Preparation for Law School

Considering Law School? 

There is much to consider when considering law school - academic preparation, cost, admissions, and more. With so many options to review, the best place to begin with this webpage and Handbook developed by the HASS Hub Advising Team and reviewed by our esteemed Faculty and Dean.


Follow these three steps:

Step 1: Ask yourself these important questions

Step 2: Read the Handbook for Pre-Law Students

Step 3: Plan 


Prepare for Law School

This is the suggested timeline for students planning to attend law school directly after graduation. More than 75% of incoming law students do not take this path. Students should adjust this to fit their situations.

Ideal Timeline for Pre-Law Preparation

During the freshman and sophomore years, students should be focused on ensuring they are in the right academic major and begin committing to interests outside the classroom. This period is for building an academic foundation. Schools want to see a commitment to activities and growth over time.

This is when you should:

  • Select a major that fits your interests, skills, and abilities and begin to excel academically. Students who are interested in law school often major in Sustainability Studies or Science, Technology, and Society and receive supportive faculty advising through those programs.
  • Attend a prelaw event or workshop.
  • Visit the American Bar Association page for prelaw students and review the information and skills.
  • Start meeting with faculty, your advisors and the HASS Pre-Law advisors to discuss your interests and plans for law school
  • Focus primarily on academics rather than other activities, because the academic record will be reviewed thoroughly by law schools.
  • Consider joining a campus club or organization. The RPI Club Directory is a database of the more than 200 registered student organizations & clubs and is a good place to start.
  • Towards spring of your Sophomore year, begin thinking about how to use your Arch Away semester as an opportunity to build your resume: study abroad, internships, research, service projects, and more.


During the junior year, students will want to start prepping for law school applications and begin learning about and studying for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). The LSAT is offered multiple times per year and the testing year starts in June, making winter break an optimal time to take a practice exam and begin outlining a study schedule.

This is when you should:

  • Attend CCPD Career Fairs & Webinars
  • Take challenging courses; focus on upper-division coursework.
  • Take a practice LSAT:
    • Learn about the structure and strategy for the exam.
    • Develop an LSAT study strategy which may include self-study, online coursework, an in-person course, or even tutoring.
    • Determine when they will sit for the LSAT (summer or fall of senior year are most common).
  • Attend a workshop about applying to law school.
  • Begin requesting letters of recommendation from professors, employers, or other people who can attest to your academic work.
  • In your Junior year, meet with a prelaw advisor to discuss your interest in law school and to answer questions about the application process.

The summer before senior year is a great time to gather credentials and begin preparing the application materials.

This is when students should:

  • Register and sit for the LSAT.
  • Subscribe to LSAC’s Credential Assembly Service, which is required and has a fee.
  • Order an official transcript from the Registrar’s Office and send it to LSAC.
  • Prepare or update resume for law school applications.
    • Begin writing a personal statement (prelaw advising can review a draft).
  • Research law schools and develop a strategy for completing applications.
    • Consider creating an excel file with information pertaining to each school to keep track of each schools’ information, requirements, and deadlines.

Students should plan to apply in late August or early September when the application period typically opens.

This is when you should:

  • Check your LSAC account to ensure transcripts and letters of recommendation were received and follow up on any that are outstanding.
  • Take or retake the LSAT.
  • Prepare your law school applications, including essays.
    • Most schools review applications on a rolling basis, so students should apply as soon as their application is ready.
    • Aim to submit applications between Halloween and Thanksgiving, but refer to the institution's website for specific dates
    • All law school application materials are accessed and submitted through the student's LSAC account.
  • Meet with a prelaw advisor to discuss law schools and application strategy, have your personal statement reviewed, and have any additional questions answered.
  • Obtain a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), available in October, and complete it as soon as possible.


Schools vary on when they notify applicants of acceptance decisions; some schools contact students within days and others provide decisions months later. Students still waiting on decisions in January should update their transcripts in LSAC.

Spring of the student's senior year is when students should review offers, visit schools, make their decision and submit a deposit to the law school they plan to attend in the fall.

This is when students should:

  • Plan to attend a dedicated Admitted Students Day, offered by many schools, to get a feel for the school and see if it will be a good fit and to meet fellow admitted students.
  • Review scholarship, grant, and financial aid packages.
    • Some schools will reconsider aid offers; students may check with each individual school to determine their process.
  • Pay attention to deposit deadlines!
    • If a nonrefundable deposit deadline is approaching for one school yet a response is still forthcoming from another, ask about the possibility of extending the deadline.
  • Provide a letter expressing continued interest in remaining on a school's waitlist (only if the school accepts these).
  • Send a final, official transcript to the law school you have selected, or to any school for which you are still waitlisted.


Resources within the School of HASS

Connect with the HASS Hub

After looking through our resources, you may realize that your next step toward Law School is to switch to a HASS Major or to add a HASS Dual. By formally adding a HASS Degree, you will be assigned to one of our esteemed Faculty Advisors and a HASS Hub Advising Team member. This advising team will become a great resource to keeping you on track with your Law School ambitions. 

Becoming a HASS Major starts here


Drop-ins outside of these hours are accommodated when possible, but not guaranteed.

  • 5-to-10-minute questions
  • Perfect for questions about minors, Pathways, and/or support with forms
  • Sign-up Sheet (will be reviewed between 2 and 4 pm weekdays)


If you cannot attend our weekly drop-ins, you are welcome to email us. Please allow 2 to 3 business days for a response. We may still recommend meeting with one of our Advisors in a drop-in or meeting depending on the context of your question.


The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences
Russell Sage Laboratory (SAGE) 5304, 110 8th Street, Troy, NY 12180
(518) 276-6575

Back to top