A pernicious myth of law school admissions, particularly prevalent on online forums, is that admissions decisions are largely based on only two factors: grade point average and LSAT score.
Law schools, however, have other interests to consider. They seek a balanced class, bolstered by diverse students with unique perspectives and varied interests. They need to screen out applicants who lack the emotional maturity to handle sensitive classroom discussions and manage stress.
Because of such considerations, law school admissions are based on many factors weighed differently by each admissions officer or committee. Here are six important factors in law school admissions decisions:
The transcript report includes a calculation of your cumulative GPA, as well as your GPA at each institution attended. Admissions officers look beyond those numbers to consider the subjects, difficulty, and workload of the courses they have taken.
Standardized Test Scores
A growing number of law schools accept the GRE and some even accept the GMAT, but law schools will use your LSAT score for comparison if you have taken it. So, there’s no point in taking the GRE if you already have an LSAT score.
Law schools carefully consider applicants’ backgrounds, perspectives, and interests as expressed through their personal statements, diversity statements, resumes, and other materials.
Work and Volunteer Experience
Some law schools are increasingly emphasizing work experience, after finding that applicants who have been in the workforce tend to adjust better to the expectations of law school.
Law schools typically ask for at least two, and sometimes up to five, letters of recommendation. Recommendations from professors are particularly important.
Motivation and Goals
Law schools want students who are committed to law school and able to persevere when the going gets tough. Thus, they are attuned to how applicants convey their career goals and reasons for applying in their personal statements.