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Gather Ye Info While Ye May

(With apologies to Robert Herrick, whose line I've butchered)

Throuhout the application process, you'll need every major event in your life (and a number of minor ones) at hand.

Did you ever get a traffic ticket? When? How much was the fine? Did you have to take driver's ed?

What jobs did you have since high school? Who was your supervisor? How many hours a week did you work — during the school term as well as the summer?

You'll need this information for applications and résumés; you may also need to provide it to various recommenders. So start gathering the information you'll need to prepare complete, accurate and consistent applications.

While you're gathering factual information, you can also give both the grammar and style of your writing a thorough review; one can never gather too much information on how to write well. Essays are not too far in your future, and may well dictate that future.

Compiling the Information

The first step you should undertake is to prepare a basic fact sheet of the commonly asked questions for your own reference. It is unlikely that you will complete even a single application in one sitting; having a reference sheet will save you from having to recheck information for every application. Every applicant should be prepared to provide the following information:

  • all colleges, the dates you attended them, and your grade point average at each school;
  • all the dates on which you took the LSAT and the score you received, if you know it;
  • all jobs, with the dates and the number of hours worked;
  • all extracurricular activities and honors, along with dates and titles of any positions of responsibility; (you should decide the importance of each activity, for those schools which ask for only the most important).
  • your mailing address and phone number during the school year and over the summer, and the date when you want the school to switch to your summer address.
  • the complete name, address, phone, snail mail, and email for each recommender.
In addition, you should gather data for any of the following that apply to you; even if you don't want it on your résumé , you'll need it for applications.
  • If you are not a U.S. citizen, note the details of your citizenship and visa status, including the visa or permanent resident ID #.
  • If you served in the military, note your enlistment and discharge dates, rank and responsibilities.
  • If you identified any "problem" areas (leaves of absence, arrests, academic or disciplinary action), record the details of the event, including dates, the reason for the action, the outcome, and the explanation. Make sure to include:
    • all traffic violations, from every state in which you've held a driver's license;
    • all encounters with the police, whether or not you think you were arrested;
    • discharges from any job;
    • problems with the IRS.

Once you gather all this information, set it aside. Review it again in a week or so. Discuss it with significant others. Family and friends may remember events or dates you've forgotten; parents may remember the cost of a traffic ticket they paid for you. Do your remembering now, instead of after you submit applications. Having to write a law school and tell them you made a mistake is hazardous to your mental health.

 

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