A Practical To Do List Before You Go to Law School

After all is said and done, you have more to do than just apply for law school and wait for it to start in August. If only life were that easy.

It might feel as if you're getting a barrage of emails from your law school and there's a gazillion things on your to do list, but I'm here to simplify it a bit for you. Of course, each incoming student is different and you may have some extra things on here that didn't apply to me, but this is a general list to help you keep track of your life.

Find an apartment

You're going to need a place to live while you're going to law school, especially if you're moving away. Get this out of the way early; you don't want to be stressing out about finding an apartment on top of learning your class schedule and finding your way around the law building on campus.

Find roommates

If you're looking to find roommates, make sure to get that done as you're looking for an apartment. I personally chose to stick with other grad students while I was searching for a roomie; however, you can go about finding roommates with whatever preferences you have.

Get your parking permit

Commuting to campus has its perks, so make sure to take advantage of that if you're bringing a car to campus. Obtain your parking permit as soon as you can so you're not worrying about it during orientation or on your first day of classes.

Pick up your student ID

I'm lucky enough that DU lets you submit your ID photo early if you choose to do so. Otherwise, you'll take a photo at orientation and it'll be made. Just make sure to pick it up when you're scheduled to so you don't have to go out of your way later on to get your ID.

Apply for scholarships

Let's state the obvious: law school is expensive. Taking the time to apply for some scholarships in your free time will help you in the long run, even though it may suck to write essays over and over again. There's a scholarship out there for everything, so get ready to start researching!

Buy or rent your textbooks

Once you get your class schedule, start searching for where you can get your textbooks. While the campus bookstore may feel convenient, compare their prices to other places to see if you can get a better deal. Double-check with older students to see which books you should buy new or used, as well as which books are okay to rent.

Get your orientation schedule

You don't want to be scrambling on the morning of the first day of orientation trying to figure out where to go, what to wear, and what to bring along with you. Keep an eye out for an email with it, or look on the law school's website to find a copy.

Pack your bookbag

Similar to my point up above, you don't need to spend your first morning of classes running around your apartment trying to find a few specific things. Pack your backpack the night before so you can take a little stress out of your morning.

Check classroom locations

Luckily, I have never had the unfortunate experience of walking into the wrong classroom while class is in session. I plan on continuing this streak of good luck into law school, too. Take a quick tour of the law building, with a focus on your classrooms, so you'll feel confident when you walk in on the first day.

Buy school supplies

Ah, my favorite part of a new school year. Get ready to pick out a ton of highlighters, pens, pencils, notebooks, binders, folders, and more to get you through all the reading and note-taking that law school entails.

Set up your planner

Once you get your syllabi, figure out how you want your planner to look. Are you going to update it each week, each month, or are you going to put every assignment in at once? Make sure to also block out times for studying, working out, spending time with friends, etc.

Finish any advance assignments

The Socratic method already sounds terrifying enough; don't start off your first class with even more nerves by not doing your readings for the first day. Besides, the earlier you start writing notes and reading casebooks, the easier it'll become.

Rent a locker

If you have the option to rent out a locker for the semester and you know you'll be carrying a lot of books around with you on campus, getting some extra space will be super helpful for you. Not only will you save the health of your back, it will also save you peace of mind.

Meal prep for your first week

Getting used to law school is going to be hard enough, so planning out your meals in advance will check one thing off your to do list and keep you from going insane attempting to cook and read casebooks at the same time.

Pick out your first day outfit

Getting dressed for  the first day of classes has always had something special about it. Even when I was little, my mom would put emphasis on what I wore on the first day of school. Find some inspiration on Pinterest, and lay your outfit out so you can slip it on in the morning.

Explore your new city

If you're like me and are moving to a new city for law school, spend some time learning about your new home. Explore a bit and find some cafes, clothing stores, and museums that you want to visit so you have something to look forward to when you need a break from law school.

Print your syllabi

For me, there's something about having a version of my syllabi in-hand that helps me keep on track of my assignments. I like having the option to highlight and write all over my syllabi so I have all of the important information for a class in one spot.

Submit any necessary forms

You don't want any holds on your academic record, especially if you haven't been registered for classes yet. Double- and triple-check your student account to make sure you've sent your law school everything they need.

Update your laptop

Make sure that your computer is up-to-date and able to run all of the necessary programs from the law school. You can find all this information on your law school's IT website.




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