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Professional School

What are you interested in?

Law School

Is law school for me? 

  • Talk to practicing attorneys, intern at law firms or legal organizations, attend alumni law panels put on by OPCD or shadow a lawyer on the job. 

  • Determine why you want to go to law school:

    • Do you want to make money? Not all lawyers make the same amount of money. 

    • Are you applying because everyone else is? Law school is difficult and only personal desire and criteria will help you succeed.

    • Are you applying to law school because you feel like you have no career options? Contact OPCD, we'll help you out!

    • Do you know what your short and long term goals are and how a law degree can help you achieve them? 

  • Do you really want to be a law student? 

    • Are you willing to invest time, energy and (lots, and lots) of money associated with going to law school? Have you thoroughly investigated these costs?

    • Are you prepared to spend the majority of the next 3 years studying?

    • Do you need a break from school? 

    • Do you enjoy debating--both in verbal and written form? Are you able to read and digest large amounts of information in a short time period? Can you synthesize information and identify implications quickly? 

    • Can you handle the ambiguity or not receiving a grad until the end of the semester or year? 

    • Are you okay with being graded and ranked solely on a curve? 

Researching Law Schools 

  • Attend alumni law panel sponsored by OPCD 

  • Attend a LSAC sponsored Law School Forum to learn about a variety of law schools, the application process, the LSAT, financial aid, diversity, and the legal profession. 

  • Use the law school link on the Law School Admission Council’s website to access detailed programs information such as courses, professors, costs, financial aid and application forms. Usually contact information is provided.

  • Conduct informational interviews with current law school students, professionals, and faculty in the law programs you are considering to gain insider information about programs. 

  • Visit the law school and sit in on the classes if possible. 

  • Network with other pre-law students and legal professionals by attending events hosted by Pre-Law organizations, and check with your local bar association to see if they have networking opportunities for you to participate in and/or join. 

 

Comparing Schools

  • Access Standard 509 Reports. The American Bar Association, Section of Legal Education, has up to date reports of all ABA approved schools. The reports include data about tuition and fees, living expenses, GPA and LSAT scores, and grants and scholarships which can help you compare law schools before applying. 

Deciding Where to Apply

  • Admission considerations: It is a good idea to look at schools’ entering class profiles to see what their students’ average and mean LSAT scores and GPAs are and how your numbers align with them. However, don’t rely on "numbers" alone to select potential schools; applicants with other strong qualities and/or accomplishments will be admitted to schools even if their numbers are lower than average. Schools are interested in students who demonstrate potential for success, which may not be reflected by their grades/scores. Since admissions decisions can be unpredictable, a common strategy is to use comparisons of your LSAT and GPA to recent entering classes to develop three lists of potential schools:
      • Dream schools that are a "stretch"
      • Core schools where you application will be competitive
      • Safety schools where you will likely be admitted
  • Diversity of student body and faculty
  • Financial Considerations
    • Location (Where would you like to begin your practice? Is weather a factor for you? Do you need to be near your family?)
  • Availability of classes in your areas of interest
  • Career services and placement rates
  • Campus facilities (housing, library, classrooms)
  • Faculty (legal training, areas of interest, accessibility, diversity)
  • Extracurricular activities (Law Review, moot court, student clubs)
  • Academic programs (clinical opportunities, joint degree offerings, study abroad options)

Law School Timeline

Junior Year

  • Attend the alumni law panel sponsored by OPCD. 
  • Continue exploring the legal field by reaching out to alumni and seeking out shadowing and internship opportunities. 
  • Obtain LSAT & CAS Registration information from the LSAC website. 
  • Register for the June LSAT
  • REgister with the CAS - the Credential Assembly Service
  • Allow 3-6 months to prepare for the LSAT
  • Consider taking a test prep course to help you prepare for the LSAT
  • Start requesting letters of recommendation. 
  • Start gathering information about law schools. 
  • Arrange a visit to a law school by working with their admissions office. You can request a tour of the school, get connected with a current student, or ask to sit in on a law school course. 

Summer Before Application

Fall Application Cycle 

  • Finalize letters of recommendation 
  • Order official transcript from UDallas Registrar
  • Finalize personal statement; proofread statement by OPCD and advisors
  • Take October LSAT if necessary 
  • Request financial aid information from law schools
  • Complete and send admissions application before Thanksgiving

Spring Application Cycle

  • Contact law schools to see if applications are complete
  • Complete and submit financial aid materials
  • Evaluate admissions offers
  • Thank letter writers and inform them of your plans.

Medical School

Is Medical School For Me? 

  • How will I pay for medical school?
    • Medical school is expensive and requires significant financial investment. Many students rely on loans to finance their education and can end up in $300k+ in debt. 
  • Do I recognize the value in waiting to start my career? 
    • It takes a long time to become a doctor, especially for specific specialties. It can take between 11-15 years to become a doctor. If the timeline seems daunting, but you’re still passionate about medicine another healthcare field may be a better fit. 
  • Can I balance medical school with my personal life? 
    • Pre-meds and students in medical school spend a lot of time studying, testing and working. This means social functions, friends and family, and other activities will need to be lower priorities. 
  • Do I work well as part of a team? 
    • The medical field attracts motivated and dedicated students; your peers will be just as driven and studious as you are. Students must learn to work with and celebrate others. 
  • What is motivating me to go to medical school?
    • Wanting to “help people” is not enough of a reason to go to medical school. Students must enjoy the continuous learning and being prepared to deal with the hardships of the profession. It is a difficult and rewarding career, but is not for everyone. 

Medical School Timeline 

*For specific application deadline dates, you should always check the AMCAS or AACOMAS websites.

Will you have a gap year? You will not have a gap year if you apply at the end of your junior year and are accepted. You will have a gap year if you apply senior year. Students who plan to take a gap year are able to gain more experience (research and clinical), and there is no need to rush through prerequisite courses. This also allows more time to study for the MCAT. 

Prior to Applying

  • Make sure to register for an Interfolio Dossier.
  • Gather Letters of Recommendation and consider giving your letter writers this AAMC link regarding guidelines and suggestions.
  • Continue with your volunteer, work, or research activities.
  • Prepare for the MCAT – Register and choose from approximately 20 dates but should not take later than April of the year that you submit your medical school application.
  • Attend various medical school admissions and application workshops, pre-med. conferences, graduate
    school fairs, etc.
  • Purchase and consult the MSAR (Medical School Admission Requirement) to confirm school-specific requirements. To view the MSAR online you need to purchase access to it from AAMC. See the AAMC website for details.
  • Continue to save money for the application process.

April/May of Application Year

  • Should be taking the MCAT or waiting for the release of your score from an earlier test date (April/May) but no MCAT after June unless you choose to delay your application. Later MCAT scores will put you at a disadvantage in the admissions process.)
  • AMCAS application opens in May. Begin to fill out the primary application. Contact AMCAS directly for specific questions that are not found in their AMCAS Applicant Guide.
  • Order and collect official transcripts from ALL colleges and universities that you have attended.
  • Confirm deadline dates for AMCAS and medical schools.
  • Focus on finals or if alumni, continue to work, volunteer, etc

June of the Application Year

  • Make final decisions on which medical schools to apply to and submit the primary application. You are able to add more schools during and after your application has been verified.
  • E-Send official transcripts to AMCAS through CalCentral. Be sure to send transcripts from all courses taken at a community college or other colleges.
  • Have letters of recommendation sent to AMCAS - check individual schools for specific criteria.
  • AMCAS verifies the primary application.
  • Medical school decisions regarding secondary applications begin to be forwarded to applicants (if invited to complete a secondary application, begin and submit sooner than later).

 

July of the Application Year

  • AMCAS verification process continues.
  • AMCAS notifies applicants of verified primary applications or problems with verification
  • Medical school decisions regarding secondary applications begin to be forwarded to applicants (if invited to complete a secondary application, begin and submit sooner than later).
  • Continue to submit primary applications.

August of the Application Year

  • Continue finishing and submitting secondary applications.
  • Applicants may begin receiving interview invitations.

September of Application Year

  • Prepare/attend interviews.
  • Continue to complete and submit secondary applications (check deadline dates).
  • Send medical schools application updates if acceptable.
  • Continue to check the medical school application status website for each individual medical school.
  • October–May of the Application Year
  • .

October of Application Year

  • Medical school admissions committees meet and decide status: accept/reject/waitlist. Applicants notified
    • These will start going out in October but may take through May of the following year

March-May of Matriculation Year

  • Medical schools hold “Second Look” or “Admit Weekend” activities. Newly admitted applicants are invited to attend.

May of Matriculation Year

  • Newly admitted applicants must notify AMCAS and the medical school that they plan to matriculate their decision by May 15th.
  • Admits with multiple acceptances must choose one school by May 15th and withdraw their application from other schools.

May-August of Matriculation Year

  • Applicants on waitlists are notified of an admission offer (typically, medical schools confirm their class by the end of June).

August–September of Matriculation Year

  • Medical school orientation and the school year begin. An applicant on a waitlist can no longer be offered a position at another school once orientation begins at a medical school.

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