Law is one of the most competitive arenas in professional and academic circles. Getting into law school requires a lot of hard work and years of preparation. There is no fundamental difference between those who get accepted to top law schools like Harvard and those who don’t. There are multiple factors you have to take into account.
For example, the quality of undergrad education you receive, your commitment to hard work which shows in the curriculum chosen, apprenticeships, volunteering, LSAT scores, and strong recommendation letters from your professors all contribute to your acceptance into top law schools. Why does it matter? Ultimately, going to a prestigious law school will play a significant role in which jobs you can get after you graduate.
Here are some points that will help you evaluate your chances of admission:
1. You Have Stellar Grades
The top law schools typically admit students who have high grades in their undergraduate programs. Although it is an indisputable fact, many aspiring law students tend to neglect this. They think they can make up for mediocre grades with their LSAT scores or by taking on internships.
But the truth is, if you want to get to a top law school, you cannot slack off on your college courses. Your GPA is typically the first thing admissions committees look at. Even if you have extraordinary extracurricular activity, it is difficult to compensate for a low GPA. In fact, the median undergraduate GPA was 3.91 on a 4.0 scale for students entering Yale Law School in fall 2017.
In short, good grades do play an essential role in getting in the top law schools. So you have to make sure that you are putting in the hard work long before your law school applications are due.
2. You Rocked the LSAT
High undergrad grades go hand-in-hand with high LSAT scores. You need both to get into a top law school. The median LSAT score for students entering Yale Law School was 173 out of a maximum of 180.
Although it is a one-time test, you need to prepare for months to get a good score. You can take a free LSAT prep test online to familiarize yourself with the test and improve your chance to score better. Starting your study plan early will give you the best chance at a top score, which will increase your chance of getting into a noteworthy school.
3. You Went to a Top School for Undergrad
Going to a top undergrad school always gives you an edge in the eyes of the highest-ranking law schools. That’s because you have already competed with some brilliant minds and gone through rigorous coursework. You also likely had access to various extracurricular activities such as volunteering opportunities, apprenticeships, and study abroad programs. All of these advantages put you one step closer to your dream law school.
You can overcome the Ivy League advantage. Top law schools do not give preference to less impressive undergrad schools. If you have a stellar GPA and academic accomplishments, especially if you chose rigorous coursework or did independent academic research, and opted for intellectual pursuits outside the classroom, you are well-placed to compete with the Ivy League students.
4. You Have Great Recommendations
A good law school application can be transformed into a great one by a persuasive recommendation letter. To impress acceptance committees, you’ll need to secure recommendation letters from your professors who can thoroughly evaluate your work. Ask them if they can assess your work against the work of the past students who have gone to top law schools.
You must work closely with your recommendation writers because a recommendation can be a missed opportunity if it does not adhere to the theme of the application essay. Build relationships with your professors. Make sure to take several classes from the same professor, if you think they will make a good recommendation. Getting good grades in those classes makes it more likely for you to get a good recommendation.
Hard Work Pays Off
Getting into a top law school may be difficult, but it is not impossible. While graduating from a reputed school puts you ahead of other applicants, strong grades and LSAT scores will help you go to any top law school. Don’t underestimate the power of securing great recommendation letters from your professors. All these together, along with your hard work, will help you get to one of the best law schools.