Apply to Law Schools
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How many schools you apply to is a personal choice that depends on your personal needs and on what you can afford. Typically, you should apply broadly and include a few dream schools or stretch schools, several competitive schools where you will be a competitive applicant, and one or two safety schools.
You should plan to devote considerable time to your personal statement. It is generally regarded as the third most important aspect of your application (after GPA and LSAT). Meet with the Pre-Law Advisor to get help brainstorming ideas for your statement. Topics and themes to use could include diversity (not just racial/ethnic), overcoming adversity, or stories from your past. Try saying something that could only be said by you. The purpose of the statement is to make the readers on the admissions committee want you to join their next law school class. The personal statement is a reflection of your personality and accomplishments, not a list of your qualities and activities.
- Draft out a personal statement and show it to someone right away. Adhere to the length requirements stated on each application. If none are stated, stick to two pages, double-spaced. Expect to do at least three drafts. Say something that could only be said by you. Let the reader draw his/her own conclusions.
- Limit your statement to one overriding theme.
- Labor over it before you find out whether your approach is interesting and convincing.
- Tell the reader about yourself in a direct, conclusory manner (I am ambitious).
- Say too much or to cover too many aspects of your life.
- Be too clever or too cute.
Letters of Recommendation
You will need to follow the instructions of the individual application for each school you are applying to regarding the number and types of letters they want to receive. Law schools use letters to help make decisions for those applicants who are in the large gray middle area. Some guidelines:
- At least one of your letters should be from a faculty member. If you have more than one faculty member writing letters, consider having faculty from different academic departments; have some diversity.
- The more specific and detailed the letter, the better. Give your recommender a copy of your resume, copies of your work and, if possible, a copy of your personal statement.
- Letters that discuss your personal qualities are less useful. You can discuss personal qualities in your personal statement. Law schools want to know you can handle their work.
- You should waive your right to look at your letters.
- Many law schools prefer or require that you use the LSDAS letter of recommendation service. If not, you can have your recommenders send them directly to each school.
- If you are planning on going to law school at some later point in time, you might want to use the College's Reference Service to store letters of recommendation until you are ready to send them out.
Budget for the following application costs
- LSAT Exam
- LSDAS Fee
- LSDAS Law School Report for each school
- Application Fees for each school
- Optional: LSAT Prep Materials