Electronic vs. Paper Applications

One of choices a law school applicant faces is which application method is best: paper, LSAC electronic applications, or individual school electronic applications.

Both electronic and paper applications are viable and widely accepted, so you do not hurt yourself by choosing one method over another. However, in the last few years, electronic applications have become more popular and eventually they will be the de facto standard. For that reason, and because the electronic applications are easier to complete, we generally recommend that our students use the electronic forms. That said, here are few points about each option:

Paper applications

  • Generally take much longer to complete because each form must be filled out anew. Plus, there is the possibility that you will make an error while filling out a page and have to redo that page.
  • Typing the form is inexact and can look sloppy (items aren't centered, etc); filling out the forms by hand looks unprofessional.
  • Allows you to fill out each field exactly as you want it.
  • The school is used to the forms and gets exactly the information they want in the layout they selected.

Electronic applications (LSAC)

  • The fastest to complete since they typically use a standardized set of information for all fields.
  • Errors are easily correctable and the forms are neat and clean.
  • Because your information is standardized at the start of the application process, you have considerably less flexibility in tailoring your application to each school.
  • The forms are often a bit different than the school forms, but so many people use the LSAC applications that schools are accustomed to seeing LSAC forms.
  • The use of the LSAC electronic applications is free when you sign up for the CAS.

Electronic applications (School)

  • Faster than paper but slower than LSAC since you have to re-enter the information for each school.
  • Errors are easily correctable and the forms are neat and clean.
  • Allows you to fill out each field exactly as you want it.
  • The school is used to the forms and gets exactly the information they want in the layout they selected.

Given the above, electronic school forms are usually recommended if they are an option, but if not, use the LSAC forms. And, keep in mind that on the LSAC electronic applications website, each school has provided their preference regarding the use of electronic applications. In order to find the preference of each school, log into your account on the LSAC website, click on the Applications tab on the top of the screen, and then click on the Applications box at the top of the screen.

As always, if you are unsure about what method to use, contact the law school for more information on their preference.