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3 Ways to Balance Law School Applications, College Responsibilities

3 Ways to Balance Law School Applications, College Responsibilities

Frequent readers of this blog know that one of the things I stress the most about applying for law school is that it takes significant time. Preparing for the LSAT on its own should take at least four months of studying 10-15 hours per week.
Similarly, putting together the strongest possible law school application takes weeks of researching schools, brainstorming and introspection, outlining and drafting essays, and preparing several other elements of the application.
For applicants who are still undergraduates, finding time to prepare law school applications is made more difficult by the fact that they are simultaneously focused on performing as well as possible academically. Since undergraduate GPA is so important in law school admissions, it is often difficult for undergraduates to know how to best allocate their time between academics and preparing applications.
In this post, I'll discuss three principles that will help guide undergraduates strike the best balance between the two.

The best way to space things out is to separate the LSAT from academics and application preparation. To make this happen, consider taking the LSAT during your junior year or earlier so that you are not forced to study for the LSAT while applying.1. Start early: If you are in your freshman, sophomore or junior year, you can put together a game plan for addressing all thecomponents of your application in a much more spread-out fashion. Make sure to take advantage of this luxury.
In addition, I recommend that current undergraduates avoid taking the December LSAT. The December exam is generally held in the first week of the month, when most students are facing end-of-semester exams and papers. Instead, consider the February,which take place at the beginning of the semester or during breaks.
2. Balance your course load: Even if you take the LSAT during your junior year or before, you should expect the first semester of your senior year to contain a significant amount of work in preparing your applications. You should therefore do your best to lighten your academic load during that semester.
Our admissions counselors recommend that you make sure you have completed any difficult courses required for your major during your junior year or earlier. You should also consider taking a course pass-fail if that option is available to you. Finally, consider taking an introductory-level course that you know will not require too much work.
3. Make a semesterlong plan:  In addition to making sure that the courses you take during the first semester of your senior year allow you enough time to devote to applications, you should also make sure to allocate your time within that semester as effectively as possible. To do this, come up with a semesterlong plan.
Your plan will depend on when your academic work will be the heaviest. Courses in the sciences are often evaluated by several exams and lab assignments, which are often spaced throughout the semester. Courses in the humanities, on the other hand, tend to weigh end-of-semester papers and research projects heavily. 
When you get your course syllabuses,​ figure out when you will need to be least focused on academics and plan to work on your application then.
If you are taking the December LSAT, make sure to get as much work done early in the semester as possible so that you can devote enough time in November to LSAT preparation. You might also consider asking for extensions on papers that are due in early December so that you can work on them after the LSAT is over.
The overarching theme to my advice is to plan ahead and know that you will have to devote a lot of time to preparing applications. Thinking ahead will put you in the best position to prepare the most successful application possible.
How are you balancing your schedule? Let me know in an email me, or tweet me
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Muhammad Saqib

Muhammad Saqib

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