Applying to US Law Schools
Planning Your Law School Application
If you are hoping to study law in the US then you will have to navigate your way through the US admissions process. Executing and planning your applications to law school may seem very daunting. There are a number of components to the application, so you need to make sure you plan thoroughly and start early.
The first step is to decide on when and where you want to apply, you then need to obtain application forms from the different schools you've selected.
Check school websites to get downloadable applications or call the admissions offices and have them put you on their mailing lists. One thing will become apparent quickly once the applications begin arriving: No two applications are exactly alike.
Despite their differences however, most do follow a general pattern with variations on the same kinds of questions.
A Marketing Tool
When it comes to applying to law school, you should think of yourself as "the product” and your application as your marketing document. Marketing yourself doesn't mean you should embellish the facts. It simply means that you need to make a convincing and lucid presentation. Everything on your application should contribute to an overall picture of you. It should clearly demonstrate that you belong in the class and will provide a solid contribution to the learning of your peers. Make sure you sell yourself.
The Admissions Essays
The personal statement is your opportunity to show admissions officers what you're made of. They want to know why you want to attend their law programme and you should tell them as clearly and compellingly as possible.
Two Basic Purposes
Personal statements can serve two basic purposes. First, they show whether or not you can write a coherent and clear essay that's grammatically and logically correct. A student's writing ability is often presumed to be deficient unless proven otherwise. Second, they give you the opportunity to present a “three-dimensional” view of yourself to the selection committee as a deserving candidate which is than grades and LSAT scores alone can possibly do. What you decide to write indicates what your values are and what’s important to you. You can describe why you really want to pursue law work and the career path it will allow you to follow. Your essay will also enable you explain a bad grade or term in an otherwise creditable record.
Recommendations are amongst the most vital items in your admissions file. In many cases, they are the most important and can make or break an application. So you should start thinking about them as soon as possible. The whole process of identifying good recommenders, lining them up, and then making sure they follow through with engaging letters can take a great deal of time.
Make It Personal
If you're a recent graduate or still in college, your professors are likely to make the best references. Make sure you choose people who think you are good at what you do and more importantly people who like you. Choose good writers who express their opinions clearly and make sure your recommendation writers keep on schedule. It’s a good idea to provide a gentle reminder when the deadline is approaching. You can pave the way for this reminder when you first ask for the recommendation by arranging a date for a follow-up call. And, of course, a thank-you letter following the process is always greatly appreciated.
Out of School for a While?
If you’ve been a graduate from college for a while, it may be difficult to find someone willing and able to write a letter of reference. Most law schools will make some accommodation for older students and allow letters from your colleagues or bosses who can attest to your suitability for law school and intellectual abilities. But it can be a challenge to get a boss or work colleague to attest to intellectual abilities that distinctively relate to law school. You could find a solution to this problem by taking a grad-level or college course and ask that teacher for a reference.