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Free Resources for Applicants
Beyond serving each cohort of Fellows, the Access to Law Program seeks to break down barriers that keep first-generation, low-income, justice-impacted, and/or underrepresented students everywhere from applying to law school, succeeding in their legal studies, and pursuing their career. The law school application process can act as a particularly daunting and opaque obstacle. In the spirit of our mission, we want to make the application process resources we share with Fellows available to all. These resources are organized below based on each step of the law school application process.
We also encourage New Haven-region residents to consider applying to become a Fellow. See a list of FAQs here.
Resources for Applicants
Your LSAT score is one of the most important parts of your application. It’s important even though the LSAT privileges those of higher socioeconomic status, is built on top of existing structural racial and cultural biases, and has a history of failing to meet disability accommodations. But while we want to work toward a day when standardized testing is more equitable, in the meantime, there are good free resources available. Remember, the LSAT isn’t a measure of your intelligence or ability to succeed in law school.
- LSAC’s Free Resources (Free, but limited)
- Khan Academy’s Free LSAT Prep (Free, excellent prep course)
- PowerScore Forums (Use this to review questions--people provide explanations!)
- YouTube (More general training, but people have tons of good advice if you’re more of a visual learner)
- Podcasts can be a great option if you’re more of an auditory learner. Here are a few to start with: Thinking LSAT and the Powerscore LSAT podcast
- Fox LSAT (Free weekly LSAT Tips)
- Applying for disability accommodations: Kaplan Guide to LSAT Accommodations
Paying for the LSAT and Application Process
Taking the LSAT is also expensive, which is one of the reasons that it acts as a barrier to socioeconomic, racial, and cultural diversity in the law. While it’s not a total solution, you can apply for fee waivers if you’re eligible! Here’s a guide: Kaplan Guide to LSAT Fee Waivers
You can also get fee waivers for the rest of the application process, too. Here are some other good guides:
Overview of Admissions
Law School Transparency (Understand what law schools actually cost and how students perform post-grad)
You might be curious about law school forums, drawn to their flickering light like a moth. Law school admissions forums can be especially helpful for those of us who may not have friends, family, or coworkers familiar with the process. But you should also take all forums with a grain of salt. Many people posting in the forums are applicants, not admits or admissions counselors or officials. And some of these forums can have negative attitudes that aren’t always helpful, or make proclamations about your “chances” without knowing anything about you. Take what is useful to you and leave the rest.
- Reddit Thread of Compiled Resources (This is good!)
- Top Law Schools
- 7Sage Discussion (While this is a forum with lots of members, it’s also fairly well-moderated and often will have posts from the 7Sage team of experts)
- Navigating Law School Podcast (with our very own Miriam Ingber, Dean of Admissions at Yale!)
- Spivey Consulting Blog
- YouTube (Take with a grain of salt — everyone’s experiences will vary)
Law School Admissions Calculators
Law school admissions calculators can be a good way to figure out which schools are in your “range” or to decide what LSAT score you want to aim for. These calculators focus mostly on GPA and LSAT score. But remember that numbers aren’t the end-all be-all. Your story is unique, and there are so many other aspects of the application process.
- Law School Numbers (It’s based on data from real people, so take with a grain of salt––people lie, have different experiences, etc.)
- My Rank By Spivey (Helpful for comparing schools)
- 7Sage Predictor
Applying to Law School as a Parent
Parents belong in law school! While parents may face unique challenges in applying and succeeding, parents also bring a unique perspective to the law and deserve the chance to thrive in their legal studies. The Access Program is committed to helping parents apply to law school and succeed in their studies.
Access to Law School Parents Information Session: We filmed this info session as part of Yale Law School’s Access to Law School Program. Thanks to our speakers Lauren Majchrowski (Admissions, University of Connecticut School of Law), Angelica M. Jennings (University of Connecticut School of Law), and Violeta Alvarez (University of California Hastings School of Law).
The personal statement is one of the most important components of your law school application. It’s your chance to tell the story of who you are and why you belong in law school. And to all first-generation, underrepresented, and low-income law students: you have an incredible story to tell, you belong in law school, and you don’t have to mine your trauma or hardest moments if you don’t want to. Who you are is enough—it’s just a matter of finding the best way to write it! Check out these resources that we created at the Access program:
- Slideshow: Access to Law School Introduction to the Personal Statement
- Access to Law School Personal Statement Worksheet
- Yale Law School Admissions Office: Personal Statement Tip Sheet
All law schools require that you include a resume with your application. A good resume should be clear, concise (never more than one page), and of course, proofread carefully (ask a friend or two to read it over for you; they might find errors that you miss). Here are two sample resumes you might use as a model that offer commentary and advice.
- Sample Resume 1
- Sample Resume 2
- University of Chicago resume guide
- 7Sage, “Key Principles of a Law School Resume”
Law schools usually ask for two or three recommenders. Usually, law schools ask for minimum two recommenders, but you can include more. But having only two strong recommendations is generally a better idea than having two strong recommendations and one weak recommendation. How can you tell if a recommendation is going to be stronger or weaker? Sometimes you can tell by the level of response when you ask your recommender. And you know your relationship best! Also, it’s usually best to ask professors if you can--law schools like to hear from people who’ve taught you--but if you’ve been out of school for a while, you can ask someone you’ve worked for who can talk about your character and quality of work.
- Sample Language for Emailing Your Recommenders
- 7Sage Guide to Recommenders
- Spivey Consulting Letters of Recommendation
Character & Fitness Addendum
We believe that to make the legal field a more just, equitable, and diverse place, we need to reduce barriers that keep justice-impacted applicants out of law school. If you have been impacted by the justice system, know that your perspective on the law is important and we’re cheering for you. We also believe that instances in your past, like disciplinary actions in your academic history, shouldn’t circumscribe your future in the legal field. But it also probably means that you’ll have to write a character and fitness (or “C&F”) addendum to your application.
Please know that a C&F isn’t disqualifying, and will not prevent you from getting into law school. Rather, C&Fs act as a record of your honesty for your future bar application, help law schools to see that you’ve taken responsibility for any mistakes in your past, and show that you’re ready to thrive in the legal field.
- A great overview of C&Fs, what they’re for, and how to approach them: Anna Ivey, “Character & Fitness Addendum”
- Here’s a guide to writing the essential parts of a good C&F addendum: 7Sage, “How to Write a Character and Fitness Addendum”
Paying for Law School
Free Financial Coaching
Make sure you also look at ABA 509 reports, which schools are required to disclose. They explain information like admissions percentages, average financial aid awards, and much more.