4 Tips For A Smooth Michigan Bar Exam Application Process
Are you applying for an upcoming Michigan Bar Exam? Do you want some information on how to make the application process run as smoothly as possible? In this post, we’ll give you four useful tips for the Michigan Bar Exam application process.
4 Tips For A Smooth Michigan Bar Exam Application Process
1. Know your deadlines!
This may seem obvious, but it is imperative you are aware of the deadlines to submit things! This could be the deadline to file the application itself or the deadline to submit necessary documents for Character & Fitness clearance. Students often think the application process won’t take that long—like simply filling out names, residence, etc. But the Michigan Bar Exam application is so much more!
For instance, you must submit a signed and executed “Waiver and Release” to the State Bar of Michigan within two weeks of electronically submitting your application and fee payment. This is so that Character & Fitness processing can begin. Therefore, even though you may have completed and submitted the application, you need to be aware that other deadlines do apply.
Overall, make a calendar of what you need to submit and when! In the published instructions for the application, the State Bar has noted which parts of the application process/Character & Fitness clearance have deadlines. We strongly urge you to read this before you start your application and during the application process as a whole to ensure you know which documents need to be submitted and when!
However, probably the most important deadline to take note of is the deadline to submit the application itself! According to the State Bar of Michigan website, applications for the Feb 2021 Michigan Bar Exam will be accepted after August 15, 2020 through midnight (EST) December 15, 2020. You must submit the application electronically. Applications for the July 2021 Michigan Bar Exam will be accepted after January 15, 2021 through midnight (EST) May 15, 2021. Again, you have to submit the application electronically.
2. Start early!
In conjunction with knowing your deadlines, you should start the application as soon as possible and work towards completing/obtaining all other documents quickly!
For example, if you’re applying for the July 2021 Michigan Bar Exam, don’t just start it on May 14, 2021, the night before it’s due. You will likely need time to assess whether you have any questions about the application itself. You will also need time to review your answers before you submit the application (see below why you should take your time to read the application carefully!). If you wait until the last minute, you might not have time to have your questions answered. Nor will you have adequate time to review your application!
One positive note is that you don’t have to complete the application in order. You can work within each section, saving your work as you go! Thus, nothing should get in your way of starting early!
With regard to the Character & Fitness clearance process, because you have to deal with outside/third parties, you’ll also want to give yourself as much of a cushion as possible. For example, things like notarizing, fingerprinting, obtaining reference letters, etc. could take a long time. Even without a global pandemic going on, collecting all of these documents is likely to take more than a few weeks!
Ultimately, by starting early, you’ll be able to get the necessary tasks out of the way before the heat of bar prep really sets in. Whichever administration of the Michigan Bar Exam you apply for, as you get closer to the exam, you’ll want to focus on the substantive material—not whether your fifth and final reference has completed his/her reference letter! Thus, by starting early, you can prevent any unnecessary delays and focus on what really matters!
3. Review Frequently Asked Questions
Applying for the Michigan Bar Exam can often be a long and confusing process. Luckily, the State Bar of Michigan and the Michigan Board of Law Examiners provide a good deal of information to help you through this. For example, the BLE has posted a comprehensive list of FAQs, and it likely answers any question you can think of. Moreover, the State Bar of Michigan published their own list of FAQs, and on that page, you’ll also find helpful application instructions and navigation assistance!
If all else fails and the FAQs don’t answer your questions, remember you can always contact the BLE or the State Bar of Michigan Character & Fitness Department by phone or email!
4. Read carefully!
Finally, while this might seem obvious, remember to read over everything you submit carefully. Because the Michigan Bar Exam application is long, you will want to meticulously read everything to ensure you 1) don’t miss any deadlines, and 2) don’t answer a question incorrectly.
For example, if you wish to take the bar exam on a laptop, you have to select that option in your application! Moreover, some questions on the application can be wordy, so make sure you understand what the question is asking. This is why the sidebars are helpful!
As you fill out our application, each question will have a corresponding sidebar with instructions for that question. These boxes explicitly state what the questionnaire is asking to make sure you understand what the question is asking. It is extremely important that you pay attention to these. For instance, if certain questions on the application are answered affirmatively (usually as it pertains to criminal history), this could automatically generate supplemental answer forms that need to be filled in. Or worse, it might automatically trigger a Character & Fitness investigation. Thus, you don’t want to say “yes” to something even though you mean “no” and then accidentally trigger an investigation process!
Altogether, reading carefully will help save you time and hassle in the long run. Taking a few extra minutes to re-read your application is definitely less time-consuming than filling out a supplemental answer form or going through more Character & Fitness hoops when you didn’t have to in the first place!
Lastly, if you need to seek accommodations for the Michigan Bar Exam, check out this post for more helpful advice.
Overall, if you follow these four tips, your application process for the Michigan Bar Exam should run smoothly!
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