Exclusive! Most common applicant mistake? “They submit the same personal statement to UNC that they are submitting to every other school they are applying to.” Interview with Michael J. States, Assistant Dean for Admissions at University of North Carolina School of Law. Click here to read the full, 3-page transcript free of charge!
Financial Aid! Read our 2-page feature article on law school financial aid to make sure you know all the facts before it’s too late… Free!
Welcome to the World of Law School Admissions!
Law School Admission Has Become Increasingly Competitive
Applications to law schools have hit record highs. While this is not good news for aspiring lawyers, it does make sense. For one thing, the economy is down right now and law school provides 3 years of safe harbor. For another thing, the average starting salary for a graduate of a top law school going into private practice is $125,000. Not too shabby, huh? Based on what the LSAC is stating regarding the number of students sitting for the LSAT, the 2004-2005 admissions season could be yet another record setter. Click here to read our feature article on application volumes for this current season.
Additionally, many law schools — Northwestern University certainly comes to mind — are increasingly seeking out older applicants who have a couple years of full-time, post undergraduate work experience. This rather dramatic paradigm shift in the school of law admission process has caused the applicant pool to swell with more mature and articulate applicants who have had more time to demonstrate leadership skills and ability to succeed in the private sector. While it should remain possible for the “traditional” school of law applicant (i.e., one right out of college) to gain admission to a top school, it will become increasingly important for that applicant to demonstrate leadership potential through part-time employment and extracurricular activities.
Your Starting Point
Please check out our top 10 admissions tips before leaving our website. Print the page out if your Internet time is limited but do yourself a favor and carefully read over these tips. A large number of graduates quickly leave the law field because they realize this is not the field for them. This is covered on the top 10 tips page.
Even if you know that law is your calling, you still need to take the time to articulate why this is the case. We interviewed an admissions officer at University of Pennsylvania as research for this website and she told us that approximately half of the applicants she gets to know have inadequate reasons for wanting an education. Needless to say, these applicants receive rejection letters from Penn.
The Selection Process
We believe there is a program for virtually every applicant. Take the time to research the different programs and what they have to offer. If you are not going to be comfortable in an ultracompetitive atmosphere like Harvard, then don’t apply there. It’s not just 3 years of your life (which should be reason alone by itself) but it’s also true that you will learn more and earn the highest possible grades in a program better suited for your personal tastes, interests, and future career goals.
Are you still insisting on applying to schools based solely on their rankings and without regard to whether or not you’ll be a good fit there? Well, perhaps then you should consider that your chances are indeed lower at those schools where you are not a good fit to their program. Consider this quote from an admissions officer at Northwestern1:
“In my position I very often refuse great applicants because I know that our school is just not the right place for them and that both of us would be happier if they went to one of their other choices. This does not mean that they are bad students; it just means that we think they would be better served elsewhere.”
1. Quote supplied by AdmissionsConsultants, Inc.