How To Get Into A Tier 1 Law School With An Average LSAT
After taking the LSAT twice only to obtain an average score, I was able to get into not only a tier 1 law school but a Top 20 Law School at the time, from the waitlist. I want to show you how you can do the same.
All aspects of your application you need to focus the admissions office attention on your upward growth. You need to leverage your experiences to position yourself into the top of the first pile of applications the school of your dreams is considering.
Here are my Top Tips for the law school application process:
Consider the Benefit of Unique Majors
I majored in Spanish in undergrad at a small private college because it was what I enjoyed learning about. If you know that you want to potentially pursue patent law though you might want to major in science or engineering.
There is this myth that you need to study criminal justice or political science in order to go to law school but from my personal experience Law Schools actually look for unique backgrounds to bring together a diverse class of people.
Further, if you don’t have the best LSAT score or something else to make you stand out, a unique field of interest might help you do just that. As an example, my best friend from Law School studied art history in undergrad and another student was a nurse.
Having a field of study that is unique to you sets you apart from other applicants and gives you a different perspective to your law school.
Work Experience is a Plus
In Law School I was so surprised that most of my classmates seemed to come straight out of undergrad and some had finished undergrad early so they were very young!
I was very glad to have worked full time for 2 years after college and before Law School. Not only do I believe this helped bolster my application, it really gave me time to gain some real world experience/perspective and appreciate my legal career more.
While full time work experience this is not necessary, if you are unsure or looking for something to help your application, showing you are responsible and hardworking and also that you have another different experience to bring to your law school class might just be the right way to go.
If you want to work at a law firm, go for it, but I worked as a teacher’s aide at a public high school and I think exploring work in an area outside of law can also bring a unique perspective to your application.
Invest In Yourself
How much time and money are you willing to invest into your pursuit of going to law school?
As for me, I took an LSAT prep course with Princeton Review, which was a lot of money to invest for a single mom on the chance I would get accepted to a law school and time away from my son at night after work. I was working full time, taking the prep course at night and taking care of a preschooler! For me, this was worth it.
I also ended up quitting a masters degree program in education that my parents had paid a full semester of because I knew it was not what I wanted to do (I told them during the semester but they insisted I finish that semester). I also took the LSAT twice.
The point is, if this is your goal, you have to be willing to invest yourself and your valuable resources into pursuing your dream career!
As a single mom with a low income I was able to qualify for free applications to law school. I was working as a teacher’s aide at the time at my local high school and asked the English teacher I was closest with to review my personal essay. I also went to my undergraduate college’s alumni center and had them edit my resume and personal statement. My brother is a great writer and I had him review my personal statement. All of this was FOR FREE. The more leg work you do on your own, seeking out the free resources available to you might take up more of your time but less of your money! Work smarter not harder.
Get admitted To Your Dream School From the Waitlist
I ended up being accepted to George Washington Law School off of the waitlist. This was a Top 20 school at the time and my reach school. I ultimately decided not to go to George Washington because my family wanted me to attend school closer to home and I was offered a scholarship from a good program nearby.
Still, I was accepted off the waitlist by: getting in touch with a friend of a friend of a friend (networking!) who had graduated from George Washington School of Law. They had a phone call with me, looked at my resume, I gave them my background and goals. They called the admissions office on my behalf to recommend that they accept me.
They also gave me the advice to write the admissions office a letter stating my desire to attend the school. I then went and visited the school in person.
This trifecta of efforts helped me to get off of the waitlist and accepted on my birthday no less!
Side note: within 5 years of graduating from Seton Hall Law School (Tier 2), I ended up in the SAME exact position as a woman my age who graduated from George Washington Law School (tier 1). If you continue to be resourceful, working on your skills, where you graduated from becomes less and less important as you move forward in your career.
Apply Early or for a particular program
Applying early decision is a great strategy for your reach school or school of your dreams! This can give you a real advantage into getting into your school of choice. Also, some law schools have specialized programs for particular areas of law, like you can apply to the pro bono program of a particular school, which will help you to get admitted to your dream school or receive a scholarship but this may be in exchange for you working for a non profit or government agency for a certain amount of years post law school, so do your research before you pursue this option.
Good luck with your pursuit of an amazing career path where you learn to seek justice, live with integrity and help people navigate the legal system in their time of need. It’s the best!