Things to Consider When Applying to Law School
As you complete each application, take your time. Ensure all documents have been uploaded properly and that your essay demonstrates both your personal goals and background effectively.
Utilizing various resources (law school websites, pre-law advisors and student reviews and forums), thoroughly research schools of your interest. Allow time for recommenders to write letters on your behalf.
Preparing for the LSAT
The LSAT stands apart from many other tests you may take during college by not rewarding rote memorization but instead requires you to analyze dense information quickly and logically, so starting to prepare early for it is key. Consider taking relevant coursework in logic, philosophy, critical writing and advanced English literature if possible – these courses may all prove fruitful for exam success.
As soon as you decide to start studying for the LSAT, work backwards from when you want to take it and devise a study and practice test schedule. Some applicants may even decide to hire an LSAT tutor or coach for extra preparation; earlier you start, the more likely you are of scoring well on your first attempt!
Letters of recommendation are an integral component of law school applications. Admissions committees look closely at extracurricular activities, internships and outside interests undertaken by each applicant; particularly their leadership experience and sense of self-motivation. Don’t just list all your activities or internships – instead select two or three that best demonstrate them!
After you take the LSAT, use your scores to fine-tune your research and application strategy. Your scores should help narrow your list of schools to meet your target range and/or decide if retaking the exam is necessary; use them also to plan out study plans accordingly. At this time, register with LSAC’s Credential Assembly Service (CAS); this service bundles transcripts, LSAT scores and letters of recommendation into one official report that’s sent directly to every law school you apply to.
Choosing your schools
Law schools require consideration of various factors when making their selection, similar to what an undergraduate might require. Tuition costs should be carefully researched as can their financial aid packages and attendance plans – full- or part-time programs being an important aspect.
Next, determine what area of law you would like to practice. There are certain programs tailored specifically for particular forms of legal work and may feature strong alumni networks in certain specializations that could prove invaluable as future employment prospects. Students should also decide between public or private schools, considering all potential advantages for both options.
Visit law schools and speak to students and professors before selecting one – this can give an accurate picture of life at that school, helping narrow your application list down further. Undergraduate professors should write letters of recommendation early.
Make sure to gain an understanding of the school’s atmosphere and culture by talking to current or former students, attending open houses, and visiting its website. Inquire as well about what type of student groups and clubs exist – this can be especially helpful for underrepresented minorities looking for support networks outside their homes.
Writing your essays
Writing essays is an integral part of law school applications, with most schools requiring you to compose both personal statements and supplemental essays, in addition to diversity statements or addenda. Furthermore, some schools allow candidates to submit resumes in lieu of personal statements while some might require letters of recommendation as part of their application package. All these elements contribute significantly in evaluating your application – take each element seriously when making your submission!
Your personal statement should outline why and how you wish to attend law school, while outlining what contributions you will bring to the legal community. Your statement should be short yet engaging; use vivid descriptions instead of legal jargon that might make you appear pompous.
As you craft your personal statement, don’t be intimidated to experiment with different writing styles – but keep in mind that reading committee members have hundreds of applications to review and will likely look for consistency across them all.
To write effective supplementary essays, you should focus on discussing why and what makes a particular school unique, along with any long-term career goals you wish to attain and how the law school can support these objectives.
Graduate applicants to law schools often possess more life experience and knowledge about legal fields than undergraduate applicants, making their essays more focused and detailed compared to undergrad applications. A good essay can often make the difference between being accepted into top law schools or being rejected altogether.
Taking the LSAT
Though many law schools no longer require the LSAT for admissions decisions, this test remains an integral factor. A school’s median LSAT score contributes 12.5% of its US News and World Report ranking and helps determine if it falls in the “top” section.
An LSAT score that demonstrates dedication and passion is vitally important. Take the LSAT as soon as you can; ideally before any applications are due. If your course load or project responsibilities prevent this from happening, consider postponing taking the exam until there’s more time to devote towards studying for it.
There are various strategies you can employ to increase your chances of obtaining an outstanding score on any test. Choose a study method that works for you, and be sure to register at a time when you can dedicate an uninterrupted day for preparation.
Retaking the exam can also help your score, with LSAC permitting up to three attempts on the LSAT per year. Many test takers report seeing an improvement after taking it multiple times; before doing so though, you should carefully consider what contributed to your lower score and how to improve for future tests.
Law schools value applicants who can demonstrate they’ve grown and developed during their college years or as working professionals, making personal statements and long-form answers so integral in this application process. Personal statements provide a platform to share stories from your experiences that demonstrate how these have made you a stronger individual.
Getting ready for interviews
Step two of law school application involves interview preparation. Law schools that require interviews will pose several questions related to your experiences and reasoning for choosing law as a profession, which will allow admissions officers to determine whether you would fit their program well. Researching each law school thoroughly prior to your interview will enable you to answer their queries more convincingly.
Though no interviewer can predict exactly what questions will come up during an interview, certain topics often crop up frequently. One question might ask about your favorite book and why it holds meaning to you; another could require you to describe a challenging situation you encountered and how you dealt with it; some schools even ask applicants about their legal philosophy and career goals.
Interviews may not be the most pleasant part of law school application processes, but they’re essential if applying to top-ranked institutions. Interviews give admissions committees the chance to assess your personality and learn more about your background as well as evaluate whether you communicate well in person.
Law school rankings lists are also useful when selecting law schools; however, it should be remembered that these rankings should only serve as one data point and should not be used as the sole factor when making decisions about specific schools. For instance, one law school might have lower acceptance rates compared to top schools but may offer excellent programs at more reasonable costs; such cases would make applying to said school more likely than passing.