What not to do in your law school applications (and what to do instead)

law school admissions strategy

Applying for law school can be a daunting task. From taking the LSAT, to writing your personal statement, to reaching out to recommenders, preparing your law school application is an extensive process.

As you prepare your application here are some common mistakes and ways to avoid making them:

1. Do not ignore instructions.

If a school says to keep your personal statement to 2-pages double spaced, do it. Even if it means making adjustments or cutting an anecdote, you will look better having followed the instructions. The instructions are there for a reason.

2. Do not ask the flashiest professor you can think of for a recommendation.*

*Unless, of course, they actually know you well.

Instead, ask professors or others who know you well and can write a strong letter advocating for you as an applicant. A junior professor who you worked closely with on research or some other project is probably going to be able to provide more information on your skills than a notable professor whose large class you took (even if you did relatively well).

3. Do not effectively send your resume multiple times.

Use your personal statement and optional papers to shine a light on parts of your story that aren’t already well-encapsulated in your resume. View each essay as an additional opportunity to let the admissions committee get to know you. So, instead of repeating the same experiences multiple times, brainstorm ways that you can give new insight on who you are.

4. Do not forget to add in extra time to your submissions plan.

Yes, submitting your application before the deadline is important, but with a good plan in place you should be able to take breaks and walk away from your materials for a few days without worrying about an impending deadline. Take your time to make edits and to check over your materials, even if that means submitting them a little later than you originally planned. Not only will your application be in a better state, but following #5 will likely be easier too.

5. Do not panic once you’ve hit send.

Finalizing and submitting applications is a huge accomplishment. Take a moment to congratulate yourself. In the days and weeks after submitting your application try to focus on other things going on in your life, not whether you could have found a better way to describe “purple tank top” in paragraph four of your supplemental essay. If you find that once your applications are in you have extra time, engage in activities that bring you joy!

You’ve got this!

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