How to Apply to Law School: Advice from a Law School Admissions Consultant

 
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Want to know how to apply to law school? 

If so, you’ve come to the right place!

My name’s Hannah, and I’m your Law School Strategist Extraordinaire.  

Here at Law School Solutions, we provide you with lots of tips and resources to help you submit your best possible law school application. 

The journey from being someone interested in law school to becoming a law school student can be a lengthy one. But with the correct tools and a positive outlook, you can move in the right direction toward achieving your goal of becoming an attorney.

 

So now onto the nitty gritty…

 

Let’s explore the topic of how to apply to law school.

 

Parts of the Law School Application


Before we go into all the essential details, let’s first break this down into something manageable. Here are the parts of the law school application. This key list of necessary components will help you understand how to apply to law school. Soon, I’ll give you all the details. It’s gonna be good!

  

1) College Transcript/Undergraduate Studies

 

2) LSAT

 

3) Law School Application Resume

 

4) Law School Application Personal Statement

 

5) Law School Letters of Recommendation

 

6) (Optional) Diversity Statement

 

7) (Sometimes Optional) Addendum

What You Should Know About the Parts of the Law School Application

1) College Transcript/Undergraduate Studies

college-transcript-undergraduate-studies


Your college academic performance matters a whole lot when it comes to your law school application. When you apply, you submit your transcript, which contains your grades and course list. Law schools are looking for both a rigorous course load and a solid GPA.

 

If you’re currently an undergraduate student, do all you can to be sure your GPA stays high while maintaining rigorous courses. Finishing strong is essential, even when it may feel cumbersome to keep studying.


2) LSAT

LSAT


Ahh, everyone’s favorite exam! Amirite? Okay, okay. I know that performing well on the LSAT requires loads of study time. But it’s all going to be worth it once you’re finally in law school. And even more worth it when you can actually practice law!

 

Your transcript and LSAT score are two of the most important components of your law school application, so this exam is certainly something to take seriously.

 

The LSAT is offered six times per year: January, March, June, July, September, and November. This means there should be plenty of time to take it (or retake it if you need to).


I recommend going into the LSAT as prepared as possible. It’s not wise to go into the exam without preparing. Law and graduate admission exams are a different story than pre-college exams so even if you’ve never had to study for a standardized test, this is the time to take it seriously.

 

If you’re a super diligent student who’s mastered the art of self-studying, you can go it alone with the right prep books. It will mean giving up some nights and weekends to study…but remember: it’s worth it!

 

However, if you’re someone who needs accountability (no shame there!) or just wants a made-for-you study plan, courses are the way to go.


But how do you even decide on which course to take? Well, I’ve got your back on this one. One of my recent blog posts details everything you need to know about choosing the right LSAT prep course. It also includes tips and tricks for getting the most out of the course you choose.

 

Investing in solid LSAT prep is a crucial component of my advice on how to get into law school.


3) Law School Application Resume

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Unlike a typical resume for a job application, your law school application resume needs to be extremely clear and concise. It’s a place where your personality can shine, but you need to show off that stunning personality in only one page! Sound tough? Believe me. I know the struggle. It can be a challenge to narrow your focus, but I can help you get there.

 

When thinking about how to get into law school it’s important to pay close attention to your resume. Your resume is something you have significant control over right now.

By the time you craft your resume, you likely will have taken the LSAT and have your GPA in place. Those can’t change (at least not much unless you take more classes or retake the LSAT), but your resume is a part of the law school application that can either push you forward or hold you back.

 

A few words of advice for those who want to know how to apply to law school: think of your law school application resume as a highlight reel. What are the strongest highlights you can share that portray who you are?

 

While it may seem like a good idea to squeeze every success into your 8.5 x 11 inch page, trying to share too much could actually backfire. Keep your resume focused on the best, most relevant information about your education, experience, and skills.

 

I’d love to give you a free cheat sheet to help you start creating a stellar law school admissions resume! Download it today to begin.

4) Law School Application Personal Statement

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Like your law school application resume, your personal statement provides an opportunity for you to shine. It gives you a chance to present yourself as more than just your LSAT and GPA numbers. The personal statement is where the admissions committee can see your personality and character.

 

While it may seem like something you just need to check off your list, I advise law school applicants to take time to craft a personal statement with intention. Some law schools specify a topic they want you to write on, but many don’t. This gives you creative freedom to write what you believe will effectively express your personality.

 

Each law school has different requirements for the length of your personal statement. Harvard, for example, specifies that applicants should limit their writing to two double-spaced pages of no less than 11-point font and 1-inch margins. Others don’t give any specific directives.

Be sure to read those personal statement requirements carefully! You don’t want your personal statement to stand out in a bad way before the admissions committee even reads it.

While many law schools provide freedom to choose a topic, the topic you choose matters. I recommend brainstorming a list of your life-shaping experiences and interests. These don’t have to be huge things, either. Make a list of your hobbies, travels, life challenges or hurdles, growth points, etc. Also think through why you became interested in law and what goals you have for your future.

 

Then, select one or two topics you feel you can use for a strong personal statement. Write, write, write. Go back and revise. Ask others to read and edit. Be sure to proofread, especially with fresh eyes a few days later. The last thing you want is for typos to appear in your submitted personal statement.

 

You know how I said you could be creative with your personal statement? It’s true that having freedom to choose your topic yields creativity, but there are three topics you should avoid. Read my post on it to be sure you stay away from the “don’t go there” zone!

5) Law School Letters of Recommendation

law-school-letters-of-recommendation

We know you’re awesome, but how about the professors who taught you in college?

Your law school letters of recommendation are a form of social proof that you are who you say you are. Nobody like a phony, and law schools are the same exact way. They want to know that the character you portray in your application is the same as is seen in the classroom or in the workplace.

 

Admissions committees prefer letters of recommendation from academic sources. This means obtaining recommendations from professors is the way to go!

 

The easiest way to obtain solid recommendations from professors is by being a genuinely good student and getting to know your professor in an authentic way. If you haven’t always maintained relationships with professors, though, don’t worry. You can still obtain a strong letter of recommendation even if you’ve lost touch.

6) (Optional) Diversity Statement

optional-diversity-statement.

While personal statements are a standard part of your law school application, some schools allow you to submit an additional diversity statement. This is an optional essay for the purpose of sharing how your unique perspective will contribute to the incoming class of 1Ls.

Diversity statements are usually shorter than law school personal statements and are meant to provide insight about how you’ll be as a student. They are so much more than a basic essay about your background.

Want to know more about what you should include in your personal statement or diversity statement? My blog post, Law School Personal Statement VERSUS Diversity Statement…Nail Them Both, will give you more detail.  

7) (Sometimes Optional) Addendum

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The seventh and final piece of the law school application we’re highlighting is the addendum. It’s the one part of the application you should most-carefully consider using. Not every person should submit an addendum. In fact, I feel that far too many people submit addenda who shouldn’t have bothered.

 

Your law school addendum is meant to explain a blemish on your application. It addresses a situation that could cause the admissions committee to get the wrong impression of you. Some applicants choose to use an addendum to explain criminal or bad behavior (usually it’s mandatory), sudden changes in LSAT scores, or abnormally low grades.

 

Be careful not to draw attention to irrelevant or unimportant things on your application. Make sure that what you explain is significant enough to warrant an explanation. If you point out something like a B in one class, it will look like you’re just making excuses for your less than perfect GPA. That won’t come across well!

 

The addendum is so highly misunderstood that you should probably check out 5 Law School Addendum Myths That Will Surprise You just to be safe! :)


How to Get Into Law School: Submitting Your Application


Each school has its own requirements, so this is where you want to be careful. And I mean it! Read all the application information available on the respective law schools’ websites before submitting. Some schools have very specific instructions for essay content or other pieces of information they want you to submit.

 

Do research long before you actually submit your application. That way there will be no surprises or rushing when it’s getting down to the deadline.


The Credential Assembly Service (CAS)


LSAC’s Credential Assembly Service (CAS) can be a lifesaver in the law school admissions process. Instead of gathering and sending your transcripts and letters of recommendation to each law school on your own, CAS gathers and forwards those documents to the law schools to which you apply. You send documents to CAS one time and they will send them to as many schools as you choose.

 

Head over to the CAS portion of LSAC’s website to find more details on this process.


How to Get Into Law School Through Early Decision


Many law schools offer applicants the chance to apply early – either through early decision or early action programs. If you choose to go this route, you will be required to submit your application long before the regular deadline, with an added bonus of hearing back much sooner than through regular decision.

 

Early action means you have the option to choose if you’d like to attend that law school after also applying to other law schools. Early decision, on the other hand, requires you to attend that law school and then withdraw all other applications.

 

Some students choose to try for early decision as it could help them get into a school that would have otherwise been a stretch. If you know that you want to attend a specific school, this could be a great option for you. But be sure you know what you want before you make a commitment by applying for early decision.

 

There are many pros and cons to choosing to apply to law school through early action or early decision programs. Be sure to think through potential scenarios before you make a quick decision about this.

 

Conclusion – You now know how to apply to law school!


If you read all the way to the conclusion, I want you to know I think you’re pretty amazing. You take this stuff seriously, which make me one of the happiest law school admissions consultants in the world. Now that you know how to apply to law school, it’s time to get started!


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