Since my anniversary is at the end of the month, my husband and I always reminisce about the beginning of our senior year, when we began dating. One of the things I remember was him sitting by my side as I hit send on most of my law school applications (aww! Lol). But seriously, I then started thinking about that time in my life and realized just how hectic the first months of senior year were because of those law school applications. If you’re about to embark in your senior year and/or are getting ready to apply within these next few months, I wish you luck! It’s so stressful! Exciting! But stressful. While it’s hard for everyone, I remember it being more time consuming because I could only apply to four schools (thanks to that LSAC fee waiver). So I had to be strategic about where I applied and it sucked feeling like I was cutting off some of my options simply because I couldn’t afford the added fees of more schools. But looking back it was kind of helpful in that I truly zoned into where I wanted apply, which made deciding where to enroll much easier—there was no reach schools for me lol. So how do you balance senior year, law school apps, emotions, expectations, financial responsibilities all at once?
If you’re a long time reader than you already know that I’m going to promote having a plan. Seriously, planning out (in detail) requirements for each school, marking deadlines, making checklists, and sticking to the plan makes things manageable. I also did early admission to most of my schools—the kind that guaranteed I’d have an answer sooner rather than later, which made my workload double at the beginning of the semester, but then I was able to plan the rest of my spring/summer knowing where I was going. So give yourself deadlines and make a strategic plan of where and when you’re going to apply and stick with it.
The next thing that you should start doing is saving money. Eek, I know there’s hardly any to save, but seriously law school is expensive! Not only do you need to pay for that law school deposit, but the game isn’t over once you’re admitted. You have to decide where you’re going to attend and that really means you need to visit the school. And that costs money. Start saving money now. And as an aside, you may think you don’t need to visit a school, but if you can—do it. My decision was really between my alma mater and the law school in my hometown. I visited my local school and felt so out of place that I realized immediately that it wasn’t for me. So it really can help you make a more informed choice if you visit. In order to make this happen, take a look at your spending habits and start to make some sacrifices to save a little fund to help you visit your schools. That’s not all! (sorry!) but if you do in person interviews for fellowships or scholarships, you need an appropriate suit, which doesn’t need to be designer, but I recall that during my senior year all I could focus on was making rent or making memories. So take some of that making memories money so you can cover your other costs.
Finally, it’s realistic and good to have a plan B. I’m not saying this to discourage you because if you want to go to law school, you’ll go to law school! But mentally, it’s nice to know that if plan A doesn’t happen, plan B will. During this time, where I needed to have a second option, a friend and I seriously considering starting a party planning company post-graduation—and this is before pinterest and Instagram, where you really had to sell the vision! We obviously had no clue the recession was coming! And thankfully I did get into law school, otherwise the late 2000s would have been rough.
Overall, prepping for law school applications requires attention to detail and discipline—qualities you have in droves, so echale ganas and get those applications in!
Oh! And I almost forgot the most important part–celebrate and acknowledge this time in your life! Making the decision to apply to law school and taking the steps to do it is an endeavor, but you’re doing it to better your life and those of others—when things get frustrating don’t forget that we need you and are so excited for you to join us on the other side!