Preparing To Attend Law School: How Law School Admissions Views Candidates
Applying to law school can be a very difficult process. It is important for applicants to understand how a law school admits students, because it will help them prepare their application in the most efficient manner. Here are four of the most important criteria used by law school admission committees during the admission process:
1. Undergraduate GPA and Course Selection
2. LSAT Scores
3. Personal Statement and References
4. Work experience and community/charity work
The best law schools accept between 8% to 30% of yearly applicants. Top tier law schools such as Yale, Harvard, Stanford, and University of Virginia accept less than 10%, while schools such as UC Berkeley, NYU, Duke and University of Chicago accept between 10% to 25%.
A top tier law school will typically accept a law school class with a median GPA of 3.9 out of 4. The median GPA for a second tier law school, such as UC Berkeley, will stand at 3.7 or 3.8. Less prestigious law schools are easier to get into, with many schools having median undergraduate GPAs of 3.5 or 3.6. However, getting into a law school that is not ranked in the top 20 gives you a huge disadvantage in the post-graduation job hunt.
GPA + LSAT Harmonization:
The two major numerical factors in a student’s acceptance are their GPA and LSAT score. Instead of viewing the two separately, almost every top tier law school has their own harmonized GPA + LSAT score. The identity of that score depends on how much weight is given to the GPA and LSAT portions. For example, Harvard may go for a straight 50/50 split, while Yale and Columbia could prefer 60/40 in favor of your GPA. Law schools rarely reveal their admissions tricks, which is why students must aim for high scores in both departments.
Beyond the Numbers:
Law school admission committees do not sit there crunching numbers all year. While compiling an aggregate score of your undergraduate GPA and LSAT score helps them filter out unworthy candidates, final decisions are made based on an applicant’s overall package. Candidates who stand out in a crowd, provide interesting educational and personal background stories, and give the impression that they will thrive in the law school’s environment are the ones who gain acceptance into the best law schools.
Work hard on your application essay, strive to get a near perfect LSAT score, and maintain a great college GPA if you want to get into a top law school. But most importantly, ensure that you come across as an interesting, multifaceted, hardworking, unique and eager to learn individual.
Information credit to Kitchen Simeson LLP, an Oshawa law firm.