The Most Common Misleading Advice For Law School Applicants
With all the information out there on the law school application process, it can be overwhelming to filter through what’s helpful and what’s not.
Luckily, Daniel Waldman, contributor at US News and consultant at Stratus Admissions Counseling, has highlighted the worst pieces of advice out there.
“There’s No Risk in Retaking the LSAT.”
Waldman says taking the LSAT multiple times could end up hurting an applicant rather than helping.
“While it is true that some schools will average your LSAT scores, or even take only the highest or most recent score, the vast majority of schools will use a vague, noncommittal guideline like, ‘We use a holistic approach when considering test scores,’” he writes in U.S. News.
Many applicants may want to take the LSAT more than once in order to get familiar with the exam content itself.
However, experts say this is a poor strategic move that could be detrimental.
Rather, according to Kaplan Test Prep officials, applicants should focus their attention to taking practice tests to improve their skills.
“The key is that a student must practice the skills they will need to perform well on the day of the scored, actual LSAT. The LSAT has nothing to do with knowledge, it has everything to do with skill,” according to Kaplan. “Thus when a student learns the approach to each individual question type, and then practices that approach/skill on a timed exam, they begin perfecting that skill – and, importantly, identify the skill areas that need continued refinement.”
As for how many times you should actually take the LSAT?
“Again though, as far as how many times you should expect to take the actual scored LSAT–once,” according to Kaplan. “Forget the stress, time and money involved in taking the test multiple times.”
“Scores Are More Important Than Personal Essay”
While grades are important, Waldman says, applicants shouldn’t downplay the impact a strong personal statement can make.
“Admissions officials will read your personal statement, and more importantly, will read between the lines to spot attributes like laziness or lack of motivation,” Waldman writes in U.S. News. “Your grades may get you through the door, but your personal statement is what will seal the deal.”
While both grades and essay are important in admissions, a poor personal statement will get you nowhere.
“An applicant who has great scores, all well within the range for the target law schools, could still find it difficult to get in,” Waldman writes. “Bad personal statements – full of half sentences, making no connection between paragraphs, conveying nothing about why you want to go to law school – can keep you out no matter how strong your scores are.”
“There’s Only One Path To Law School”
It’s often thought that to get into law school, you’ll need to major in a law-related undergraduate study. However, Waldman points out, law schools are more interested in building a diverse student body—of multiple backgrounds.
“People subscribe to the idea of there being a certain type of law student,” Waldman writes in U.S. News. “This person is often a political science or philosophy major, debate team participant and has summer internships at law firms or political offices. But the last thing law schools want is a cookie-cutter student body. “
Rather than focus on building an ideal profile of yourself, Waldman adds, applicants should try and convey why law school is a good fit for them.
“Much more important than being on a model U.N. ambassador is being a good student, crafting a great personal statement and conveying your motivation for going to law school,” he writes. “Schools are much more interested in how you’ll preform in school and as a lawyer than the number of philosophy classes you took.”
Sources: US News, Kaplan Test Prep