Closeup of brown and black leather-bound books of law cases lined up on shelf

What Do Law Schools Look for in Your Application?

Who doesn't want to look great when they're applying to law school? Check out these tips from a real admission director to elevate your application!

This blog originally appeared on New England Law | Boston's website.

Even though each law school is a little different, they’re all looking for similar things in applications. Ultimately, they want to know if you have what it takes to succeed in law school and, eventually, pass the bar exam and practice law. Law schools use the criteria below to make that call.

A strong academic record and LSAT score

There’s really no way around it—your LSAT score, GPA, and the rigor of your undergraduate course work are basically the most important things law schools are looking for. Also keep in mind that your LSAT score and GPA can make a huge difference in the scholarships and grants you’ll be eligible for. If your LSAT score or undergraduate GPA aren't quite as strong as you’d like them to be, you may want to include an addendum with your law school application to explain why. Don’t make excuses, but if you made mistakes, own up to them. Try to demonstrate your hard work and commitment to succeeding in law school in other ways, like strong grades in your senior year or a demanding job. You should also include what you did/are doing to turn your grades around if you’re still in college.

Related: 5 Genius Tips for a Better LSAT Score

Extracurricular involvement

Law schools want to admit motivated, energetic students who get involved and try to improve the campus—and world—around them. The admission committee will be looking at your undergraduate extracurricular activities to get a sense of how involved you might be on their campus too. Make sure you highlight any leadership positions, long-term commitments, and results you achieved through your extracurriculars.

Excellent writing and reading abilities

In law school, you will be reading and writing a lot. Those skills need to be on full display in your law school applications. This means your personal statement and long-form answers need to be clear and thoughtful. Your overall application should be accurate and free of grammatical errors, and you should follow all directions to the letter.

Personal growth

Think about lessons you learned, obstacles you overcame, or challenges you pursued in recent years. It can be from during your time as a college student or a working professional. The personal statement or other long-answer questions are great places to tell a story that demonstrates growth. For example, if you needed to work to help pay your college tuition, that might have cut into your study time (and maybe even your GPA). But it also shows how dedicated you are to achieving your goals—and that’s exactly what law school admission folks want to see.

Related: Advice for Writing Your Grad School Personal Statement 

Strong recommendations from people who actually know you

Choose recommendation writers who can genuinely speak to your strengths and character. This means asking people who actually know you, whether it's an undergrad professor, employer, or mentor. Whatever you do, don't ask a "VIP" like your state's senator, college dean, or that celebrity professor to write you a recommendation unless they know you personally. Don't be afraid to give your recommendation writers some guidance too. For example, you might ask a professor to highlight how you worked hard to improve your grade in her class or how you're a consistently strong writer.

Something special

What sets you apart? It could be an unconventional hobby, an unexpected achievement, or even a unique background. Everyone has their something—whatever it is for you, include it in your law school application. It can help us remember you in a competitive field of applicants.

Demonstrated interest in the law school itself

Just like undergraduate institutions, law schools track your interest in their school, whether you requested information, came in for a visit, or just emailed the admission office with questions. This gives admission staff a meaningful sense of how interested you are in attending the institution—and that's relevant because law schools want to admit the students who truly want to be there.

Related: How to Use Demonstrated Interest to Your Benefit

Bonus: What law school admission reps aren’t looking for

Think you need to be Pre-law to go to law school? Think again! It’s totally fine if you weren’t technically in a Pre-law track as an undergrad. In fact, an “unexpected” undergrad major (think Art History, Microbiology, or Japanese Studies) might make your law school application even stronger, since you’ll stand out among applicants and bring a unique academic perspective.

Read the full article hereand start searching for law schools with our Grad School Search tool.

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now

Tags:
grad school grad school applications graduate students law law school law school applications lsat

Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
Nikole Dixon

Nikole Dixon

$500 Refer-A-Friend Scholarship Winner

Towards the beginning of last year, I was searching for scholarships to apply to through my school, town, websites online, and anything else I could find. I asked tons of questions [online] about scholarships and the best places to find them because I was desperate and I needed as many as I could find. I came across a ton of bogus websites but as soon as I found CollegeXpress, I knew I had to tell other people about it. It was definitely the most helpful site I came across, so I told my friends about it. . . . CollegeXpress is definitely a website worth giving as a source.

Josiah Kegg

Josiah Kegg

High School Class of 2021

I want to sincerely thank you all for this amazing website that's legitimately helped me find so many different scholarship opportunities. I've been stressing out for the longest time about paying for college since I would rather stay out of debt and have been working days trying to find any scholarship opportunity. When I found CollegeXpress, I discovered many easy scholarships that have given me hope for the future. Thank you and God bless!

Elizabeth Stafford

Elizabeth Stafford

High School Class of 2021

As a UK student moving to California due to my dad's job in the military, when I first signed up for CollegeXpress a few months ago, the college process ahead seemed daunting and incredibly stressful. That all changed after I started to explore what this website had to offer. Not only was I helped by the vast array of resources available to me, but through being a CollegeXpress member, there have been so many more benefits. There have been emails with college tips—all of which I found incredibly helpful—as well as invitations to events and notifications of scholarships that'll make college possible for me. Overall, I'm very grateful to CollegeXpress for all of these things and more. Not only have they helped me grow my understanding of the college process, but they've also helped me to grow as a person, giving me new skills that I can take with me through life.

Carlie Cadet

Carlie Cadet

High School Class of 2019

CollegeXpress has helped me learn about an abundance of scholarships available to me and my situation. I was able to do research for colleges in my best interest with your website. I've had multiple colleges email me and offer me multiple scholarships and things of that nature because of this website! Thank you so much for uploading scholarships I didn’t even know existed, even if my life took a huge turn and I wasn’t able to go to college straight out of high school. CollegeXpress helped me a lot in high school to be even more motivated to get into my dream college (which I did, by the way). I'm looking forward to using the materials CollegeXpress has kindly provided me for free to look for scholarships to help pay for college.

Leah Maciel

Leah Maciel

High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress has helped me with all aspects of applying for college. The website is extremely easy to navigate and gives access to so many resources. I was able to research all of the colleges I was interested in, find out any information I wished to know about, and keep them organized in a list. I've also been able to research scholarships and save them as resources for later. I've used many websites in my college and scholarship search, and CollegeXpress has by far been my favorite one to use.

College Matches