What Are Top Law Schools Looking For?

Every year, thousands of aspiring lawyers try their best to get accepted into selective law schools, but getting in is no simple feat. The highest rated law schools in the nation have extremely low acceptance rates. To get into these schools, students need to have excellent grades and high test scores. For example, Yale Law School had an acceptance rate below 8.4% in fall 2017. The median undergraduate GPA was 3.91 on a 4.0 scale, and the median LSAT score for students entering law school was 173 out of a maximum of 180.

U.S. News and World Report asked Thomas Simeone and other attorneys about the best ways to get accepted into a top law school. Below, we tell you about a few key attributes that successful law school applicants tend to have.

Exceptional Academic Credentials

Without good grades, it is very hard to get into a competitive law school. Speaking about the importance of having stellar grades, attorney Thomas Simeone, says, “Having activities is helpful when applying to law school because they show a well-rounded approach to life. However, top law schools need to determine whether you can succeed while there and afterwards, and good undergraduate grades are the best indicator of that. Schools have no way of knowing how challenging or beneficial your activities were, but good grades indicate that someone did what it took to succeed, despite the challenges of being a student.”

Real-World Experience

Aspiring attorneys should wait until they have finished college to start applying to law schools. This is because J.D. admissions officers place high value on work experience. Attorney Simeone says that his pre-law adviser convinced him to hold off his applications until after college. "He advised me that working makes a person an entirely different candidate. Not only are you older and more mature, but working allows you to bring real-world experiences to law school," said Simeone.

Detailed Letter of Endorsement

A strong letter of recommendation can really make a law school application stand out among the rest. Schools will receive thousands of letters of recommendation, but the letters that recruiters remember are the ones that present the applicant’s best qualities, rather than a general endorsement of their skills.

A Strong Argument for Pursuing Law School

Only a handful of applicants ever tell a comprehensive story about their reasons for wanting to go to law school. When an applicant tells a consistent story in their application, they are much more likely to get admitted into the college they want. Write a compelling statement that presets your interests and reasoning in an engaging manner.

Academic Projects & Extracurricular Activities

Extracurricular activities that demonstrate community service, leadership, or athleticism can also help applicants compete in the J.D. admissions process. Taking rigorous undergraduate courses and completing interesting academic projects, such as an honors thesis will also give applicants a significant edge during the admissions process.

Do you have more questions about pursuing law school? Contact our team of Washington DC personal injury lawyers to set up a free consultation today.

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