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Law School Application Timeline*

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  • Take courses that will enhance your writing, reading comprehension and analytical skills. Develop your logical reasoning ability and increase your awareness of human institutions, social values, and the world at large.
  • Develop a realistic view of legal careers. Look for opportunities to obtain law-related experience. Talk with lawyers about their work.  
  • Choose a major that represents your own academic interests. Be serious about your studies. Your grades are a very important part of your law school application.
  • Visit professor office hours regularly and get to know your faculty.
  • Find the right balance between academic coursework and extracurricular activities. Pursue your interests outside of class, but not at the expense of your grades.
  • Meet with a pre-law advisor in the Dornsife College Advising Office.
  • Familiarize yourself with the pre-law website.
  • Sign-up for the USC Pre-Law Listserv.
  • Join the Pre-Law Society and other pre-law groups.
  • Attend pre-law related events and workshops.
  • Volunteer for the annual USC Law Fair.


  • Talk to professors about letters of recommendation.
  • Meet with a pre-law advisor.
  • Attend pre-law related events and workshops.
  • Think about your decision to go to law school and research other career options if you are not sure. Remember that many first-year law students take time off between college and law school.
  • If planning to study abroad during your Senior year, be sure to discuss what you will need to do regarding law school with the pre-paw advisors.
  • Start thinking about your personal statement.
  • Pursue internships and other opportunities to gain experience in the law.
  • Begin to consider how you will finance your legal education.
  • Volunteer for or attend the annual USC Law School Fair.
  • Begin LSAT preparation.


  • Register for and take the June LSAT.
  • Become familiar with the services offered by the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC)
  • Sign-up for LSAC's Credential Assembly Service (CAS).
  • Research law schools and prepare a preliminary list of target schools.
  • Start working on your personal statement.


  • Take the October LSAT, if necessary.
  • Make sure your list of schools is realistic.
  • Schedule an appointment with a pre-Law advisor in Dornsife College Advising.
  • Attend the pre-law workshops.
  • Get your Dean’s certificate from the Office of the Vice-President for Student Affairs, STU 201.
  • Attend the annual USC Law Fair.
  • Complete financial aid applications, including the FAFSA, as soon after January 1st as possible. The earlier the better!
  • Expect to receive admissions decisions anytime from December through late spring. Patience is necessary, and let us know how you’re doing!
  • If accepted, celebrate! Investigate financial aid, housing, etc.
  • If rejected or wait-listed, don’t panic. Talk to the pre-law advisors and the law schools. Remember – applicants are drawn from the wait lists through the beginning of school!

*If you are taking time off between graduation and applying to law school, then please adjust this timeline accordingly.

Applying This Fall

Planning on applying to law school this fall? Make sure you do the following:

1. Familarize yourself with the services offered by the Law School Admission Coucil (LSAC)
2. Register for and take the LSAT
3. Sign-up for the LSAC- Credential Assembly Service (CAS)
4. Submit offical transcripts to LSAC
5. Research law schools
6. Meet with a member of the Pre-Law Advising Team to discuss application and potential schools
7. Request letters of recommendation
8. Attend pre-law workshops and law school information sessions
9. Write your personal statement(s)
10. Check your CAS file regularly ofr accuracy and completion
11. Submit applications before the deadline*
12. File financial aid applications

*Need a Dean's Certificate? Submit your form for completion to the Office of the Vice President of Student Affairs (STU 201) 213.740.2421