Loyola University Chicago

Pre-Law Advising

Career Services

Applying to Law School

Applying to law school is a lengthy process with several different components. Several of these components are compiled through the Credential Assembly Service (CAS), administered by LSAC. The LSAC also has detailed information on the law school application process. Read below for an overview of each component of a law school application.   

Academic Record  

Undergraduate performance is generally an important indicator of how someone is likely to do in law school and is taken into careful consideration by law school admissions committees. Avoid taking too many pass/fail courses and focus on excelling academically throughout the tenure of your academic career. Average GPAs of admitted law school applicants vary widely by law school; review ABA 509 Reports for the latest data on schools of interest.   

LSAT Score  

The LSAT is a standardized test required for admission to all law schools approved by the ABA. The LSAT does not cover a certain set of subjects or disciplines (e.g., history, political science, etc.). Rather, it measures skills that are considered essential for success in law school. The LSAC is your best resource for all things LSAT. Here is some information that is of note:  

  • You can take the test five times within the current reportable score period (5 years) and a total of seven times over a lifetime. It is best to take the test only once, since law schools will receive every score you earn. 
  • You may take the LSAT either in-person at a testing center or remotely.  
  • The LSAT is designed to assess how you think, rather than content that you know. The test measures your reading, writing, and reasoning skills. 
  • Starting with the August 2024 LSAT, the composition of the test will change. Please review the information on the LSAC's website. 
  • The test is formatted into three multiple choice sections and one unscored writing section. The writing section can be taken up to eight days in advance of their test date.  
  • Starting in August 2024, the multiple-choice portion of the exam will include: two Logical Reasoning (LR) sections and one Reading Comprehension (RC) section, plus one unscored section of either LR or RC that enables LSAC to test questions for future versions of the LSAT.  
  • The LSAT is composed of four 35-minute test sections with a ten-minute intermission between the second and third sections. The multiple-choice test takes approximately 3 hours for standard test takers.  
  • Disability-related accommodations are available.  
  • LSAT scores range from 120-180. The average is about 152.  

Generally, 4-6 months of preparation is advised for the LSAT, and it is in your best interest to take the test once, since every score you receive on the LSAT will be reported in your law school application. Many students choose to use a course or test preparation service to help them prepare. Popular vendors for LSAT prep can be found below:  

Letters of Recommendation  

Law schools usually require 2-3 letters of recommendation. Faculty members are typically the best contributors of such letters. Supervisors from related internships or work experience are also good references. Consider the following advice as you request letters of recommendation:   

  • Allow appropriate time for the request; at minimum allow two weeks to complete the task. Set an earlier deadline for your letter writer than the actual deadline that is provided for the application.   
  • Choose people who can speak to your academic potential and performance as well as your personal attributes.   
  • Compile details about yourself for your references to give them specifics to refer to in their letters, such as your major and cumulative GPA, LSAT score, resume, personal statement, and a brief description of your subjective abilities or personal traits.   
  • Review LSAC’s Credential Assembly Service guide on letters of recommendation and follow their tips for submission, including waiving your rights to review the letters. Provide detailed information to your writers about how they can submit their letters of recommendation to CAS.  

What a Good Recommendation Says 
The following is a list of specific topics your references might want to incorporate in their letters:  

  • Comments on outstanding projects or papers, unique academic experiences or accomplishments,  
  • Overview of the class that you attended, its specific requirements, its level of difficulty, and your performance compared to others in the class,  
  • A note about special interests and motivation; personal qualities or background information that distinguishes you from others,  
  • Observations about your character and integrity,  
  • Remarks on academic promise in a rigorous professional program,  
  • Notes about contributions to college or community in non-academic endeavors,  
  • Comments on intellectual capacity, motivation, emotional maturity, and seriousness of purpose,  
  • Explanations of any weaknesses in your file (e.g., Although x's GPA is low...; Grading in this department is very rigorous, however...; X's choice of classes and performance demonstrate an ability to take on challenges and ...) 

Personal Statements & Resumes 

Personal statements and resumes are critical components of your law school application. These are narrative spaces for you to address the admissions committee as you would in an interview. This is an opportunity to "show" who you are as a person, demonstrate your commitment to the legal profession, explain why you are a good fit for a particular program, and to set yourself apart from other candidates. Personal statements can have a large impact on admissions decisions; if they are outstanding, it can mean an Admit rather than a Waitlist decision. 

Personal Statements 

Consider the following as you craft your personal statement:  

  • Emphasize the things that will distinguish you from other candidates (e.g. significant employment, travel, research, presentations, and/or publications).  
  • Do not emphasize shortcomings in your record in this personal statement. If you want to explain a lower GPA or LSAT score, there are supplemental addendum where you can share information briefly, factually, and honestly.  
  • Write in a direct fashion about the real experiences, events, people and how they impacted you.  
  • Speak to one particular topic or theme in each paragraph, using separate paragraphs to signify transition from one topic to the next. Be clear, organized, and reader-friendly.  
  • Limit yourself to around two double-spaced pages and pay attention to application instructions regarding length, formatting, etc.  
  • Have an advisor in Career Services or another trusted advisor review your personal statement.  
  • Do not replicate information that is available elsewhere in your application. The statement should be used to answer the question, "What do I want Dean X at Law School to know about me that isn't anywhere else?"  
  • Prompts for personal statements usually are categorized into the "why" for law school, optional diversity statements or hardship statements, as well as a required character & fitness evaluation.  
  • Common mistakes with personal statements include: spelling/grammar errors; staying too detached in your writing style-your personality should come through!; using too many "big words" and/or "legalese" and/or academic jargon; spending a limited amount of time on your personal statement; not following directions, e.g. exceeding page limits and not answering the prompt; using gimmicks such as modeling your statement as a legal brief or structuring it like a poem.

The basic outline of a personal statement should include: 

  • Introduction: make it distinctive by telling your story and identifying your topic of choice. 
  • Detailed Body Paragraphs: focused, with distinct themes and smooth transitions between each. 
  • Conclusion: summarizing your points and bringing your writing back to your introduction-close the loop. 


Because it is rare for law schools to offer interviews as a part of the admissions process, it is important to provide detailed information about your professional and academic qualifications for the study and practice of law. Your resume should generally include the following criteria:  

  • Be 1-2 pages long. 
  • Highlights your education and academic record, honors and awards, work and/or volunteer experience, leadership and service, skills, and interests. 
  • Your law school resume should not include information from your high school. 
  • Your resume should be 100% accurate with no exaggeration and thoroughly proofread.
  • Should match your GPA exactly to your transcript (don't round up or down!)
  • Additionally, you can review law schools' admissions websites for specific requirements on a resume, or you can contact their office for more information. 

Law School Application Timeline

Law school applications open each fall and align with a standard academic year (e.g. 2024-25 application cycle indicates law school starting in Fall 2025). Below you will see a month-by-month timeline to gain a sense of the process.  

Month Suggested Tasks
September Rolling applications open; look for workshops, events, and opportunities to engage with Career Services and law schools; register for the Credential Assembly Service (CAS)
October This is a good month to take or re-take the LSAT; meet with your advisor to review your application materials.
November Meet with your advisor to finalize application materials, particularly if you are applying Early Decision anywhere.
December Balance finishing your applications with finals; Early Decision applicants may begin receiving decisions; think about scholarships and apply for financial aid; juniors may begin preparing for spring LSAT.
Winter Break Take the time to rest after a busy semester and application season! Set aside some time for any pending applications and look ahead to spring events hosted by Career Services and law schools.
January Finalize and submit all pending law school applications; check in with your advisor.
February Many law schools set deadlines for submission; expect to receive some results from submitted applications; do a deep dive into financial aid and scholarships.
March Submit ALL applications and consider discussing application results (acceptance, rejection, waitlist) with your advisor.
April Most law schools will have sent final decisions; applicants on waitlists should send letters of continuing interest to relevant law schools; focus on deposits, moving, financial aid; discuss potential deferrals with your advisors.
May If waitlisted, you may start to see movement, hearing back from schools one way or another; letters of continuing interest
June-August Continued movement from waitlists; finalize deposits and enrollment at law school of choice; complete moves to law school city/town; consider light reading and keeping up with legal events; rest and relax - you have a big journey ahead of you!

Personal Statements and Resumes

Personal statements and resumes are an important part of the application process. Review best practices