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The evaluation process of a law school application will vary from school to school. Your application may be read by a committee of faculty members. It may be read by one admissions dean. Some schools may even use student readers. Regardless, the point is that you won’t know how your application will be dissected. Accordingly, it’s important that each piece be able to stand on its own. Here’s an example of how your application may be treated at a particular law school. STEP 1: CREATION OF THE FILE When your application form arrives at the law school, a staffer will create a file for you. This file will likely include a checklist of all the forms and information required for completion. As each piece arrives, it will be checked off the list. Normally, a school will notify you if some part of your application is missing. However, try not to forget anything. It’s your responsibility to track your application. STEP 2: LSDAS FORMALITIES After creating your file, the law school will request your record from the Law School Data Assembly Service (LSDAS). The LSDAS organizes and categorizes a variety of statistical information on law school applicants on a standardized form so that the data can easily be compared to those of other applicants. You will have already registered with the LSDAS and provided them with the necessary information. They in turn will put the information into a report and send it to each school to which you apply. The report includes, among other things, your most recent and previous LSAT scores, copies of all college transcripts, an index number, and a copy of your writing sample from the LSAT. Once the law school has your LSDAS report, it waits until the rest of the file is complete and then sends you the self-addressed postcard, letting you know that the application is ready for consideration. STEP 3: PRELIMINARY SCREENING At most schools, an admissions officer will have a look at your numbers. One of three things will happen: If your index number is above the automatic acceptance level, he or she will glance through the rest of the file to ensure you can write clearly and have good recommendations. If so, an acceptance letter will be sent. If the index number is below the automatic rejection level, s/he will glance through the file to determine if if there’s anything exceptional about your application and, if not, send out a rejection letter. Finally, if the index number is within the acceptable range, the admissions officer will make notations on the file or perhaps even rank you in some manner before putting you in the borderline pool. This is where the majority of applications go. STEP 4: SECOND SCREENING Borderline applications will receive a second reading by one of three sources: a senior admissions official, the dean of admission, or an admissions committee, usually made up of several professors. The second screening consists almost entirely of narrowing down the borderline candidates into a smaller pool of applicants. This pool may be anywhere from 50 to 500 applicants that are so closely matched, it’s very hard to differentiate among them. At this point, almost all schools turn final decisions over to an admissions committee. STEP 5: DECISION Based on the strength or weakness of the details of your application, a decision is made. If your application does not merit acceptance straight away, but was strong enough to be considered desirable as a potential member of the class, the committee might decide to wait-list you. Law.com’s education partner Kaplanprovides a one-stop destination for test prep, admissions advice, and success in school and career.

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