Readers may have seen my previous posts with checklists and calendars leading up to law school application submissions, but many students wonder what they should do after they submit.
It is probably tempting to breathe a sigh of relief and push law school from your mind in the months you await an admissions decision. However, even though the waiting game commences after you submit your applications, there are also other steps to take. The application process is not over until you enroll in an institution.
Law school applicants can manage the final stages of the application process over the next couple of months in a calendar with significant dates and goals.
You should have a list of all the schools to which you applied, and include approximately when you expect to hear back from each of the schools. Check each law school’s website for detailed information about admissions decision timelines.
Add financial aid deadlines to your calendar, and begin to gather your tax documents and other relevant materials now if you haven’t already. Set aside time in your calendar to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
The FAFSA is not a difficult form to complete, but you should go through it carefully to ensure that you input all the information correctly. Applying for financial aid early gets that task out of the way and could increase your chances of receiving an award. For detailed information on how to apply for financial aid, visit the Law School Admission Council’s website.
[Find out the best way to negotiate law school financial aid.]
Next, pencil your personal goals into the schedule. You may wish to use a different color for these goals since they are personal deadlines, not mandated by the institutions.
Personal goals can involve if and when you plan to send significant updates to the schools, such as improved grades or a promotion at work. You can jot down a meeting you have scheduled with an alumnus to learn more about the school.
Admissions committees aren’t the only ones with a decision to make – you have to choose which school is the best fit for you, too. Hypothetically, if you are admitted to all the schools you applied to, which would you attend?
[Weigh multiple law school admissions offers with these tips.]
For now, set the cost factor aside, since you do not know if you will get a financial aid package or scholarship. What are your top three schools? If you are uncertain, visiting post-application may help make the choice clearer, so plan when to visit schools.
If you get waitlisted, you should note the date you received that notification in your calendar. Then, add a check-in every few weeks to a month after that date.
Those check-ins may be comprised of letters of continuing interest, additional recommendation letters or updates like the ones mentioned above. Do not simply check in to ask about the status of your application – the admissions team is working as quickly as they can to get you a decision. Every time you follow up with the admissions office, you should provide valuable information that could affect their assessment of your candidacy.
You may continue to add to this calendar, keeping track of admissions decisions and next steps. The purpose of having a concrete schedule is to keep you organized, but it can also help you from dwelling too much on your admissions decisions.
But once you have created the calendar, only focus on law school on the dates specified or when you hear something from an admissions committee. The rest of your time should be spent as you normally would – whether that be studying, working or spending time with friends and family.
Another way to focus your energy while waiting for law school decisions is to find a new activity or hobby. If you feel anxious about your applications, finding new ways to pass the time is a great idea. You could take up a musical instrument, a craft or a new sport. It could also be simple, like going to the gym regularly or enrolling in an interesting class. Consider volunteering, starting a book club or writing a blog.
By managing your time appropriately after applying to law schools, you position yourself for acceptance as effectively as possible. The additional information you provide to top-choice law schools could result in your admission, and visiting schools again can inform your own decision of which school to attend once you have acceptances in hand. Furthermore, you will prepare yourself for the financial commitment of being a law student by striving to obtain maximum financial aid.