Practical Advice on Planning for Law School


Most law schools applications open in the fall, sometime between the end of August and beginning of October, and the final deadline for applications varies between February and June. Law schools use rolling admissions, so the earlier your application is submitted the better chance you have of being accepted. This means plan ahead, and have applications prepared as early as possible!

For additional help on navigating the application process, check out this helpful guide from the LSAC: Applying to Law School

Application process
  • Apply to multiple schools. While LSAT scores and GPA’s are very important, each school will review applications individuals and may see something in your application that others didn’t. Make sure to apply to “safe”, “preferred”, and “reach” schools.
  • Applications are very inexpensive compared to tuition, and many times schools will offer free applications. Fee waivers are available for students with financial need.
  • Apply as early as possible! Most law schools heavily favor those who turn their applications near the beginning of the admissions process. Students should aim to submit applications before the holidays, the year before they plan to attend law school. To find out when individual schools applications open, visit their website or contact the schools admissions office.
  • Applications will require both a personal statement as well as letters of recommendation. Be sure to have these prepared ahead of time. At least one letter of recommendation should be from a professor. Spend plenty of time revising your personal statement and making it exceptional, anything that separates you from the rest of the applicants is vital. Have someone who is a good writer work with you on your statements. Having a professor who knows you review you statement is ideal. Feel free to consult with Dr. Henkels on this.
  • The following materials will be required for a complete application:
    • LSAT
    • Official Transcript
    • 2 reference letters
    • Join the Credential Assembly Service (CAS), that is located on the LSAC website.
    • Personal Statement
    • Resume
Undergraduate planning
  • Do not worry about what degree you will major in. Law schools will not be concerned with your major, only what your GPA is. Choose a subject that you enjoy and excel in! This will ensure you get better grades, and keep your GPA high
  • There are classes that will help prepare you for law school in a practical way. Classes that focus on logical reasoning, and improve your reading comprehension and writing skills will be beneficial. Western Oregon offers several classes designed to help students prepare for law school as well as their career in the legal field. Just a few of these classes are:
    • Legal Reasoning and Writing PS 485
    • Constitutional Law PS 479
    • American Jurisprudence PS 484
  • Law schools prefer individuals who will make a difference and be a credit to their school. While obtaining your undergraduate degree choose activities, classes, and volunteer work that you are passionate about.
  • Keep in mind what you want your resume to look like fall of your senior year.

Law school is a very expensive prospect, and many students graduate with a large amount of student debt. It is best thought to view this as an investment, and students should consider cost when picking a law school. Once you have decided which law school to attend, you must find a way to finance it. The best loans available will be will be those through FASFA, they will offer the best interest rates as well as most flexible repayment plans. Private and institutional loans are also available, if necessary. When selecting a law school, have a direct conversation regarding specific costs and funding opportunities. Know before you go. If you would like more information or need more help understanding the process, contact Dr. Henkels, or follow this link on the LSAC website that specifically concerns law school finances.

If you have any questions, concerns, or comments contact Dr. Henkels at

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