5 Tips For Submitting Your Law School Applications Over The Holidays
Many applicants reserve the time over the holidays and between semesters to finally submit their law school applications. However, it can be a very distracting time of year. In this post, we discuss how to ensure you reach your goals and successfully submit your applications over the holidays!
5 Tips For Law School Applications Over The Holidays
1. Prepare before break!
Most components of the application can be prepared on your own with two exceptions: (1) transcripts and (2) letters of recommendation.
Before you go on break, and offices inevitably close for a few weeks, be sure to submit requests for your official transcripts from all of the necessary institutions. While some of this processing is automatic, the distribution of your transcripts may still require the approval of the Registrar staff.
Additionally, be sure to ask the intended authors of your letters if they can write one for you before you leave on holiday (if you haven’t done so already). Professors and supervisors are likely to take a break from work as well. They may have time to draft your letter but might not be actively checking emails to see your request. (Note: try to make your initial request for a LOR in person and not via email.)
For those of you who already asked for a letter but haven’t yet received it, be sure to gently remind your recommenders of your timeline and ask that they submit the letter in the next few weeks. The reminder should include a mention of your deadline so they can be mindful of your goal to submit your applications over the holidays.
If you’re unsure how to word this, here is an example email for reference:
Dear Professor X,
I hope you have a wonderful holiday break. I was writing to follow-up on my request from [insert date of request- i.e., October 21] for a letter of recommendation for law school. Currently, I am in the final stages of preparation and am hoping to have my applications complete by [insert date of completion- i.e., January 1]. I would greatly appreciate it if you were able to submit the letter before then. Please let me know if I can provide with you any further details.
Attached is a copy of my resume again for your reference.
Thank you very much for the letter and your continued support. Happy holidays!
If you don’t prepare request your transcripts and your letters of recommendation before you leave on holiday, you might be stuck waiting until offices reopen in January.
2. Set a schedule for yourself.
It’s too easy to simply say that you’ll commit the time to working on your applications before letting the days slip by without getting anything done. Because there is so much going on this time of year, be sure to set a schedule for yourself to ensure you are able to successfully submit your applications over the holidays.
Create a calendar and actually pencil in the days and times you plan to sit down and work on your applications. Is it 10am every morning or a block of time a few days of the week that works best for you? Draft a schedule that makes sense for you and your lifestyle so that you’re more likely to stay on track.
3. Set realistic goals for yourself – and stick to them!
Scheduling time to prep won’t be helpful if you don’t stick to your plan. One tip for being able to successfully stick to your plan to submit your applications over the holidays is to first set realistic goals for yourself.
Will you actually be in the best frame of mind to polish essays on New Year’s Day if you spent the night before celebrating? Probably not. Will you actually wake up at 7 am to work on your personal statement if you never wake up before 9 am on a regular day? Probably not.
Don’t set yourself up for failure! Make realistic goals for yourself that work for you and your schedule and stick to them!
Be sure that you don’t leave anything out and follow the application checklist.
4. Give yourself a break.
You still want to enjoy the holidays and this time of year. Just as we suggest you build in times to work on your application, we also know that it’s equally important to schedule in breaks for yourself. As you build out your schedule in tip #3, insert in social activities that you know you don’t want to miss.
Note that most people work best in the morning. There’s also fewer events during that time of day so consider scheduling in time to work on your applications then and rewarding yourself with time off in the afternoons and evenings.
5. Build in buffer time.
Delays from writer’s block or slow letter writers are common but should not throw you completely off track. Build in buffer time so that you still stay on schedule when delays occur. If your goal is to submit your applications over the holidays with a personal deadline of December 31, set an end date for yourself a couple of days earlier. Also, be mindful of university closures. It doesn’t ultimately matter if you submit your applications on December 27 or January 1 if the school doesn’t reopen its offices until January 2.
Rachel Margiewicz, Director of Pre-Law Services, wrote this post. Rachel is a licensed attorney with years of admissions experience across three law school programs in different markets of the country. She knows what schools are looking for and how to make your application stand out.