Law schools are getting harder to get into. In recent years, more students have been applying to the same top-tier public universities, and this has made admissions teams even more selective. Acceptance rates at prestigious public institutes, like the University of Michigan, now sit in the 10-20% range. Applicants should respond appropriately by putting their applications together with serious care. How, you ask? We recommend the six ways below:
Any law school admissions team will likely tell you that the most essential parts of your application are your GPA and Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) score. With 70,758 law school applicants nationwide in 2022, weeding out candidates based on two “scores” alone is a huge bonus. GPA gauges undergraduate academic success and the LSAT measures reading, analytical, and reasoning skills.
Start by checking the median scores and GPAs for your schools. To improve your GPA, consider adding more studying hours to your schedule, getting a peer tutor, or reaching out to your instructors for help. Resources offered by undergraduate institutions vary, so inform yourself on your school’s options. For LSAT preparation, take practice exams, use prep books, and consider getting a tutor. Before all of this, gauge your current score with an initial practice exam to learn how much you need to improve for the schools you’re interested in. Plan to put at least three months toward exam prep.
Doing well academically really only matters if you’re challenging yourself in subjects requiring reading, analytical, and writing skills. A 4.0 GPA will not hold much weight if you’re taking random classes that are not rigorous. Social sciences like economics and psychology can come in handy in legal arguments, while communications can strengthen your rhetorical skills. All in all, you don’t necessarily have to be a pre-law undergraduate, but you should choose a challenging major that helps you develop relevant skills.
To get a better sense of who you are, most schools require that you submit essays as part of your application. Being a good writer is important not only as a law student, but in the professional law field as well, where you’ll primarily be writing case briefs and summaries clearly and persuasively. The essays you submit to admissions teams should show the same strengths. Take plenty of time to check prompts for every school and brainstorm. Read your drafts out loud and print them out on hardcopy for revisions. Essays give law school admissions teams a chance to get to know you and your writing skills. Use this opportunity to impress them.
Some letters of recommendation are lukewarm endorsements, while others can be game changers in improving your application. You want to make sure yours are the latter. This reference could be a professor, advisor, or manager. A way to connect with professors is by attending office hours consistently to talk one-on-one about your interests in the class, which can then extend into conversations about your law school aspirations. Building this connection overtime can lead to mentorship and a stand-out letter of recommendation. The key here is that these meetings organically turn into endorsements for your application. Letters of recommendation should genuinely speak to your character and should do so because the person wants to help you and advocate for you.
A resume is another qualitative measure that can give admissions teams a sense of the character that you could add to their program. It’s important to be strategic about both how you pick your extracurricular and work experiences during your college years, and how you present them in your resume. Overall, the most essential component of a law school resume is proving you’re a hard worker that can stay dedicated to fulfilling activities that truly interest you.
Another key is balancing between making your resume “law-school oriented” and not pigeon-holing yourself. You want to demonstrate that you’re a well-rounded applicant with interests that don’t present you as overly one-track-minded. It’s undoubtedly important to include and focus on experiences that are relative to law school. However, what could make you stand out is volunteer projects, studying a language, conducting research, or turning a niche hobby, like sewing, into a business.
With acceptance rates dwindling, applying to law school would be daunting for anyone, no matter how passionate and excited they are about law. Thankfully, we’ve outlined here key to-dos that will enhance your application. Having assistance along the way will help further ensure that this process is smooth sailing and all worth it in the end.
For more individualized help, testing tips, and tutoring services, check out online resources at TestPrepScore.com. Your winning law school application awaits!