Applying and Paying for Law School

If and when you decide to apply to law school—whether you’re still an undergraduate or you’ve already earned your bachelor’s degree—you’ll be looking at a process that typically takes one to two years before you’ll matriculate.

Applications for law school are reviewed on a rolling basis, beginning in September for admission the following fall. The earlier you apply to a particular school, the greater your chances of admission and of receiving a scholarship.

A note on WHEN to submit: While many schools do post application deadlines, often in March or April - or even into the summer, do not assume those are target submission dates. Aim to submit your law school applications by December for the best outcomes - balancing that with the need to submit the best application you can. If you end up approaching March or April and have not yet applied, consider waiting for the next application cycle.

Applications to all law schools are submitted through the Law School Admission Council (LSAC). Individual schools’ requirements vary, but all require the following:

Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) score

The LSAT is offered several times per year. You can check the updated schedule on the Law School Admission Council’s website. Your LSAT score is good for five years, and you can take the test three times in a 12 month period, and five times in your lifetime. It should also be noted that your LSAT score will be released to every school you apply to, but typically schools will take your highest score into consideration for admission.

Looking for information on how to study for the LSAT? Check out the resources compiled by Pre-Law Services. How you prepare and study is unique to you, but we have an extensive list of options.


You are responsible for sending official academic transcripts from every institution where you’ve received college credit. This includes dual enrollment during high school, summer school at a community college, and study abroad programs if you attended a foreign university for a year or longer. LSAC will calculate a cumulative GPA based on all of your undergraduate coursework, not just your time at the University of Minnesota. LSAC takes every grade into account equally, even if you have repeated a course.

Letters of recommendation

Most schools require two recommendation letters, including one from someone who has taught you or evaluated your academic work. Build relationships with professors early, and ask for recommendation letters well before you need them. If you know you will take a gap year (a year - or more - in between when you graduate and when you apply to law school), it is wise to try to meet with your professors prior to graduation to let them know you will be asking for a letter in the future. Typically even if you are within 5 years from graduating undergrad, a law school will prefer a letter from an academic reference.

Personal statement

This essay is typically two to three pages long (double-spaced), and you should customize it based on each law school’s application instructions. We offer webinars on personal statements, and you can watch a previously recorded version to get an overview. This worksheet is a great start to brainstorm topic ideas. You can have your personal statement reviewed by Pre-Law Advising, and if you are a current student, by the Writing Center.


Résumés included in law school applications can be over a page long. There isn’t a specific format you must follow, and you can include details about extracurricular activities as well as academic projects, volunteer work, foreign language skills, and more. Attend a pre-law drop-in to get your resume reviewed.

Character and fitness disclosures

Law school applications require you to disclose illegal activity and, in some cases, both formal and informal misconduct in which you’ve been involved. Each school's questions will be slightly different, and it is important to answer them completely and honestly.