Law School: Time to Apply

Alright so it’s application time! This was such an exciting time because all this work I had put into studying and planning and picking schools was finally amounting to more than just tons of lists and thoughts I had been writing down for months. Headsup – check out my post on how I think my application timeline could have been improved.

The best advice I ever got about applications – not just specific to law school – is to make it yours. You don’t have to make it Elle Woods pink and scented to be memorable. Find out where you stand out and use your unique skills, experiences, and passions to make your mark.

I, and many other students, have gotten trapped in just checking off the boxes of what *should* make a great application, resume, cover letter, etc. and when I was done with it I felt like I could have slapped any name on it and not even realize I had just spent hours making it perfect. FYI – nothing that could be mistaken as someone else’s is perfect. No matter how good your GPA or LSAT score is, if your application isn’t personal you run the risk of being forgotten.

So, here is simple advice to start making an application that works for you!

Get Advice from People Who have Been There Done That

This might sound a little like self promoting but I'm serious. I have always found that the best advice comes from the people who have had the experience. When I started my application I first went online and read advice people had and honestly, I wasn’t impressed with what was available.

A lot of it was promotional from a school or company that helps grad students. Like 5 Tips for Applying to Law School: Eat, Sleep, Rest, Take the LSAT, and Breathe. Like thanks, that was super freaking helpful, the only one I had planned on doing before this was take the LSAT *eye roll* Almost none of it was straight from the source. A lot of it was just generic advice that meant nothing to me.

I found some personal statements online and this really helped me. Even though it was just one piece of the application I felt like I was finally getting some information that I could build off of, like oh THIS is how you write a personal statement. Even though the students themselves didn't publish them I still felt like they were giving me advice by allowing me an insight into a piece of their application.

Furthermore - if you know any law students talk to them! One of my good friends I graduated with from undergrad is a rising 2L and he was honestly my life preserver during this processes. I was constantly texting him and asking questions. He calmed me down when I was worried about my GPA and LSAT score and helped me figure out LSAC and CAS and everything I needed submitted. He also put me in contact with professors at his school!

Side note: applicant me had no idea about law school blogs and they would have been super helpful at the time. Know that you can always reach out to your favorite bloggers to get advice!

Be Authentic

This is a lot harder than it sounds. The web is full of advice hat will give you tips on how to develop a decent  application, but it is much harder to find advice that reminds you it's YOUR application.

I fell into that trap at first, like I mentioned earlier. The turning point for me was when I started reading personal statements. That moment was when I realized that a personal statement, and further and application, doesn’t have to be this statement about why I will make a great lawyer. 

Instead, it should be a story of personal growth that highlights my experiences and characteristics that I have, and will continue to develop, to be a person with the potential to become a great lawyer.

Side note: this was proved to me when I went to visit law schools and at admitted student days. In both situations the admissions representatives spoke to the diverse experiences the pool of applicants had and stated that these experiences and growth are what impressed them the most when reading our applications.

That thought process translated into my personal statement and the other portions of my application, including my resume. For instance, I have had a lot of professional experience as an engineer that is almost completely unrelated to law school, but instead of simply stating “here was my job – these were my duties”, I expanded the portions of my resume that I thought showed characteristics and project development cycles that would be beneficial to law school as well as my future.

All in all, remember that your application is more than just a GPA and LSAT score. Of course they are important, we wouldn’t have to include them if they weren’t, but they aren’t everything. If you fall short in one area remind them how you succeeded in another. Don’t forget to allow who you are to shine through in your application. Law school admissions councils are interested in learning and admitting individuals, not sheets of paper that say what we think they want to hear.

If you want me details on my application process or how I combated a lower GPA than the average law school applicant doesn’t hesitate to reach out!

Also, if you're interested in reading some great personal statements check out the links below!