With the law school application season in full swing, I thought I’d go through some common mistakes people make. Don’t let yourself fall into one of these traps!
1) Sending in law school applications too late.
Admissions at most law schools are rolling, meaning that schools admit students as they go along rather than waiting until they have a critical mass of applications in. Many schools fill up their class and give away scholarships before their application deadlines. As any law school tutor will tell you, it really matters when you apply. This means is that you should get your application in as soon as you possibly can. It is particularly important that you communicate this to your professors or other recommenders. Give them a firm date when you want to have your application in and don’t be afraid to check in and remind them.
2) Not taking the LSAT test seriously enough.
The LSAT test really matters way more than most standardized tests. See Cambridge Coaching’s post for more details on that. You need to study for the LSAT and take it very seriously. If you can, get an LSAT tutor or some other sort of LSAT test help. The LSAT is also the only part of the LSAT-GPA duo that you can still change. (Unless you are a senior and applying after fall semester grades come in, your undergraduate GPA is set in stone.)
3) Thinking that the LSAT test is the only thing that matters in your application.
As I said above, you need to study for the LSAT and know that it can make or break your application. However, some applicants make the mistake of thinking that it is all that matters. Just because you have a good LSAT score does not mean you can forget about the rest of your application. Which brings me to mistake #4.
4) Not spending enough time on the law school essays.
Your LSAT test score and GPA are extremely important and a big part of law school admissions are decided that way. But that does not mean you should ignore the personal statement. The law school essays are your one chance to show the admissions committee that you are more than those numbers. Schools admit a range of scores. Particularly for law schools where you fall in the lower end of the numbers, the personal statement is a place to really stand out.
5) Not applying to a range of law schools.
It is really important that you critically evaluate where you stand in the law school application process based on your GPA and LSAT score and apply to a range of schools accordingly. Ideally, you will have some safety schools where your scores are above their range, some schools where you fall right in the middle, and some reach schools. Do not apply to law schools that you do not actually want to attend. It is particularly crucial that you have non-reach schools that you are excited about. Sometimes students get so focused on their dream school that they don’t give enough thought to the schools at which they will probably be admitted.
Best of luck!