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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 be a safety school (one where you are above the school’s 25th percentile on LSAT). Consider adding a top 5 school if you have a shot at admission and attending is an option.
If you have an average LSAT/GPA, plan on applying to 6 to 8 schools that serve your region. Make sure to include at least 3 – Tier 4 schools as safety schools. Make sure that you include no more than 2 reach schools, and that you include at least 2 competitive schools.
If you have a below-average LSAT/GPA, plan on applying to 12 or more schools. You will probably have to expand your school list. It is important to stay in the region that you want to work. So, for example, if you want to be in the Northeast, do not consider CA or FL schools. Make sure that at least 6 of your applications are to Tier 4 schools, and no more than 2 of your applications are to reach schools. If you are in this category, make sure that you have done all that you can to maximize your LSAT score and GPA.