You typically apply to law school about one year before you want to start the program. You will need to identify programs that match your interests and complete an application. Some steps take time so plan ahead!

The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is required as part of the admission process into law school. The test is only offered four times a year so you should plan ahead to prepare for the test.

General Timeline

  • January or earlier:  Meet with a Pre-Law Advisor at UC San Diego Career Center to develop your timeline and action steps
  • January to March: Begin preparing for the LSAT, research schools, take practice LSAT, outline ideas for your personal statement, determine your recommenders, and reach out to them to find out if they can write you a letter of recommendation and ask what information they need to support you with writing your recommendation.  Find UC San Diego Alumni mentors through Tritons Connect
  • June: Take the LSAT
  • June-August  - Start drafting personal statements and other application materials.  
  • July: Receive LSAT scores
  • July: Sign up for LSAC Credential Assembly Service (CAS)
  • July-Oct: Narrow down the list of schools and take the September LSAT if necessary.  
  • Oct-Jan: Submit applications.  Consider that many law schools have rolling admissions and applying earlier in the application cycle is advised.

For a more detailed timeline: Applying to Law School Navigating the Application Process (PDF) (

Some students may choose to study on their own by using study guides published by LSAC or one of the test prep companies. If you choose to sign up for a test prep course, there are many options ranging from in-person and online instruction to self-directed online, and private tutoring. Prior to signing up for a course, take a free sample LSAT to get an idea of the type of questions and what areas you would like to improve on. LSAC and many of the commercial test prep companies offer free mock LSAT sessions. Some of these companies may also provide discounts to students so do your research prior to signing up. Based on your learning style, academic foundation, and finances, determine the method of preparation that best fits your needs.

Test Prep Resources


Evaluate the cost of law school and how you can pay for a legal education.

Scholarship Resources

Pre-Law Programs

UC San Diego Pre-Law Resources

  • Law and Politics Initiative (
  • Fall Graduate and Professional Virtual Fair - Meet with Admissions Officers from law schools to ask questions - check Handshake Fairs for more information and to register
  • Pre-Law Student Organizations - you are able to attend events without being a member
    • Kappa Alpha Pi Pre-Law Fraternity.  You can sign up for their newsletter with internships career opportunities, events, and other helpful information  
    • Undergraduate Law Review - generally partners with the UC San Diego Career Center for a Virtual Spring Law Admissions Networking Event where you can meet with Admissions Officers from a variety of law schools to ask questions
  • Tritons Connect - sign up to connect with UC San Diego Alumni who are in legal-related fields or currently in law school for mentorship in selecting law schools, LSAT Prep, internships/career opportunities, and brainstorming/drafting application materials.
  • UC San Diego Career Center YouTube Channel