Applying to law school is a stressful experience, it is easy to become overwhelmed. In this post, I will share with you some tips and methods I used to stay organized while applying to law school.
Create a Google Account Just for Law School Application Materials
I chose to create a new email address to use for my law school applications. Partly because I wanted to keep any emails pertaining to law school applications separate and also because I wanted a more professional email. I used my full name, so my email resembled firstname.lastname@example.org. I then used Google Docs and Sheets to stay organized.
Use Google Docs for Personal Statements, Resume, and Supplemental Essays
I chose to use Google Docs for my personal statement, because I wanted the ability to work on it from any computer. I typed most of it from home, but I also used my work computer to edit and revise.
Law schools have different requirements regarding the personal statement. Some require longer personal statements or have specific question they want addressed. I used basically the same personal statement, but would add/omit paragraphs and sentences to make it fit different length or different topic requirements.
Google Docs makes it easy to copy documents. Under File, click “make a copy” and voila you have a copy of your original personal statement to make minor edits to. By the time I was done writing my personal statements, I had four different versions of the same document edited to fit each school’s requirements. I labeled them “Personal Statement”, “Personal Statement- School A”, “Personal Statement- School B”, you get the picture. I then downloaded them as PDFs and uploaded them to LSAC.
I’m sure you can do all of this in Word, I just prefer Google Docs.
I also used it for my resume. Again, you can use Word, but I prefer Google Docs.
Create an Excel Spreadsheet or Use Google Sheets
Each law school will have their own requirements and materials they want submitted. To keep track of these various requirements, I used Excel and made a row for each school and a column for each requirement. (Application requirements can be found on each law school’s website.)
When I created this spreadsheet, I was still deciding on which schools to apply to, so I color coded the schools by their employment data. The red is for low employment rates and the blue is for high employment rates, with yellow being in between. I also added application fees, and categorized them by “safety schools”, “within range”, and “reach schools”. As you can see, I printed this out and made some notes by hand.
I created a second spreadsheet for deadlines and to keep track of when my applications were sent and completed. (This spreadsheet was done using Google Sheets.) As you can see, I didn’t use this spreadsheet for long, instead I switched to writing everything down by hand in my binder, which I’ll explain next.
Create a Law School Application Binder
To keep track of my applications, I created a binder where I kept my excel spreadsheet and any notes I had regarding my applications.
After I completed my applications on LSAC, I placed a page in my binder for each school. This is where I kept track of dates, decisions, and any notes. I also made check boxes for things I still needed to do.
Note- I withdrew my application to American University early on because of the high tuition and cost of living. For the universities where I was accepted, I had more notes including acceptance dates, visiting weekend dates, and any other pertinent information.
I also kept my acceptance letters and various things I was sent in this binder. I took my binder with me when I did my law school tours and added any pamphlets or info I was given to my binder.
This level of organization is certainly not necessary for staying organized through the law school application process, but it gave me peace of mind.
Feel free to comment below with any other tips and tricks for staying organized while applying to law school.
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Wondering what it is like to take the LSAT? Read my experience.