Law School Admissions

Let our experts help you:

  • Decide whether to invest in law school
  • Figure out the best timeline
  • Pick the best mix of schools
  • Map out a customized application strategy
  • Craft stand-out essays & resumes
  • Choose the best recommenders 
  • Handle disciplinary & legal disclosures
  • Prepare for interviews
  • Analyze & negotiate financial aid awards
  • Manage your waitlists & LOCIs
  • And more! We are former admissions officers and graduates from top law schools on stand-by to help you every step of the way.

Featured Blog Posts

April 27, 2016

Before you put your law school deposit down

There's been a lot of press about the poor prospects of many law students and recent law school graduates. As you're deciding where to put down your law school deposit, I thought this might be a good time to merge two older blog posts that still hold true today.

In particular, I was inspired by an email I received from a former client and one-time law school applicant, updating me about the interesting things he was up to.

Read More...

April 5, 2016

Stressful Situation #1,602: Law School Deposits

Fascinating. I get more anxiety-stricken messages this time of year than when you are working on your applications or even taking the LSAT. 

Are you stressed out now that deposit deadlines are looming? You are not alone. And of course it's stressful, because you're being forced to do something that is painful for a lot people: You have to COMMIT TO AN OPTION and LET OTHER ONES GO.

Here's the truth.

Read More...

Happy News from Berkeley, NYU, Duke, UCLA, and Michigan

UPDATE: I've gotten accepted to Berkeley, NYU, University of Michigan (with a Dean's Scholarship: $120,000 total), Duke, UCLA, Davis, and UC Hastings.  

Before my initial consultation with Janeille, I submitted nearly fifteen pages of personal anecdotes responsive to the Ivey questionnaire. Read More...

August 25, 2014

Top 15 Law School Recommendation Tips

  1. Assume that schools prefer academic recommendations unless they specifically request a professional one. An academic recommender is someone who has taught you in a college classroom environment, graded your papers, led your discussion sections, etc.

  2. Law school recommendations are not meant to be character references; they should focus on you as a student.

Read More...

May 3, 2014

Berkeley with a $75,000 scholarship

Greg, I've accepted at Berkeley and withdrawn other offers of admission and from wait lists.

Read More...

October 10, 2013

Should You Cancel Your LSAT Score?

Congratulations to the LSAT test takers among our readers! How does it feel? Do you think you nailed it? Are you happy to have it behind you? Or are you feeling queasy and agonizing about whether to cancel your score and retake? Or maybe you want to see how you did on this test and then decide whether to retake it? Just having the option of canceling causes applicants a lot of anguish, so I'll post some thoughts on the cancellation analysis, and also on the leave-my-score-and-retake-it analysis.

Read More...

September 12, 2013

Optional and Unsolicited Materials: How Much Is Too Much?

Are you in a tizzy about whether to submit extra materials that are not required as part of your law school applications?

Read More...

September 5, 2013

Live from California, Anna's Top 10 Tips for Your Law School Application Essays

 

 

I'm in California this week, where I'll be presenting three 4-hour law school admissions workshops. (Hello, California! I've missed you!!)

Among other goodies, I'll be covering the best way to approach your application essays.

Read More...

August 29, 2013

Decoding Your Law School Essay Questions

Before you start writing your law school application essays, it's important to pay attention to the precise wording of each essay question and make sure you are answering that question—not that other school’s question, and not the question you wish were being asked.

Read More...

August 7, 2013

Don't Confuse a Personal Statement with a Think Piece

When you're sitting down to start drafting your law school personal statement, you might feel a strong temptation to write a think piece, or an opinion piece, or a position statement. All about a Big Issue that shows you're a Big Thinker who thinks Big Thoughts and proposes Big Solutions. 

And no wonder.

Read More...

August 22, 2012

Should You Write About Topic X in Your Law School Personal Statement?

Here's a question I hear all the time: "Should I write about [topic X] in my law school application essay?"

That's the wrong question to be asking, but I completely understand why people ask it: essay prompts in the applications can be bewildering.

Here's a real example of what a non-bewildering essay prompt looks like:

We are interested particularly in learning about your motivation and preparation for the study of law as well as any circumstances that you believe are relevant to the evaluation of your credentials.

Read More...

September 29, 2016

My Grad School Recommender Wants Me to Write My Own Letter

Have you summoned up the courage to ask a professor or an employer for a recommendation, only to have that person say, "Sure, send me a draft and I'll sign it?"

That happens a lot, mostly with professional recommenders, but sometimes too with professors. It puts applicants in quite a pickle.

Because it's so common, applicants often turn around and ask if we can help them with those recommendation drafts.

Read More...

Update from Georgetown

I wanted to thank you for helping me with all the aspects of my application. Read More...

Character & Fitness Disclosures

Working with Ada has been extremely rewarding during the admissions process. Read More...

T25 with a 25th Percentile LSAT

I highly recommend Ada to any prospective law school applicant. She is amiable, prompt, and possesses impeccably discerning judgment that was a tremendous asset throughout the admissions process.

During Stage I, Ada helped me to reach the realization that deferring law school by a year was the best option. Read More...

Top Ten with Ada's Help

Ada and the Ivey Consulting team were instrumental during my law school application process. After floundering through undergraduate applications, I knew I wanted another set of eyes to help guide me through the law school application process—I knew that law school was the best next step for me, and I wanted to put my best foot forward.

While I already had very specific reasons for applying to law school, Ada helped me to focus my undergraduate experience and extracurricular activities into a well-honed personal statement. Read More...

April 21, 2015

Rolling the Dice on Law School

There's an excellent article on the stage of law school education in the Washington Post: "Why Law Schools Are Losing Relevance—and How They're Trying to Win It Back."

Bottom line: "Going to law school used to feel like a no-brainer for college graduates seeking financial security. But that calculus has changed...."

My thoughts, as a I reflect on the article:

Two rules:

(1) Borrow money for a top law school only.

Read More...

April 13, 2015

Super Secret Application Instructions

Law schools can be terrible about including their application instructions in the application form itself. Always — always! — check their websites, where they often bury important instructions on random sub-pages. You'll find them after lots of clicking around.

Here's an example. University of Louisville gives these instructions for the personal statement in the application itself:

A personal statement is required.

Read More...

April 2, 2015

Will Law Schools See My Non-US Transcripts?

I had about two semesters worth of credit from US undergrad schools, then another two from St. Andrews in Scotland, before leaving school for awhile. I’m finishing up through the University of London International Programme this May. The LSAC put my US GPAs on the report and then just put “foreign” for the st. andrews and uol grades. How might law schools consider this? Do they look at the individual transcripts or just the lsac report? My US GPA was really great, but the uol classes have been so-so given that I also am working beyond-full-time while finishing.

Read More...

February 17, 2015

LSAT Score Jumps and Averaging

How do the top schools evaluate multiple LSAT scores? I know a few of the t14 schools claim they average the scores and a few others claim they take a holistic approach. However, I have also read that since the ABA changed their reporting policy, law schools have every incentive to evaluate the highest score. 

Also, what if there is a huge disparity in the scores.

Read More...

February 12, 2015

Reapplicant: Proving Your Love to a School

What's your opinion of a re-applicant to Law School A mentioning in his/her application that he/she was admitted to but turned down Law School B last year.

Read More...

February 9, 2015

Good News for February LSAT Takers

What a glorious week all you February LSAT takers are waking up to. Exhausted, curled up, wrung out? Take heart, you could be these people over in Boston:

Twitter: @OnlyInBOS

Here's some of the best news, though. For many years I've been banging the drum to apply EARLY, EARLY, EARLY in the admissions cycle. Recently, though, it's been more of a finger tapping. 

Many people who submitted their applications last fall are already getting acceptances, so that hasn't changed, and that's a nice bonus for them.

Read More...

Berkeley with a $75,000 scholarship

Greg, I've accepted at Berkeley and withdrawn other offers of admission and from wait lists. Read More...

"Helped me find my voice"

Greg, I am absolutely delighted to let you know that I have been accepted at _________  [T14 law school]!! It is honestly a dream come true for me.  _______ was a reach school for me, as I fell right along the median for GPA, but slightly below for the LSAT. Read More...

January 12, 2015

The Wild and Crazy February LSAT

Today’s advice comes from our friends at Blueprint LSAT Prep. Blueprint students average an 11-point increase on their in-class practice tests, and can enroll in live LSAT prep classes throughout the country or online LSAT courses from the comfort of their own home.

With February LSAT deadlines abound, you’re running out of time to start studying for the next administration.

Read More...

January 9, 2015

Finding Typos in Your Application After You Submit

Typos. In very important missives. That you've already sent to very important people. Argh.

Everyone has been there at one time or another, including lawyers (which can be especially embarrassing).

Read More...

January 6, 2015

Minimum TOEFL Score for Law School

I'm an international student applying for law school. I took TOEFL and got 103, which is a decent score for most law school. The problem is that I only got 20 on writing section. Will that hurt my chance? Or would admission just care about the total score? Thank you for answering. 

Each school sets its own TOEFL requirements, so you'll need to confirm those requirements at each school that you're interested in.

Read More...

October 29, 2014

How Does a Diversionary Program Affect My Law School Application Disclosures?

Every law school application I know of asks about some mix-and-match of criminal disclosures.

And every school asks differently, so there is no "universal" disclosure for all schools.

Read More...

October 15, 2014

How Much Can I Help My Friend With His Personal Statement?

At a recent LSAC forum, I met a guy who is a refugee and is currently in the middle of the law school admissions process, as am I.

Read More...

October 7, 2014

Submit with September LSAT Score or Wait to Apply With December Score?

So you didn't get the score you wanted on the September LSAT, and you're planning on retaking in December in the hope of improving your score.  You and lots and lots of other people! What's the best move for your application timeline?  Should you submit now with your existing score, or hold off until you have your December score? 

I recommend submitting your applications with your September score, even if you think you'll be retaking the test.

Read More...

September 29, 2014

LSAC Waivers and Taking the LSAT a Fourth Time

I have taken LSAT three times. One of them is a cancel. I would really like to be able to take the test for a fourth time and can't wait for the 2 years limit to be over for the fourth take. I think I can improve. How can I get LSAC to grant me a fourth take? Thanks in advance.

***

I have expended the 3 takes in the last 1 year and didn't reach my target.

Read More...

September 2, 2014

Out After Curfew — Do You Have to Disclose?

Our friends at Blueprint Test Prep sent along this question from one of their students:

Three days before my 18th birthday, I was caught being out at night after curfew. There was no drinking or anything like it involved. The police made me wait for my parents to come get me, same with my friends.

The told me they were giving me a warning, but I never received any type of documentation so was led to believe it was verbal.

Read More...

July 29, 2014

Anna's Law School Application Workshops

Are you a natural-born test taker? No? Then you and I are birds of a feather. There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth when I took the LSAT, and I'm glad I don't have to take that sucker ever again. I leave LSAT prep in the capable hands of Blueprint, with whom I'm teaming up to provide law school application workshops throughout August (three in California, one in New York, and one in DC).

Read More...

July 16, 2014

Praise for Ada from a rising HLS 1L

Nice praise from a happy camper for our team member Ada Sheng, which also appears on our Testimonials page. Nice job, both of you!

When I first read Ada’s profile I was extremely excited to speak with her on the phone.

Read More...

June 23, 2014

Should I Submit Supporting Materials for a Required Disclosure Addendum?

I am writing an addendum for a disciplinary probation proceeding.  The infraction was described by the judicial proceeding as: “used outside sources on an assignment without proper attribution.” The assignment was to “imagine myself as a curator for an art exhibit,” and to record myself giving a tour in which I should discuss certain paintings – their form, style, origins, etc.

The intent was not to deceive, but rather I was careless in completing an unfamiliar assignment.

Read More...

From a first-generation college grad

Greg, there really isn't a price I can put on the help you've provided me. Read More...

March 3, 2014

Applying This Fall? Start Prepping Now for the LSAT

What's the ideal LSAT timeline? Your mileage may vary, and your LSAT instructor will be able to give you advice customized to your individual situation. But in a perfect world, here's how I like to work backwards from the end goal:

Plan to submit your applications in early November (or even sooner, but early November is plenty early).

Read More...

December 10, 2013

My Dad's Been Deported — Should I Attach Documentation to My GPA Addendum?

Hi Anna, During my sophomore year my dad was arrested by the United States immigration and deported which affected my focus and therefore my gpa during that period. I wrote about this in a gpa addendum, should I also try to get a letter from ICE if possible as proof of his deportation, for admission to the bar? Or is it not necessary?

I'm sorry to hear about your dad.

Read More...

October 24, 2013

Why Hasn't My Law School Application Gone Complete?

If you've already submitted your applications, you're probably checking their status at your various schools. Perhaps a bit compulsively? That's OK, as long as you're checking your status online and not bugging a real person on the other end every six minutes.

This time of year, the most important status update for you to confirm is that your application has been marked complete.

Read More...

September 26, 2013

Explaining Multiple LSAT Scores

A reader writes in:

I know you've addressed this in your book and in the blog, but I had another question regarding the multiple lsat addendum.

Read More...

September 19, 2013

Order Your Academic Summary Report Now

I've been talking to big groups of law school applicants recently, and when I ask for a show of hands to find out how many people already have their Academic Summary Reports, very few hands go up. Sometimes none.

So today's post is in the spirit of a public service announcement: Send your transcripts to LSAC now so that they can process your Academic Summary Report sooner rather than later.

That's for a couple of reasons:

Read More...

May 22, 2013

Timing Your College Transcripts for Law School Applications

"If I'm applying to law school this fall, should I have my transcripts sent now at the start of the summer or wait until the fall?"

If you are planning on applying to law school this coming fall, go ahead and order your transcripts now.

Read More...

April 23, 2013

How to Improve Your Resume This Summer If You're Applying This Fall

Are you staring at your resume and experiencing a mild sense of panic wondering how you're going to beef it up between now and the time you submit your applications this fall? 

You may be tempted to sign up for a flurry of impressive-sounding activities, but remember that quality matters a whole lot more than quantity.

Read More...

Scholarship Help

Greg, thank you very much for your advice last month! It helped me go from $0 to $100,000 at [top-20 school], and from $67,000 at [top 14 school] to $90,000! Read More...

April 10, 2013

Gut Check Before You Send In Your Law School Deposit

Before you sign on any dotted lines and send in your deposit to go to law school, remind yourself that you DO NOT HAVE TO GO.

DO go to law school if you want to be a lawyer (based on what knowledge?

Read More...

March 27, 2013

Law School Waitlists and Holds

Around this time of year, many applicants have been hearing back from law schools. While a final decision is usually welcome (even a rejection eliminates the frustration of waiting...), there are some situations where a school's response does nothing but add to your uncertainty.

Typically, these "limbo" responses from schools fall into two categories: waitlists and holds.

Read More...

March 11, 2013

New Logic Games Book... and Discount for Ivey Files Readers

It may not be time to start preparing for the June LSAT, but it’s definitely time to start preparing to prepare. If books are your preferred medium for LSAT study, we’ve got a brand new one you’ll want to add to your pre-prep shopping list.

Enter The Blueprint for LSAT Logic Games — a 565-page deluge of study guide awesome sauce.

Read More...

March 6, 2013

What to Expect If You're Planning on Applying to Law School - Part 4

Here’s a tough thing to hear: 

If you're doing things right, it is unlikely that you will be 100% satisfied with the application you submit to law school.

Why?

Because the image most people conjure up when they think about applying to law school does not include page limits, essay prompts, or even directions.

Read More...

February 27, 2013

What to Expect If You're Planning on Applying to Law School - Part 3

Many prospective law students have begun the application process with some variation of the following thought:

“I can start on my applications and get them completed in 4 weeks. I’ll be on winter break and I won’t have anything else to do. I can have them ready to be submitted in one month, for sure.”

But applications take time.

Read More...

February 21, 2013

What to Expect If You're Planning on Applying to Law School - Part 2

The typical law school application might require you to write 3 pieces: a main essay (2 pages), a resume (1 page), and an optional statement on your interest in the school or some other topic (1 page). That’s only 4 pages. Not too bad, right?

But those 4 pages are your only chance (in most cases) to communicate directly to the admissions officers.

Read More...

February 13, 2013

What to Expect If You're Planning on Applying to Law School

You watch Law & Order reruns. You spoke to some lawyers who applied to law school ten years ago. You have a friend who is in law school right now, and he says you have nothing to worry about. You even looked at a sample LSAT test that a colleague of yours was taking. It looks doable enough. Maybe someone even told you to take the test cold to “see how you do.” You figure you’ll have a personal statement to write and some recommendations to line up, no big deal.

You think you know what the law school application process will be like, right? Think again.

Read More...

February 5, 2013

Should You Go to Law School, Part II

An article from last Thursday’s Atlantic Monthly — "Law School Applications Are Collapsing (as They Should Be)" — has caught the attention of a lot of people in the legal profession. I’ve had it sent to me by a half dozen friends and colleagues since it came out, and discussed it with attorneys who are practicing in private firms and the public sector.

If you’re even considering the possibility of applying to law school, you should read it too.

Read More...

November 8, 2012

You're Disappointed With Your October LSAT Score. Should You Write an LSAT Addendum?

What a week it's been, so much wailing and gnashing of teeth about October LSAT scores.

Every year I talk to lots of people who are absolutely certain they'll score in the 170s until, boom, they get their scores back.

Read More...

October 19, 2012

Many Distractions Await December LSAT Test-Takers

Today’s LSAT advice comes from our friends at

Blueprint LSAT Prep. Blueprint offers live LSAT prep classes throughout the country and online LSAT classes for those who want to study from the couch.

Though the December LSAT still might seem to be an eternity away, the December 1 test date is notorious for sneaking up on people.

Read More...

September 12, 2012

On Crowdsourcing Your Personal Statement

You probably already know that your application essay will be read by a committee. Is it a good idea to write an essay by committee?

To ask is to answer: No. 

No, no, no, no, no, no.

I'm inspired to say a few words on this subject because of the number of essays that hit my inbox with Track Changes and Comments from the applicant's mom, dad, 3L brother, aunt Jane, dentist, and fairy godmother.

Read More...

August 15, 2012

Taking the LSAT a Third Time

I took my first LSAT last year in Oct and got 157...which was disappointing.  I honestly didn't put much effort into studying, so I retook it this June and got 167. I'm still not happy with the score, because I got most of the questions wrong in the Reading Comp section, and I feel like I can improve a lot more, since I only got 1 or 2 wrong on the Games and Reasoning sections.  I want to take it one more time, but my concern is that it might not be viewed favorably by the schools. I have a 3.65 GPA and with the score of 167, it seems like I don't really have a good chance at the T14 schools. 

If I do set my mind on retaking, I know I can put in the time and effort to improve the score. 

How do schools view 3 LSAT scores? If I do end up taking it again, at least what score should I be shooting for to get into T14?  

Read More...

August 14, 2012

Advice for Retaking the LSAT

Today's LSAT advice comes from our friends at Blueprint LSAT Prep. Blueprint offers live LSAT prep classes throughout the country and online LSAT classes for those who want to study from home (and have the willpower to avoid watching TV).

When studying for the LSAT, ideally you want to go in with a study plan, diligently follow it, and then rock the test.

Read More...

August 8, 2012

Law School Applications: Evaluation vs. Recommendation

If you're applying to law school this coming fall, you probably already know that you'll have to submit recommendations for most of your applications. When you're setting up your LSAC account, though, you'll see references to "recommendations" and "evaluations," and you might wonder why they're using those two different words.

It's important to understand the distinction between an "evaluation" and a "recommendation," because when you enter information about your individual recommenders in your online account, you'll be asked to label each one as an "evaluator" or a "recommender.

Read More...

July 19, 2012

Best Time to Submit Your Law School Applications

I'm trying to figure out my timeline for applying to law school. Harvard, e.g., opens their application on September 15. Is there any advantage to submitting on the 15th rather than the 22nd? If not, at what point in the calendar does the "earlier the better" maxim become relevant?

Great question, and I know you hear a lot of conflicting advice out there.

Read More...

July 11, 2012

Start Tackling Academic and Criminal Disclosures Now

As part 5 of my series on getting yourself into tip-top shape to apply to law school this fall (you can catch up with parts 1, 2, 3 and 4), I bring up a topic you'd probably rather not deal with: disclosures. And for that, you'll need to get a head start on thinking like a lawyer.

As future lawyers, one of the tasks you will get really, really good at (and very, very bored with) is called document review.* Doc review means going through boxes and boxes of documents (or lots of PDFs), often in a windowless conference room, searching for the proverbial needle in a haystack on the chance it will be useful to the case** you've been staffed on.

It's time to put on your doc review hats as applicants, because law school applications will be released in September, and they will require you to make certain disclosures — disclosures that can require a lot of time to think through. The two most common disclosure question types are broadly (1) whether you have ever gotten into any trouble with the academic or administrative powers-that-be at your college or university and (2) whether you've had any run-ins with the law.

Read More...

June 27, 2012

More Than You Ever Wanted to Know About Law School Recommendation Letters

Marching forward in my little series about preparing yourself for killer law school applications this fall, here is a post devoted just to recommendations. (If you missed the previous installments, here are one, two, and three.) Judging from the emails we receive for the blog, this is a very popular topic.

Early summer is the right time to start thinking about whom you're going to ask for your recommendations, because recommendations can take a while to wrangle.

Read More...

June 19, 2012

Running Your Numbers: The LSAT/GPA Calculator

In the last couple of weeks, we explored the very first things you should be doing to prepare yourself for applying to law school this fall. (Here are Step 1 and Step 2, in case you missed them.)

By now, you should have created your LSAC account and registered for the October LSAT.

Read More...

June 7, 2012

The LSAT

Planning on applying to law school this fall?

Last week, I posted the absolute first step you should take if you want to be prepared to apply this fall.

This week, you'll take step #2: Register for the LSAT. Test dates and registration instructions are here.

Read More...

May 30, 2012

Applying to Law School This Fall? Start Here

School is out, summer is here, and some intrepid souls are turning their thoughts to law school. If you're thinking of applying in the coming admissions cycle, it's not too early to start planning. For the next couple of weeks, I'll be devoting each post to a concrete step you can take so that you're ready to go when the fall rolls around.

Your first step: Make friends with LSAC, which stands for Law School Admission Council.

Read More...

May 15, 2012

Can the LSAT Make You Smarter?

LSAT guru Steve Schwartz over at LSAT Blog drew my attention to some evidence that studying for the LSAT makes you smarter. Really!

Here's the technical language from the study:

[W]e examined the effects on cognitive performance and brain structure and function of 3 months of intensive preparation for the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT).

Read More...

April 11, 2012

How to Tactfully Turn Down an Offer of Admission

What's the protocol and etiquette for turning down an offer from a school?

First check the language of that school's offer letter.

Read More...

March 21, 2012

Explaining Your Master's Degree

I recently passed my master's examination which is equivalent to defending a thesis.  Should I notify law schools of this?

Passing your master's exam is a big step towards completing your master's degree, so congratulations on that.

Read More...

March 14, 2012

When to Reply to Emails from the Admissions Office

I've been reading your blog a lot as I have been going through the admissions process.

Read More...

March 7, 2012

Timing Your Law School Recommendations

If you're planning on submitting law school applications this coming fall, now is a good time to start thinking about your recommendations: Whom are you going to ask? And when?

The first thing to know is that most law schools prefer academic recommendations.

Read More...

February 8, 2012

Grad School for Introverts

At Harvard, where the author got her law degree, she shows up on the business-school campus and asks random students if they know any introverts.

Read More...

February 2, 2012

Prepping for Law School Financial Aid Forms

I'm sure this is just about the last thing in the world you want to be doing right now, but it's a good time to start pulling your documents together to prepare for your law school financial aid applications.

Here are some interesting stats from a recent post by Equal Justice Works:

It's no surprise... that most law students borrow to finance their legal education (88.

Read More...

January 25, 2012

Superstars vs. Commodities

In the past, workers with average skills, doing an average job, could earn an average lifestyle.

Read More...

January 18, 2012

On Writing Your Own Recommendation Letters

I'm no longer surprised by the number of law school applicants who report that their professors make them write their own recommendation letters.

Read More...

January 11, 2012

Law School Holds and Waitlists

Around this time of year, many applicants are hearing back from law schools. While a final decision is usually welcome (even a rejection eliminates the frustration of waiting...), there are some situations where a school's response does nothing but add to your uncertainty.

Typically, these "limbo" responses from schools fall into two categories: waitlists and holds.

Read More...

January 5, 2012

Perfect World LSAT Timeline

What's the ideal LSAT timeline? Your mileage may vary, and your LSAT instructor will be able to give you advice customized to your individual situation. But in a perfect world, here's how I like to work backwards from the end goal:

Plan to submit your applications in early November (or even sooner, but early November is plenty early).

Read More...

December 14, 2011

Pestering Your Way to an Admissions Decision

It's Tough Love Season* here Chez Ivey, and it's time for my annual public service announcement to applicants, wherein I say some version of "STOP ACTING LIKE A CRAZY PERSON."

I've written a whole blog post about how waiting is the hardest part, with a Tom Petty/Eddie Vedder video and everything! In that same spirt, I have a story to share.

I was talking to a law school admissions officer, among other things about applicants who feel compelled to check their online status every six minutes.

Read More...

December 7, 2011

Misconduct and Irregularities in the Law School Application Process

What's the fastest way to tank your legal career before it even starts? Being found guilty by LSAC of "misconduct or irregularity" in the application process.

LSAC has a helpful page on its website explaining what that means. In part:

What constitutes misconduct or an irregularity?

The submission, even by mistake, as part of the law school admission process of any information that is false, inconsistent, or misleading, or the omission of information that may result in a false or misleading conclusion, or the violation of any regulation governing the law school admission process, including any violation of LSAT test center regulations.

Read More...

November 27, 2011

Law School Application Questions About Indebtedness

At a time when the media and even Congress are scrutinizing claims by law schools about their graduates' employability and earning power, these application questions caught my eye:

Student Indebtedness

1. Please list all of your outstanding educational loans. List amount, type, lender name, and total amount.

2. Have you ever defaulted on any educational loan?

Law school applications don't typically ask you to provide information about your indebtendess (except in the separate, optional financial aid application).

Read More...

November 20, 2011

Dean's Certifications MIA

Take a walk down memory lane with me.

In hindsight, my biggest frustration when I applied to law school many years ago was something that should have been easy to check off the list: the Dean's Certification.

Read More...

November 2, 2011

Skipping the Question

I've written before that in your application essays, you must answer the question they're asking you, not the one you wish they had asked. Here's a related problem I often see: Rather than ignoring the question entirely, you might answer only part of the question and ignore the harder (and more interesting) bits.

Here are two examples, one from the MBA world, and one from the law school world:

  • "What matters most to you, and why?" (Stanford GSB)
  • "Say more about your interest in the University of Michigan Law School. What do you believe Michigan has to offer to you and you to Michigan?" (Michigan Law School)

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October 16, 2011

Turning Down Offers

My applications are out, and already I have a couple of answers back (both admits, thankfully). Since I have no idea what I'm doing, I thought you could answer two etiquette questions for me: 

1. Is it acceptable to send a short thank you email to the admissions dean after receiving your decision? Or is that generally not advised?

 2.

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October 8, 2011

Addendum Essays, Sweet-Talking, and Judgment

I had an interesting conversation recently with a big-wig at an LSAT prep company. He observed that many people applying to law school are highly verbal, and one of the ways they have been able to get ahead in life was in part by sweet-talking their way around problems. These people with great verbal facility then sometimes hit a wall that is new to them: they can't sweet-talk their way into success on the LSAT. The LSAT is cruel (and ruthlessly effective) that way.

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September 30, 2011

Writing Your Law School Application Essays: Big Rule #2

Picking up where I left off (Big Rule #1 for writing your law school essays), and continuing with the larger theme of learning how to decode your application instructions:

Big Rule # 2: Identify the Right Essay Type and Stay True to It.

The second most important thing you need to know when approaching your required law school application essays is that you need to pay attention to the essay question and make sure you are answering that question—not that other school’s question, and not the question you wish were being asked.

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September 25, 2011

How to Decode Your Law School Application Instructions

Are the character count limitations in some of your law school applications killing you? If you are struggling with instructions that tell you to list your extracurricular activities or honors/awards (including description!) in 500 characters or less, you are not alone. Here are some real examples:

  • List your important scholastic or academic honors including scholarships, fellowships, prizes, honor societies, etc. (maximum characters 500)

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August 15, 2011

Good People Can Give Bad Advice

Good people can give you bad advice about your applications? Really? Says who?

The dean of admissions at Stanford's business school, for one. "Good People Can Give Bad Advice" is a headline in a post by Dean Derrick Bolton on Stanford GSB's admissions website, and I'm sharing his advice here because (1) it's great advice and (2) it applies just as well to law school and even college admissions. (Did you read that recent NYT article about the race to line up fancy and expensive summer experiences in service of college applications? If so, read on.)

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August 6, 2011

Do I Have to Write About X in My Law School Personal Statement?

Here's a question frequently asked by law school applicants, with variations on a theme:

My LSAT instructor says I have to write about public service in my personal statement.

My mom says I have to explain why I switched majors in my personal statement.

My dad says I should write about The Law in my personal statement.

My friend who's a 2L says I have to write about a big dilemma in my personal statement.

Do you agree?

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July 17, 2011

Should I Take the LSAT a Third Time?

I took my first LSAT last year in Oct and got 157...which was disappointing.  I honestly didn't put much effort into studying, so I retook it this June and got 167. I'm still not happy with the score, because I got most of the questions wrong in the Reading Comp section, and I feel like I can improve a lot more, since I only got 1 or 2 wrong on the Games and Reasoning sections.  I want to take it one more time, but my concern is that it might not be viewed favorably by the schools. I have a 3.65 GPA and with the score of 167, it seems like I don't really have a good chance at the T14 schools. 

If I do set my mind on retaking, I know I can put in the time and effort to improve the score. 

How do schools view 3 LSAT scores? If I do end up taking it again, at least what score should I be shooting for to get into T14?  

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March 4, 2011

How to Gracefully Accept an Offer (or Negotiate Better Terms)

In response to my blog posting "What Does This Email From the Admissions Office Want Me To Do?", a commenter asked this follow-up question:

How do you suggest acknowledging acceptance emails? Do I reply "Thanks!" or just leave the email alone until I've made a decision?

You might recall that in that earlier posting, I had encouraged applicants not to bombard admissions officers with unnecessary emails; in most cases, "unnecessary" means you're just acknowledging their email and not providing more information, or being asked to provide more information.

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