Whatever is different about you that adds to the perspectives in their class and/or relates to the interest you have in the law.