There are many sources of advice out there covering all the major pieces of the law school application process, from the personal statement to admissions interviews, but there are also some little things you can do for your law school applications that can make the difference in your application experience and your admissions success. As a law school applicant from this past fall with many lessons still fresh in my mind, I’m here to offer you my perspective on the little things that will make a tremendous difference to your success in the application process.
Applying to law school isn’t like going to Walmart on any given day to buy a new TV. It’s like going to Walmart for a TV on Black Friday — if you get there at 9 am, you have to get in line behind people who planned further ahead than you, and if you’re unlucky, there won’t even be any more TV’s for you to buy. The rolling admissions process most law schools use means that you have a better chance at acceptances and scholarship opportunities if you apply earlier in the application cycle. In my case, I planned to apply at the earliest possible date. But then some applications ended up taking a little longer as I waited for some pieces of my application that I didn’t have, so my application submissions had to be pushed back. Keep this in mind, and make sure your own applications are ready even before schools are ready to receive them, just to give yourself some wiggle-room for unforeseeable delays in the process.
Keep yourself organized
After you take the LSAT and start your applications, you’re going to be juggling the different requirements for each law school application, you’re going to be keeping on top of timelines for scholarships, early decision, and other application deadlines, and you’re going to receive an inordinate number of emails related to law school (some relevant to you, and many others that you don’t want). Just keeping track of the emails became a drain on my time, because I didn’t plan to keep this part of the application process organized from the beginning. At worst, disorganization will not only waste your time, but it will lead you to miss an important deadline or send an essay to the wrong school.
Backup your work
You don’t want to be in the position of doing extra work or getting pressed by deadlines because you lost big chunks of your applications on a crashed computer. And you don’t want to be like me during one of my nights of application writing, when I was praying over my ancient computer that it AutoSaved my work before it suddenly gave out. With so many free options for saving your work, from Google Drive to Dropbox, you’d best get in the habit of saving. After all, for all the grief caused by crashed computers during your applications, it will be one hundred times worse to lose your work when you have papers to write and outlines to create for law school.
Most of us aren’t used to contacting strangers for help, but there are going to be opportunities to do just that for your law school applications. As you research your ideal law schools, you can reach out to your 3rd degree connections on LinkedIn who go to that law school. When you receive an acceptance from a law school, it will probably be followed up by emails from admissions, student groups and even professors who are welcoming you to their law school. Don’t be afraid to take advantage and use these new contacts as resources to learn things about the law school that you would never know from online research or a tour of the campus. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how people I had never met before have been open, interested, and willing to go out of their way to help me when I’ve just asked them. And for everyone you reach out to, whether they are the recommendation writer you’ve known for years or a law school alum you just met, be sure to be gracious and appreciative of their time in helping you through this tremendous step in your life.
Best of luck to everyone with your law school goals. And if you need more advice on the law school admissions process, you can check out the law school application workshops, application consulting, and other law school resources available through Blueprint.