& Timelines - Law School Preparation
CLEO Magazine - "Generations – Then and Now"
Article: The College Years...The Senior Year.
By Renaldo D. Alba, Christie-Belle Garcia
Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (CSTEP) of
S.T.E.P.S. to a Successful Senior Year!!
Congratulations, Senior! Getting to this point in your academic
career is a testament of your vision, priorities, and efforts
for the past three years. As you embark on the law school
application process we offer a timeline that will guide you
through the application process.
As pre-law advisors, each year we meet students who start
their freshman year determined to pursue a law career. Many
students go on to successful careers in the law and are currently
practicing attorneys in different legal settings. However,
with every success story there are stories of students with
potential not actualized.
The reality is that as time passes the pool of potential
applicants from each cohort of pre-law scholars contracts
for many different reasons. In our experience, the primary
reasons for students not becoming viable candidates is due
to a lack of priorities, unrealistic expectations, and/or
their inability to remain focused and perseverant throughout
the application process.
Getting through your senior year with a minimum of stress
requires developing a timely and efficient strategy that will
make applying to law school as tension-free as possible. We
recommend the following S.T.E.P.S:
Set realistic expectations of your time
commitments and make priorities for your senior year.
Take inventory of your academic and personal
responsibilities and limit your commitments throughout the
Equally focus your time on all of the different
parts of your application (Personal statement, essays, and
letters of recommendation.)
Prepare your plan of action for the fall
and spring semesters.
Senior year should be enjoyable! Manage
your time, plan ahead and enjoy the last 100 days
June - August
- SET YOUR CALENDAR! Set personal deadlines for different
sections of your application (e.g., drafts of personal
and adversity statements, finalized list of recommenders,
revised list of potential schools). Also mark your calendar
with dates of open houses, law forums, preferred dates
for when recommendation letters should arrive at LSAC,
registration with the LSDAS, and of course, application
- THE PERSONAL STATEMENT! Write, write and write some
more. Your statement is a reflection of your passion,
motivation, and your potential contribution to society
as an attorney. It’s an opportunity to bring your
application to life and to demonstrate your ability to
communicate effectively and concisely.
- THE LSAT. We strongly urge that you take an
LSAT Prep course. You should take the LSAT in
September/October. Taking the LSAT after this point will
delay your application for admission.
- PREPARE TO SHOW THEM THE MONEY! Applications range from
$60.00 to $100.00 each. Budget accordingly.
- REVISIT YOUR SUMMER CALENDAR and add important academic
dates. Reconsider what is realistic and achievable now
that you are in school. Remember, schedules change week-to-week
because of unexpected events. Be flexible and revisit
your plan regularly.
- STATEMENTS - By this point, you should have a first
or second draft of your personal and adversity statements.
Have your drafts reviewed by your professor, counselor,
and/or mentor and make as many revisions as are necessary.
- RECOMMENDATION LETTERS - The best recommender is someone
who knows you well enough to describe how your academic
and personal strengths and character will make you a successful
law student and practicing attorney. Give your recommenders
six-eight weeks notice and provide them with a resume,
a draft of your personal statement and list of schools
you are applying to. Stay in touch with your recommenders
to ensure that they are on time with submitting your letters.
- Midterms are in full swing and you are probably thinking
about turkey, a few days off and time with family. Be
diligent! Submit your applications by Thanksgiving!
Schools begin accepting candidates before their scheduled
deadlines. Fewer seats are available as the application
season progresses and comes to an end. Get your applications
November - January
- Apply to CLEO’s Six-Week Summer Institute (applications
due February 1st).
- Research scholarships through popular databases and
search engines. Also, review law school websites.
- Make sure your applications are completed with every
Spring of your Senior year
- Have you received letters of acceptance? Congratulations!
Send thank you notes to all those who assisted you in
the process. They will be glad to share your good news.
- Review your financial aid packages and determine if
the aid being offered is right for you. We encourage you
to try to negotiate your package.
- Waitlisted? Don’t be discouraged. Follow up in
writing or by phone with your prospective school and restate
your desire to attend their law school. Determine if providing
additional material such as last semester GPA and additional
recommendation(s) may improve your candidacy.
- No offers of admission? Meet with your pre-law advisor
and try to assess what may have gone wrong and what made
your application weak. Identify steps to take to bolster
your application. Determine whether a few years of professional
experience may make you a stronger candidate for admission.
March - May
- Acceptance to law school does not mean you are
finished with your present academic responsibilities.
You must finish strong.
- Share your experiences and keys to success with Pre-Law
underclassmen. Do not be a gatekeeper of knowledge.
We encourage you to educate and include family and close
friends in your process. The better informed they are about
the process, deadlines and your dream of becoming an attorney
the more understanding and supportive they will be.
Applying to law school is a challenging process that requires
a triple D effort: Diligence,
Dedication and Determination.
A triple D effort is required when negotiating the demands
of the process with social and familial obligations. Following
these S.T.E.P.S. will help you manage the multiple demands
of your senior year experience and the law school application
Fordham University's Collegiate Science & Technology
Entry Program is an undergraduate scholars program designed
to prepare minority and economically disadvantaged students
for careers in scientific, technical, health-related and licensed
professions including Law. The program, which is part of a
statewide effort to address the issue of minority under-representation
in the aforementioned professions, emphasizes academic preparation
and achievement, and career awareness. Fordham's program is
one of 51 that exist on college campuses throughout New York
CSTEP provides students with a unique college experience
that combines academic services and activities with a variety
of networking and career-advancement opportunities. Participants
share invaluable social interaction and congenial support
with fellow students who are among Fordham University's best
and brightest scholars.
The Fordham University CSTEP program is open to undergraduate
students from both Rose Hill and Lincoln Center campuses.
Students are encouraged to apply during their first year but
may do so at any point during their college career. Once accepted,
students are expected to participate in academic and career
activities, and maintain academic excellence.
For more information on the CSTEP Program of Fordham University
please visit us at www.fordham.edu/step
or contacts us at firstname.lastname@example.org