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Columbia University Law School

3 Tips To Get Into Columbia Law

Having strong numbers is only one part of getting accepted into Columbia Law.

With an acceptance rate of 16%, there are plenty of applicants with exemplary test scores and high GPAs who get rejected from the school each year. Bloomberg Law recently spoke to admissions consultants and recent Columbia Law graduates who offered tips on what other aspects can increase your chances of admission.

AUTHENTICITY IS KEY

At Columbia Law, high test scores and GPAs are only impressive if you have an authentic story to back it up.

Alumni highlight the importance of using the personal statement to tell an authentic story rather than trying to impress admissions officers.

“I focused on being Assyrian American and the child of immigrants and how this has uniquely shaped my experiences. I was my authentic self by writing nothing that I didn’t genuinely mean,” Beneel Babaei, a Class of 2019 Columbia Law grad tells Bloomberg Law.  “No one is impressed by your use of the word ‘arguendo’; they want to know who you are and why your voice is unique in a hundred-person classroom of bright young minds.”

While the law school looks for strong test scores and GPA’s, an authentic personal statement can play a large role in whether you get in or not. Michael Jia, a Class of 2019 grad, had numbers below the average. However, he says, his strong personal statement made a difference.

“I grew up in Asia and have been fortunate enough to spend time living both in Asia and the US, kind of between two cultures,” Jia tells Bloomberg Law. “Rather than list off a bunch of accomplishments I did, or how living across two cultures equipped me to be a great law student, I basically said, ‘Look, it’s fascinating to me how legal cultures can vary around the world, I’ve seen it firsthand, I want to learn more,’ which is basically how I felt at the time.”

USE SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIALS, AS NEEDED

Columbia Law allows applicants the option to submit additional materials to supplement their application. While submitting is optional, experts say, applicants should only submit material that they feel will add to their application.

“Two good uses of this section are to include information not otherwise noted on your application (e.g., if you have an interesting hobby, skill, or talent) and to provide more information on why Columbia Law is your first choice,” Jennie Rothman, director of admissions at free platform Admit.me and a graduate of Harvard Law School, tells Bloomberg Law.

APPLY EARLY ONLY IF YOU’RE READY

Applicants who have their eyes set on Columbia Law can apply via early decision (ED) to the law school. While the ED selection may offer a higher chance of admission, experts only recommend applying early if you feel that your application is strong enough. If there’s still room for improvement, it’s best to hold off.

“A number of factors converge to make it so tempting to rush into applying to law school, but as someone who had his sights set on Columbia Law School,” Babaei tells Bloomberg Law, “I knew I couldn’t submit my applications until they were where I wanted them to be.”

Sources: Bloomberg Law, Columbia Law