Every year prospective law students endure the grueling law school admissions process. Many believe that a high GPA and LSAT score are the only things law schools look for. The truth is not all schools do.
There are many factors law schools consider when reviewing an applicant. Yes, GPA is an important part of an application, but admissions take into consideration: the LSAT, personal statements, work experience, addendums explaining low LSAT or GPA, personal circumstances, interviews, letters of recommendations and the month a person applies.
The time an application is completed plays a major role. The sweet spot to apply is before the Thanksgiving weekend and after October. You don’t want to apply too late because there will be less spots available. The earlier you apply the better chances you have of being accepted and offered grants or scholarships.
Many law schools also consider whether you are an underrepresented minority (URM). The applicant is considered part of a minority group, when the percentage of the population at a given law school is lower than their percentage of the population in the country.
The groups that are typically considered part of the underrepresented minority are: Hispanic/Latinx, African Americans, and Native Americans. The underrepresented minority groups can vary depending on location.
Non-traditional students are older applicants. These applicants did not follow the traditional high school to college road and have more work experience. Certain schools give these applicants a boost because of the real world experience they bring.
The LSAT is considered more important to certain law schools than GPA. A few top 14 law schools in the country include Northwestern Pritzker School of Law and Virginia University School of Law. They are extreme splitter friendly. These law schools look at the entire application and the GPA becomes slightly less important.
Extreme splitters are applicants who have a GPA lower than a 3.0 and have acquired an LSAT score over 170+. It’s achieved by 1% of test takers, which is why some law schools choose LSATs over GPAs. The high LSAT score also demonstrates the student’s ability to test take under pressure.
Reverse splitters are applicants who have GPAs above 3.8 and have an LSAT score below 150-.
Personal statements play a major role when applying. It’s your story, your entire journey up until graduation. It’s your chance to let the admissions office know why you will make an excellent law student.
When writing personal statements, it’s important to include why the law school should accept you. An applicant needs to demonstrate what the law school will miss out if they are not accepted into the school. Be vulnerable and let your guard down when writing your personal statement.
Another factor is work experience. It can make a major impact in an application. Work experience shows an admissions representative or dean maturity and knowledge gained from working.
If your GPA is below a 3.0 due to working full-time while attending school, make sure to include it. Although it might have had a negative impact on your GPA, it shows dedication to goals. That’s exactly what law school admission folks want to see.
Applicants who worked full-time while attending college, should make sure to add it in the application. Whether the work experience is in retail or law firm, law schools value it.
It doesn’t matter what jobs you worked at before applying to law schools. The schools want an applicant to demonstrate leadership skills. How can an applicant bring the leadership skills gained at work to law school?
By volunteering and having internships, it shows law schools you care about your community and gives them a chance to see what you value.
If you own a business or organization, it’s recommended to mention it. Law schools want to know how a prospective student can change the world and what the applicant can bring to the school.
Personal growth during the years is important. Incorporate how obstacles and experiences helped you grow, either during school or after graduating.
The reality is many people are applying to law school. How does your story differ from other applicants? What makes you unique?
Once an application is submitted, it’s important to continue to show interest. If waitlisted, email them and tell the law school you are still waiting to hear a response. If you are doing something important during the time you are waitlisted, such as doing an internship or have a new job, let them know. This shows that you are being active and not just sitting around.
Below are a few resources that can help on your journey to law school: