Time Line for Law School

These time lines are designed to provide both helpful suggestions for ways of exploring the option of law school, as well as some useful reminders as you approach the actual application process.  Please note that for your first three years of college, these time lines can serve much like a schedule, helping you to stay “on track”, but should not be seen as a required structure, or prescribed coarse of action to be followed.

First-Year | Sophomore | Junior | Senior

Reminder:  There is no formal pre-law course of study, program, or status at Wesleyan.  Any Wesleyan student with any major can apply – and gain admission – to law school.  Law schools like to see applicants who bring both a breadth and depth of academic study to law school, as well as evidence that applicants have challenged themselves during their years in college.  Meet with the Pre-Law Advisor if you have questions!

First Year

Explore and learn more about your general interests, convictions and values.  What types of people and activities in life appeal to you?  Focus on and explore academic opportunities; discover your passions: what courses, campus activities, and organizations are most compelling to you?  Your tasks this year are less concrete than the next three years.  So, your first step is to complete your MyCC Profile, in order to get on the Pre-Law email list.

After this, if you are really focused on getting a start on the road to law school, you can start exploring the field of law.   Read career books at the Career Center and explore the field online, via the Career Center Web site Law section.  Recommended books in the CC's Olson Commons: The Happy Lawyer, Best Friends at the Bar (for women), and 1L of a Ride (about the first year of law school).

After you have done your reading, see the Pre-Law Advisor for tips on how to talk to attorneys for career insight, specifically about the nature of their work, their daily work routine, and the rewards/frustrations of the job.  Questions to ask:

·        Why did you choose to practice law?  When did you decide to do it?

·        What is the daily nature of your work?  How would you describe and sum up the job of an attorney?

·        What skills, abilities, and personality traits do you believe are necessary for success in the legal field?  What type of people do lawyers tend to be?

·        What kind of satisfaction do you derive from law?  What do you find frustrating?  If you could change something about your job, or the legal field in general, what would it be?

Start to visit professors during their office hours; have lunch with them.  Establish relationships with two or three.  You will need two strong recommendation letters from professors when you apply to law school.

Consider one or two campus activities, e.g., writing for the Argus, WesDEMS, theater (there are many options!), that interest you sufficiently to pursue leadership roles.  Leadership increases your self-confidence and helps you gain useful interpersonal skills -- a law schools like to admit leaders!  There is no best or correct campus activity to prepare you for law school.  There are, however, some that can provide you relevant skills and career insight: Wesleyan Mock Trial, the Wesleyan Pre-Law Society, and the Woodrow Wilson Debate Society.  Check here for others.

Summer

This is a good time to continue exploring the field of law.  It’s not too early to contact law firms for a summer job.  Working inside a law firm or other related environment is a good way to deepen your understanding of what the field really entails.  Law is not for everyone!

Sophomore Year

Continue your strong focus on academics; take a variety of courses, for breadth of study.  Your major will provide the requisite depth. Law schools like to see broad intellectual interest.  Choose ANY major you want.  Attemd the Career Center's law school information sessions in the fall semester.

  • NOTE: there is NO correct, best, or right academic major for law school.  ALL Wesleyan majors are suitable for application to law school.  Following your deepest area(s) of interest is your best strategy when it comes to law school.
  • Engage on campus and in Middletown with organizations that tap your passion.
  • Keep researching the field: read career literature, speak to attorneys about their work, and attend campus information sessions hosted by law school admissions officers.
  • Consider your reasons for pursuing law.  Do they reflect a genuine interest in the work?  Does law fit with your personality and values?  Do you understand what lawyers actually do?
  • Look into the Career Center’s Career Outlook program for a winter break job shadow experience.  This will give you added insight into your interests, the field of law, and the daily work of a lawyer.
  • Continue to develop relationships with professors!
  • If you have a spare afternoon during the week, consider working in a Middletown law firm.  One possibility is Connecticut Legal Services in Middletown.
  • Buy some logic puzzle books, which present problems similar to those found in the Analytical Reasoning section of the LSAT, and practice this form of reasoning in your spare time, while watching TV, etc.

Law School Forums

All students should take advantage of these events, which provide the opportunity to speak directly with law school admissions officers about their programs, clinics, students, admissions standards, financial aid, and scholarships.  Look at LSAC’s Web site (www.lsac.org) for a schedule of upcoming forums.  During he fall semester, law schools visit campus individually, or in groups.  Check the MyCC calendar for a full schedule of law school visits.  Note that Wesleyan students are welcome to attend the fall law school fairs at Trinity and Yale, if scheduled for that particular year.

Pre-Law Time line for Juniors

Pre-Law Advisor:  Camille McGadney '93: Call for an appointment: 685-2180.

Reminder:  There is no formal pre-law course of study, program, or status at Wesleyan.  Any Wesleyan student with any major can apply to law school and gain admission to outstanding programs.  Law schools like to see both breadth and depth of academic studies, with a variety of challenging courses during the undergraduate years.

Junior Year

  • Meet with the Pre-Law Advisor in fall semester to discuss timeline, LSAT strategy, and your overall plans.  
  • Read about the field of law online and in the Career Center’s library.
  • Talk to attorneys about their careers (e.g., via the Wesconnect database); continue to reflect on the fit of law with your values, interests, personality and goals.  Is law a good fit for you?
  • If you have a spare afternoon during the week, consider working in a Middletown law firm.
  • Look into the Career Center’s Career Outlook program for a winter break job shadow experience, to gain insight into the work of an attorney.
  • Think about when to enter law school – immediately after Wes, or after time off?  Virtually all Wesleyan alumni say delaying law school was the best decision they ever made. 
  • Become familiar with LSAC (Law School Admission Council).
  • Start looking at the LSAT (Law School Admission Test), via LSAC’s Web site.
  • Take a Kaplan Mock LSAT – no charge.  [Note: Kaplan is updating us on this procedure, 9/3/13.]
  • Decide when to take the LSAT (e.g., June of Jr year; Sept. of Sr year); if in June, register well in advance with LSAC to secure your preferred test center.
  • Create an account with LSAC.
  • Plan strategy for test preparation; acquire practice materials (e.g., LSAC's are great, and reasonbly priced); consider taking a prep course, and/or starting a study group with classmates (if taking LSAT in June, prep over winter break and spring semester.)
  • Pay particular attention during preparation to the Analytical Reasoning (logic games) section; purchase logic game puzzle books for additional practice.
  • Test Accommodations:  If you need accommodations, plan months in advance for documentation.  Consult the LSAC Web site for instructions and timeline.

Summer After Junior Year

If you are taking the LSAT in June:

  • Research law schools on-line and begin a tentative target school list (the Pre-Law Advisor can help you with this).  Contact alumni and others who attended law school and ask for their advice and recommendations.  What have they heard on the grapevine?  Refine your list after receipt of LSAT score in July.
  • Think of potential topics for your personal statement, and outline your ideas.  Write one or more rough drafts and contact the Pre-Law Advisor for review.
  • Identify the professors you will ask for letters of recommendation.
  • Instruct the Registrar to send your official transcript to LSAC.
  • Consult LSAC and law school Web sites for financial aid information.
  • Fee Waivers:  Check LSAC’s site for fee waiver application procedures.

If you are taking the LSAT in your Senior year, your primary concern over the summer is test preparation!  After that, the above bullets still apply.

Law School Forums

All students should take advantage of these events, which provide the opportunity to speak directly with law school admissions officers about their programs, clinics, students, admissions standards, financial aid, and scholarships.  Look at LSAC’s Web site for a schedule of upcoming forums.  During the fall, numerous law schools visit campus individually, or in groups.  Check the MyCC calendar or the Law Section of the Career Center Web site for a full schedule of law school visits.  Note that Wesleyan students are welcome to attend the fall law school fairs at Trinity and Yale.

Pre-Law Time line for Seniors

Pre-Law Advisor:  Camille McGadney '93: Call for an appointment: 685-2180

Reminder:  There is no formal pre-law course of study, program, or status at Wesleyan.  Any Wesleyan student with any major can apply to law school.  Law schools like to see both breadth and depth of academic studies, and that applicants have challenged themselves during their years in college.

Summer 

If you took the LSAT in June:

  • Research law schools on-line and begin a tentative target school list.  Contact alumni and others who attended law school and ask for their advice and recommendations.  What have they heard on the grapevine?  Refine your list after receipt of LSAT score in July.
  • Think of potential topics for your personal statement, and outline your ideas.  Write one or more rough drafts and contact the Pre-Law Advisor for review.
  • Identify the professors you will ask for letters of recommendation.
  • Instruct the Registrar to send your official transcript to LSAC.
  • Consult LSAC and law school Web sites for financial aid information.
  • Fee Waivers:  Check LSAC’s site for fee waiver application procedures.

Senior Year

  • If taking the LSAT in September, continue to prepare: take complete practice tests under timed conditions!
  • Draft and polish your  personal statement; give to Pre-Law Advisor or a professor and/or an additional person to review.
  • Send transcripts to LSAC via Registrar.
  • Contact professors to write Letters Of Recommendation.  You may use either LSAC's LOR and Evaluation Service, OR, Interfolio, an online LOR service.  Interfolio is a fee-based service used by the Wesleyan Career Center.  See the respective service provider's website for details.
  • Research law schools in depth – including curriculum, clinic opportunities, faculty, placement and bar passage rates (not significant for top schools) - and create your list of target schools, pending receipt of scores in October.  Identify Reach, Match, and Safety schools; nine or ten is a typical number for applications; some students apply to more, some less.  There is no appropriate or best number.
  • After scores arrive: amend and finalize target schools list and apply:  late October through late November; mid-December at the very latest!
  • If you haven’t already, investigate your means of paying for law school.  Look up the financial aid sections on your target school Web sites.  If you need to borrow to finance your law school, can you afford it?
  • If your score is disappointing: Contact your Pre-Law Advisor, re-evaluate your target list and overall attendance timeline, consider taking the exam again.  Law schools do not count a second exam against you.  It is not recommended that you take the exam a third time, although applicants do it.
  • Plan to visit the schools that admit you.  Ask to contact any Wesleyan alumni who may be currently attending the school.
  • If you are rejected by all law schools, or decide against law school:  meet with the Pre-Law Advisor to discuss a back-up plan for after graduation.