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Application Process

Below are some general suggestions for the law school application process.

Start Early

The process of applying includes multiple components, some of which are quite time-consuming. Expect to spend a good deal of time preparing for the LSAT, for example, and preparing a high-quality personal statement also requires a substantial allocation of time. Get acquainted with the process early on and begin working in earnest on the applications with ample lead time. If you are going to apply during the fall of your senior year, it is recommended that you begin working on the applications by the spring of your junior year.

Quality over Quantity

Some students feel a compulsion to pile up majors and minors, organizational memberships, and extracurricular activities. This is not a sound strategy in the context of law school applications. Your application will not be scored like a game of pinball, with each entry racking up more points. If you list many activities without showing how one or two are integral to your application, there is a danger of losing the forest for the trees.

Prioritize quality over quantity. Were you instrumental to the creation or thriving of a particular organization? Is there a summer job where you enhanced a vital skill? Is there a volunteer activity where you really made a difference? Focus on a couple of things that make you stand out.

Pay Attention to Detail

Remember your audience. You are auditioning for a profession where a misplaced word can affect the validity of a will or the interpretation of a contract. Law is a detail-oriented discipline, and law schools place a premium on meticulousness. Proofread everything carefully. There is no such thing as a minor typo on a law school application.

Treat Your Application as a Cohert Whole

It is true that LSAT scores and GPAs play a major role in law school admissions. However, they are not the only considerations that affect the evaluation of candidates. Applications are not processed by a computer; they are read, in their entirety, by human beings.

Admissions committees not only want candidates who can do the work and excel in the legal profession, they also want individuals who will contribute positively to the law school community. Bringing leadership ability and interesting experiences to the community matters. It also matters how you come across as a person. No one wants to invite someone into the community who seems pushy or arrogant.

What does all of this mean for your applications?

First, be strategic about how your present the material in your application. Think about the principal strengths or themes that you would like to emphasize. You want the various parts of the application to complement one another as part of a cohesive narrative without needless repetition.

Second, tone matters. You want to strike a healthy balance. Your application is, in effect, a persuasive argument for why the law school should admit you. On the other hand, you want to make sure that the tone of your writing is not grandiose. You can present yourself in the most positive light while also being genuine and professional.

Third, be careful what you post online. Law school officials note that there are instances where things posted online come back to haunt law school applicants.

On a related note, many people do not realize that law school officials report that they keep track of every contact with applicants, whether through email, phone calls, or visits. Demonstrating interest is a plus. Obtaining relevant information is crucial. At the same time, you want to be sensitive to the fact that you are one of many applicants with whom the school is corresponding.

Be Honest

In the legal profession, integrity is more than a moral aspiration, it is a professional requirement. The process of gaining admission to the bar includes a character and fitness examination. Law school applications are not a place to “embellish.” For example, do not tell a school that it is your first choice if that is not really the case.