Law School Application Components

This page breaks down each component of your law school application. Additional resources and information can be found here, or you schedule an appointment with one of our pre-law advisors to discuss your unique journey.

Law School Admission Test (LSAT)

The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is a half-day, standardized test offered four times a year (June, October, December, February) by the Law School Admission Council. An integral part of the process of applying to law school, the LSAT provides a standard measure of reading and verbal reasoning skills that law schools use in assessing applicants. The LSAT is structured as five 35-minute sections of multiple-choice questions. The three main multiple-choice question types include reading comprehension questions, analytical reasoning questions, and logical reasoning questions.

The LSAT should be taken either in June (with a registration by early May) of your junior year or October (with a registration by early September) of your senior year in order to get your results back in time to determine an appropriate range of schools to which to apply. When you eventually apply to law schools, all of your test scores are reported. You may not take the LSAT more than three times in any two-year period.

To prepare for the LSAT, there are a number of test preparation guides and commercial test prep courses and programs through for-profit companies such as Kaplan and The Princeton Review. The Law School Admission Council also offers free LSAT prep materials, such as sample questions and practice tests.


Credential Assembly Service

The Credential Assembly Service (CAS) of the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) prepares and provides a report to each law school to which you apply. The CAS is an organizational tool intended to streamline the law school application process for both applicants and law schools.

After creating an online account, you can upload necessary application documents to your CAS file, such as transcripts, a writing sample, and letters of recommendations. CAS compiles these documents, along with an undergraduate academic summary and your LSAT score, which is automatically added to your file after you take the test.

After the CAS report has been completed, it will be sent directly to the law schools to which you are applying. You can set up your CAS file by registering through the LSAC website.


Transcripts

You will need to send official transcripts directly from every undergraduate, graduate, and professional school you have attended to your Credential Assembly Service (CAS) file with the Law School Admission Council (LSAC). Note that transcripts issued to you or sent by you will not be processed.

Transcripts should include those from the following:

  • Community colleges
  • Undergraduate and graduate institutions
  • Law, medical, or professional institutions
  • Institutions attended for summer or evening courses
  • Institutions attended even though a degree was never received
  • Institutions from which you took college-level courses while in high school even though they were for high school credit
  • Institutions that clearly sponsored your overseas study
  • International transcripts, if applicable

For more information about which transcripts you will need to include in your CAS file.


Letters of Recommendation

Most schools will ask for at least two letters of recommendation. The best letters of recommendation come from those who know you well personally and who have had ample opportunity to assess your work (and, ideally, an instructor of a class in which you excelled).

When selecting a recommender, don’t pick someone based simply on their fame or rank. Law schools will be more interested in a letter of recommendation from someone who knows you well and who can speak concretely about your academic performance and intellectual qualifications, rather than from someone famous who doesn’t know you at all.

You may consider an instructor from a small seminar course in your major department, or a professor of a class in which you participated actively, or someone with whom you conducted an independent study or research project with.


Personal Statement

The personal statement is your opportunity to tell the admissions committee about who you are as an individual and what makes you unique. Given all the information already included in your application packet (i.e., test scores, transcripts, etc.), the personal statement is your chance to tell the committee something about yourself that they would not otherwise know unless you tell them.

The narrative that you present in the personal statement is what will help set you apart from other applicants. You may consider telling a story or finding a theme for your personal statement. Focus on a significant experience or choose a few key themes and demonstrate how these relate to your preparation for law school. Be sure to make the personal statement interesting.

Reviewers will look to glean from your personal statement things such as evidence of maturity, the motivation for pursuing a legal education, interesting personal attributes, independent thinking, ability to thrive in a rigorous academic environment, and whether you would be a good fit for the school.

The personal statement is also a sample of your ability to write, so be concise, write in a clear and direct style, and avoid jargon or pretentious language. Remember to proofread the statement carefully to avoid any grammatical or spelling errors. You may consider asking friends, family, professors, and advisors to review your personal statement and to give you feedback.

Also, be sure to adhere to each school’s instructions and follow the required page limit (usually no more than two pages).


Resume / CV

Prepare a well-written, persuasive, succinct resume that highlights your educational achievements, awards or honors, work experience, community or volunteer service, skills, and extracurricular activities that make you stand out as a strong candidate. Focus on achievements and experiences after high school, since one of the things reviewers will be looking for in your application is evidence of maturity. Use reverse chronological order in all the subsections of the resume by listing the most current or recent events first.

For the “Education” section, list each school attended, the city and state in which the school is located, the actual or expected date of graduation, your major areas of study, and GPA (rounded to the hundredths). Don’t list your LSAT score.

Your “Honors and Activities” can be listed under the respective schools at which you received them. Be sure to list any nationally recognized honors or prestigious scholarships/fellowships you have received, and any honors that indicate high academic achievement. If you have held positions of leadership in university or community organizations, or have been involved significantly in extracurricular activities, list these as well.

In the “Experience” section, list the name and location of your employers, followed by positions held, dates employed, and a brief job description, beginning with your most current or recent position first. If your employment history is not particularly lengthy, you may consider including significant internships and volunteer experience. Use action words when describing your duties and accomplishments, and quantify successes. Avoid leaving large employment gaps in your resume.

In the “Skills” section, you may include foreign language proficiencies, computer skills, artistic or musical talents, athletic pursuits, etc.

Select a professional-looking font that is at least 10-pt or 11-pt. Check to make sure that the formatting is consistent throughout the resume. Use a 0.5 inch margin and have some white space on your resume to make it readable. Limit your resume to one page.

Finally, remember to proofread carefully, since typos and grammatical errors can hurt your chances at getting an interview.


Dean’s Certification Letter

Some schools require a Dean’s Certification or Dean’s Letter as part of the application process. If you are a Rutgers student in need a Dean’s Certification or Dean’s Letter, please review the following list for the appropriate person to contact:

  • For School of Arts and Sciences students, please click here.
  • For School of of Environmental and Biological Sciences students, please contact Associate Dean for Academic Programs, Robert M. Hills, at 732-932-3000, ext. 512.
  • For School of Engineering students, please contact either Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Fred R. Bernath, or Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs, Lydia Q. Prendergast, at 732-445-2212.
  • If you are a student in ANY other School in New Brunswick, and are seeking a law school Dean's Recommendation or Certification, please contact the Office of Undergraduate Education at 848-932-4001.