The law school application process is largely impersonal (apart from your personal statement, obviously). For the most part, you will not have any personal contact with the admissions officers or anyone else in charge of deciding your fate. The main exception to this rule is admission interviews. Most schools don’t conduct interviews; of the 17 schools I applied to (yes, that’s too many), I was interviewed a total of four times. But while interviews are as rare and elusive as the California condor, it is still important to know how to approach them if need be.
1. Do Your Research
The interview is a great opportunity to show that you are uniquely interested in a particular school. To show this interest, it is important to make sure you can talk intelligently about the salient features of the school that you find attractive. I would recommend going on school websites, reading over the materials you find there, and picking up on the features the school seems to emphasize. This will allow you to exhibit a detailed and informed interest in the institution and tailor your answers in a way that matches the school’s expectations for outstanding applicants.
2. Appearance Matters
Regardless of whether you’re doing an in-person or a Skype interview, I would absolutely recommend wearing business attire (although, for my Skype interviews, I think I wore pajama pants because no one sees that anyway). I don’t think I need to go into too much detail about why this is important, but dressing up will convey that you’re taking the process seriously and it will allow you to present yourself in a professional manner—law school is, after all, a professional endeavor.
3. Ask Questions
As is the case in any interview, it is always a good idea to ask questions. First, asking questions will provide another way for you to demonstrate a particular interest in a particular school—this goes hand in hand with the importance of doing research so that you can ask detailed questions—and it will show that you are engaged in the process and confident about yourself. With that said, avoid questions that you can easily find the answer to online; these are a waste of time for you and your interviewer. Furthermore, avoid asking questions that imply a negative characterization of the schools. Lastly, questions are also a great way to get information that will help you make your decision and narrow down your list of schools, so use them wisely!
As a few parting words of advice, if you’re doing a Skype interview, make sure you’re aware of your surroundings and of your internet connection. During one of my Skype interviews, I had a terrible Internet connection and it tainted the whole process. During another, my sister walked into the room and I had to shush her (and that didn’t go over too well, let me tell you).
The bottom line to all of this advice is that you want to present yourself—through your questions, appearance, and research—in a way that demonstrates your interest and presents yourself to the interviewer in the best way possible. If it helps, you can think of it like a first date—your job is to both maximize your value to your date and to make your date feel special. You might hope for something slightly different in the end… but the process is similar.