I just returned from a really great couple of days speaking to the Pre-Law Society at San Diego State University and the Phi Alpha Delta chapter at University of California San Diego. Next week, I’ll be headed to NYC to speak to students at Fordham University. The school newspaper there interviewed me about my tips for getting into law school. I wanted to share this with my readers because I think they asked me some really great questions.
Who Gets To Attend A Top Law School?
The article in the school newspaper is fantastic! Great questions and even better answers. I think that everyone applying to law school, and even those who have submitted applications and are waiting, should read the article. Very useful, thanks for posting!
I took college classes at some major universities while I was in high school. Should I list these schools on my applications in the attended schools section? Should I have these schools send in transcripts?
Although these were real college courses and I received grades for them, I did not apply them for high school or college credit. I took them just for fun back then.
Joe, If they were in high school and not for credit, probably not, but check out lsac.org to be sure.
Thank you for your great postings, as always!
Hi Ann. I have a question that was not asked in the article. If you have a traffic infraction (speeding ticket) that resulted in a fine of $500 that you have to declare to the school, does this weaken your application. Is there anything that can be done so that it will not hurt your application? If the school is asking for an addenda for it how long should it be? Thanks for providing such a great resource for law school applicants!
Most addenda should be very brief – 3 sentences. And a speeding ticket by itself (no reckless behavior, exceptionally poor judgment that was recent) should not significantly impact your application.
Thanks so much for the book and blog!! I was wondering if you can answer a question about a gap year between college and law school and how to best represent it on resumes. How do you best represent gap year traveling, plans for the next half year (especially when it’s learning French by temp working in Quebec – but haven’t found specific work yet), or what I’ve been doing in general when they’re not formal jobs? I know some schools specify this information to be included (i.e. Michigan), but was wondering if it’s also important for other schools when these aren’t the formal work/internship things. Thanks for all your help!
Chloe, there are a few ways you could address this incuding: (1) addendum re: gap year, (2) a travel/language section on your resume.
How are addendums generally perceived by admissions offices?
I have a pretty good GPA. I am sure I could’ve done much better in college, but an ongoing family issue that required my attention definitely prevented me from making school a main priority. Since I already have a decent GPA, would an addendum be considered whiny or excuse-making?
Hi Paul, If you need to explain a weakness you should explain. It but right now it looks like a strength since you’re saying you earned strong grades while taking care of these issues. Perhaps that’s more appropriately addressed in your personal statement. Either way, if you do it right it won’t sound whiny.
Thanks for the great tips. Should you write an addenda if there is not an obvious hole, but an important subject? I had a life changing diagnosis during my junior year, and while my grades did not go down (stayed around the same as my freshman and sophmore year for the next two years), they would been higher had I not been busy with medical treatment.
David, I’m not sure how you demonstrate that grades would have been higher. I would need a lot more info to help you make this determination if you were one of my clients…. But I certainly hope you are doing well now.
What is the best option in a year or two after undergrad to increase your chances of admissions? Teach for America? A law-related job?
Alex, check out this post with a link to a 15 minute podcast where this is addressed: http://www.lawschoolexpert.com/blog/2009/05/11/your-law-school-admission-questions-answered-2/
Also, I talk about this in my book, so you might find that very helpful. There are so many opportunities, but the most important thing is to do something meaningful – even if it means working at the Gap for 6 months to save money to spend 3 months traveling.
I have a question regarding the optional diversity statements that some schools allow in their applications. I have heard from many that it is recommended to submit them. However the topics that I would cover in my diversity essays are very similar to the topics already in my personal statements. I have covered these topics in sufficient depth and detail in my personal statements.
Should I still submit diversity essays at the risk of seeming redundant? I have heard from others that not submitting one might make the applicant seem as though he does not care about the application or the school to do the extra work.
Thank you! Lina
I was wondering what you think my chances would be of getting into a law school: My UGPA was 2.5, I’ve been working in law firms since graduating in 2007, I’ve obtained a paralegal certificate in 2009 and have been working as a paralegal since then. My LSAT score was 148 both times I took it. Thanks!