Application Preparation

Personal Statement Theme Advice

Five Proven Personal Statement Themes 1. Overcoming adversity – this can make a great theme, but it sometimes a hard essay to pull off. The first obstacle is ensuring that you are actually writing about an actual adversity rather than a disappointment. An obstacle is something like serious illness, divorce, abuse, war, poverty, discrimination, etc. Contrast that with a disappointment, which is wanting something you didn’t get—failing a class, losing an election, etc. Focusing on disappointments reflects poorly on your priorities. To be successful with this essay you have to have a genuine adversity, and describe how you dealt with Read More +


Letters of Recommendation for Law School: Need to Know

How Law Schools Read Your Letter of Recommendation Law school admissions committees read your letters of recommendation with three questions in mind: 1) how well does the writer know the applicant; 2) what information does the writer give about the applicant’s ability to excel in law school; and 3) how enthusiastic is the writer’s support for the candidate? Remember to find a recommender that is going to reflect well on you in light of these principal questions. Requesting a Letter of Recommendation If possible, you need to request the recommendation in person. Drop by the professor’s office and ask for Read More +


Tips for Law School Personal Statements

Finding the Appropriate Structure for a Personal Statement Start with a sound structure. Your law school personal statement should have a readily identifiable structure. To ensure that this happens, it is highly important to construct the statement from an outline. An outline should make sense by itself; the ideas should follow logically in the order that you list them. Your body paragraphs should consist of events, experiences, and specific examples that support and move along the theme. Great personal statements incorporate many different elements. They have strong introductions and conclusions. They follow a logical progression, using active voice and the Read More +


Securing Law School Letters of Recommendation

An important element of the law school application is the letter of recommendation. This is the only chance for someone else to speak on your behalf within the application, and law schools place weight on what your professors and employers say about you. Because all letters of recommendation are relatively good, it's important to have letters that are outstanding. You should develop relationships with your faculty so that you will get a good letter of recommendation. Cultivate this relationship by participating in class discussions, going to office hours, participating in individual study, etc… Develop a professional relationship with your professors. Read More +


Personal Statement Example For a Law School Application

Personal statements are critical in the law school application process. They need to read as genuine, unique and engaging, without sounding pretentious or out of integrity. Below is a sample of a personal statement so that you can get an idea of tone, content and style. However, the tone should vary based on how you write and what the story is that you are telling. This example was on LSN.com and LawSchoolExpert.com's Ann Levine will follow with a few points critiquing it: It is Monday morning at 4:30 a.m., do you know where your son is? If someone had asked Read More +


Sample Letters of Recommendation for a Law School Application

When it comes to letters of recommendation (LORs), there are good ones that help propel you forward in the process, and bad ones that actually can drag you down. Below is a sample of each so that you may properly guide your recommenders to create stellar examples of LORs. Example of a bad LOR: August 10, 2010 Re: Suzie Student Dear Law School Admissions Committee: For a number of years I taught a part-time course at Minnesota College called Introduction to the International Law of Human Rights – POLS 410. This was a challenging course intended for upper-level students. Students Read More +


Submitting an Addendum to Your Law School Application

An addendum is an additional written statement provided with your law school application. Its purpose is to highlight any legitimate reasons for weakness in your law school application. Some schools limit the scope for addenda and allow other optional statements to address things like multiple LSAT scores, an upward trend in grades, and/or character and fitness issues that must be reported in the application. If you prepare an addendum, remember to make it as concise as possible and stick to the facts. The facts are more persuasive than your conjecture or belief that you will excel in law school despite Read More +


Who Should Write Your Law School Letters of Recommendation

Law schools are particularly interested in academic letters of recommendation. Much of the information they hope to gain from these letters is best judged by another professor. Ideally, your letters will come from professors who taught classes where you excelled. Law schools are also looking for the letter to come from someone who knows you well. General letters of recommendation from professors, or even well-known politicians, judges, etc… should be avoided. Look for a professor who worked with you extensively and who could comment on your intellectual and analytical abilities—one that personally mentored you if possible. The best choices for Read More +


Top 10 Law School Applicant Resume Mistakes

Resumes are not usually one of the major factors that admissions committees consider. A resume usually provides consistency and reinforcement to the application. But if your resume is flawed, it can hurt your chances for admission. Here are some common mistakes to avoid: 1. Typos or formatting mistakes. As example, there is no comma between months and years. Make sure that you proofread the resume multiple times and have someone else look at it too. 2. Inconsistency. Whatever format you decide on, be consistent. Do your best to have the consistency flow between sections. Make sure that the information is Read More +


When to Apply to Law School

The Reason You Should Ignore Application Deadlines Even though most law school application deadlines fall in February and March, you should ignore them. Most schools use a form of rolling admissions. This means that the school will make offers to students before the application deadline. Potential students who get their applications in early enough will often get their answer in the late fall or by the end of January, before many students even apply. Some schools have specific deadlines for getting an early decision. Make sure to check with your schools to see whether the early decision date is for Read More +


Basics of the Law School Application Process

Before we go much further, you should understand some of the basic concepts in law school admissions. Law schools consider a variety of factors in reviewing law school applications. If candidates have a strong enough application, in light of these factors, they are offered a seat. The most important of these factors are the undergraduate GPA, and the LSAT score. These are considered “hard” factors by all schools, and are used to compute a score called the admissions index by most schools. But, no school relies solely on the index. All schools attempt to view the applicant as a whole. Read More +


Law School Admissions Interviews

In law school admissions, interviews are not common. Many schools do not interview at all, and most only offer interviews on a limited basis. If you are offered an interview, take it. It usually means that you are in the discretionary review group, and the committee is looking for ways to distinguish the applicants. The majority of applicants are admitted or denied on their application alone. If you know that you will fall into a school’s discretionary pile, you should request an interview. Schools that use the interview make them an important part of the admissions decision. How You are Read More +


Law School Applicants: When to Expect an Answer

If you have followed the recommendations in throughout this site, including timely applications that are complete and polished, and can expect an answer by the end of the year. We recommend you submit your application no later than November 1st, regardless of the cut-off date. Applications arrive to the school at different rates with the bulk arriving in January and February. The longer you wait to apply in the application process, the longer it takes to get a decision. Here are some guidelines: • It isn’t unusual for those who apply by November 1 to get an answer within 5 Read More +


How Many Law Schools Should You Apply To?

Deciding how many law schools you will apply to is dependent on several things. The first step is to first look at your Pre-law Plan. How many law schools did you identify as schools that provide you with a fair opportunity to work and live where you want to be? The average student applies to six law schools. The optimal number for you depends on the competitiveness of your LSAT/GPA, and where you live. If you have a very competitive LSAT/GPA, apply to at least four of the schools that you identified as local feeders. One of these four should Read More +


The LSAC Evaluation Service

The LSAC is now offering a new evaluation service to supplement the traditional letter of recommendation process. This service aims to standardize and streamline the evaluation process. In 2011, the service was mandatory for only one law school. If one of your application schools “recommends” an evaluation (about 25% in 2011), consider it to be required. It is expected that more schools will make this service mandatory as time goes on. The recommender gets an email from LSAC that takes them to an online form to fill out. The survey includes both background and evaluation questions. Each category of questions Read More +


4 Ways to Apply to Law School for Free

Need some financial assistance in the law school application process? Here are four ways to apply for free: 1. You can be awarded a fee waiver by LSAC. The fee waiver is difficult to qualify for and requires you to demonstrate an “extreme need.” Expect to start this process early – budget 2 months before your LSAT. This fee waiver will include the cost of two LSAT tests, your CAS registration, four law school reports and a free copy of the LSAT SuperPrep. Because these waivers are so stringent, once you are awarded a fee waiver by LSAC most law Read More +


7 Defects to Avoid on Your Law School Application

Even the strongest applicants can be rejected if they make too many mistakes. Here are 7 common mistakes that you can eliminate from your application: 1. Late application. The good news is that this is a very easy defect to avoid. Be very mindful of each school’s cut-off date, and send in your application with time to spare. 2. Failing to carefully follow all directions. For example, if you fail to list things in chronological order, or reverse chronological order when asked, it certainly creates a blemish. Another common blunder is not following directions about how to label attachments. 3. Read More +


Top 10 Mistakes Law School Applicants Make

As you prepare to attend law school, be mindful of the common applicant mistakes. The moment you decide that law school is for you is the moment you start preparing. Follow these tips as early as possible, and you’ll have a better chance of setting yourself up for success. 1. Failure to challenge yourself to excel in undergrad. Your undergraduate GPA is one of the most important factors in admission, and you must always do your best. Don’t avoid hard classes—do the work. Admissions committees look at both your results and the level of difficulty. 2. Taking the LSAT without Read More +


Behaviors That Jeopardize Your Law School Application

It is obvious that the time that your applications are outstanding is going to be stressful. You need to maintain your composure. Avoid taking your stress out on the others around you. Your demeanor and behavior must reflect that of your top-tier law school’s culture, and certain actions can turn a potential acceptance into a flat out rejection. As you wait for law school’s to reply to your application, strongly avoid the following behaviors: • Getting arrested. You are under an obligation to supplement your application if this happens. Putting yourself in a bad situation will not reflect well on Read More +


How to Handle a Law School Application Waitlist

If you have applied for law school with strong qualifications but didn’t quite make the initial cut, many schools will put you on a waitlist. Some law schools that you would consider safety picks will wait-list you because they believe that you are unlikely to accept an offer (US News measures the percentage of accepted offers and considers this in the law school’s ranking). On the whole, it’s best to consider the waitlist as a rejection. Still, every year students from the waitlist are offered seats, it just isn’t that common. Initially, law schools make more offers to potential students Read More +


Law School Admissions Checklist

Junior Year February (18 months before law school starts) [ ] LSAT Prep – Plan on devoting at least 150 hours to this project. Either sign up for prep class or purchase Prep books and set up a self-study schedule. [ ] Register with the Law School Admissions Council: http://www.lsac.org March – May [ ] Complete LSAT prep course or self study. June [ ] Sit for the LSAT [ ] Determine the law schools that you will apply to Senior Year August (12 months before law school starts) [ ] Find 2-3 professors who will agree to provide a Read More +


Preparing Your Resume for Law School

Many, but not all, law schools require a resume with your law school application. Other schools make it optional. A law school resume, if done nicely, can supplement your application in a meaningful way. Your resume can add information to your application, subtly highlight unique factors, and supplement the theme from your personal statement. While the resume doesn’t always come into play in the admissions process, it is very important for highly competitive schools or close-call applicants. Submit a resume with your application unless the law school specifically states that you should not. Law school resumes are not the same Read More +


10 Things to do the Summer Before Law School

1. Download and review the Law School Coach Free 1L Student Guide – Being Ready from Day One. 2. Spend time reviewing law student forum or blog discussions, and talking to other law students or lawyers about their experience. Get free advice when you can, but keep in mind that it was free (take everything with a grain of salt). 3. Call the law school and find out if 1L law students are provided a special place to study. Many law schools assign 1L study areas. If your school does not, you will need a plan for where to study. Read More +


Deciding Whether to Attend an Unaccredited Law School

Attending an unaccredited law school is a drastic step that should only be used as a last resort for a person who is determined to become a lawyer no matter what. The reality is that non-ABA law graduates have extremely-limited career options. Currently graduates of non-ABA schools can only sit for the bar exam and practice (if successful) in California. In order to sit for the bar in California from a non-ABA school you have to first pass its First-Year Law Students’ Examination. Additionally, these students are required to study law for 4 years instead of 3. All other requirements Read More +


Ten Things You Should NOT Do When Waitlisted

1. Do nothing. Law schools give wait-list seats to applicants who are enthusiastic, professional, and persistent. If you don’t want a seat, keep quiet. 2. Call the school once a week. Don’t be a stalker! The wait-list puts you in a delicate situation. You want to show enthusiasm, but you don’t want to bother the admissions committee. You have to use your judgment and gauge when you’re pushing enough and when it’s too much. There is a fine line between keeping the school apprised of your interest/status, and annoying them. 3. Use gimmicks to get attention. Sending a chair to Read More +


How to Handle Multiple Law School Acceptances

If you have done everything well in your journey to attend law school, you should be well suited to receive multiple acceptances, and maybe a few wait-list responses. If this is the case, congratulations, you are almost done with the application process! The final step is to choose which school to attend. This is often complicated by being on the wait list at one or more schools. Choosing Between Multiple Acceptances If you have multiple acceptances, it is time to break out your ranking list. You would think that choosing your law school would be an easy process—just take your Read More +


How to Determine if Law Is For You

Understand What You are Getting Into By Pursuing a Law Degree Going to law school isn’t a decision you should rashly make. Before the process is complete, you will dedicate three years of your life and probably add upwards of $100,000 of non-bankruptcy-dischargeable debt to your portfolio. Doing well in law school requires the type of commitment that will affect your health, your relationships, and maybe even your sanity. So, why do you want to go to law school? Why do you want to be a lawyer? If you are going to law school with thoughts of anything other than Read More +


Six Tips for Rejected Law School Applicants

If you were rejected from all the schools you applied to, here are some suggested next steps for you to take in your journey to law school: 1. If your LSAT score was not optimal, consider retaking the test. You should only consider doing this if you are committed to a rigorous study program. You should not retake the test until your practice test scores show that you have a 5 – 7 point improvement. Usually students need a formal prep course or professional tutoring to see this type of improvement. A 1 or 2 point increase in a second Read More +


Tips for Prelaw Students

The purpose going forward is to arm you with the skills and information you need to get into the best law school possible. This process begins with some general tips. Start a Law School File Organization is a required skill for law students and lawyers. You might as well develop it now. Start a law school file. In your file, you should keep everything relating to law school so that you don’t have to do the same work twice. You should create folders for your undergraduate information, for each law school you plan to apply to, and for general information Read More +


Registering with LSAC

Before you can register for your LSAT test, you must open an account with the Law School Admissions Council website. Opening the account is free, but you will need to eventually pay for the Credential Assembly Service, which is currently $124. The CAS is the service that simplifies the law school application process by gathering your information and providing it to law schools. The law school gets a summary prepared by CAS along with copies of all the pertinent information. You pay an extra $12 for each law school report after the first one. The registration is good for five Read More +


Want to Be a Lawyer? Take This Test First

If you’re reading this, you have more than a passing interest in becoming a lawyer. Because law school is such a huge decision, we encourage you to heavily weigh your options, and this test will help you figure out if being an attorney is really for you. Many people in their law school decision don’t include an evaluation of whether they will be happy as a lawyer. Happiness in a career comes when the job satisfies the goals you have set. Picture the type of life you want to live, and from that frame of reference answer these questions: • Read More +


Developing Your Pre-Law Plan

One advantage that you can have over other potential prelaw students is to develop a clear plan for getting into law school early on. Developing this plan requires you to start by thinking about some key aspects of your career as a lawyer. What type of lifestyle do you want? What are the most important things that you want from a job? At this point, you are more interested in trying to identify important lifestyle factors rather than trying to figure out what kind of law you want to practice. The first step in this process is to develop a Read More +


Important Activities for Your Law School Application

Activities that Law Schools Look For on Your Resume Admissions committees look for you to demonstrate that you can successfully handle involvement in the world outside of yourself while maintaining an impressive GPA. They search for significant leadership roles and a commitment to something other than your studies. Whatever activity you choose, it should demonstrate meaningful community involvement, leadership, and responsibility. This will show the committee that you have other talents than simply academic ones. The most important thing to remember with your extracurricular involvement is to hold a leadership position. Leadership positions demonstrate that you probably have skills such Read More +


Choosing Your Major for Prelaw

With a clear idea of the law schools that you want to attend, and the potential hurdles you face, you want to choose a major that is going to enhance your chances for success. Most people will tell you that your major does not matter to law schools. Those people are wrong. Your major is going to be a soft factor that is reviewed by every law school. Law schools want to see that you were challenged, and still excelled. The first consideration in choosing a major is to consider your academic strength. Have you always been at the top Read More +


Making Undergraduate Courses Count for Law School

There are several things that you can do that will help to make your course selection stand out to law school admissions committees. First, ensure that you have courses that develop the skills they are looking for (listed above). Second, find a passion. Committees look for good students, not students who are trying to look good. Develop some depth in your coursework. Find something in your major to master. Third, while committees are looking for depth, they also look for you to demonstrate some intellectual curiosity. You can demonstrate this by choosing electives that are outside of your major. If Read More +


What to do if You don’t Get Into Law School

If you have followed the recommendations throughout this site, it is unlikely that you will not be admitted to one of the law schools you identified. But, if you do come up short, it isn’t the end of the world. In this situation, you are going to have to do some soul searching and reconfirm your commitment to becoming a lawyer. Next up, you’ll want to consider the process of developing your plan for being a stronger applicant so that you can get into law school in the next application cycle. Identifying and Correcting Weaknesses in Your Application The first Read More +