Tips On Applying To Safety Schools
Law schools are getting more competitive and that means fewer applicants are getting into their dream schools.
The 2018-2019 academic year saw applicants increase 8.7% from the previous year, according to data from the Law School Admission Council.
Having a back-up plan is critical especially with increased competition.
Daniel Waldman, a contributor at US News, recently disclosed some tips on how law school applicants can choose safety schools.
GPA And LSAT Still Reign
While your personal statement and work experience can make a difference, Waldman says your GPA and LSAT score are still the main factors in determining your acceptance.
“Therefore, when compiling a list of schools, research previous years’ LSAT and GPA scores for incoming classes,” he writes. “Safety schools are traditionally those where both your GPA and your LSAT score are over the median – but with the increased competition, it would be wise to include a couple of schools where at least one of your scores is also above the 75th percentile of last year’s class.”
Some schools don’t have a high overall rank, but excel in the rankings for a specialized program. If you know what you want to study, Waldman says, applying to a school for a specialized program can be a safer bet.
“For example, the Washington College of Law at American University is tied at No. 80 in the overall 2019 U.S. News Best Law Schools rankings, but its strong international law program is tied at No. 6, surpassing powerhouses like Stanford University,” Waldman writes. “Similarly, Santa Clara University School of Law – ranked outside of the top 100 overall – is fourth in intellectual property law.”
The Option To Transfer
Safety schools aren’t the end goal. In fact, getting rejected from your dream school doesn’t mean you will never have the chance to attend. Waldman says remembering that you have the option to transfer is important.
“One benefit of a lower-ranked school is that it tends to be easier to earn grades closer to the top of your class,” he writes. “If you had a very successful first year, you can apply to transfer to a higher-ranked school.”
Sources: US News, Law School Admission Council