Tips for Transfer Applicants
Transferring law schools isn’t as easy as transferring colleges.
“There are far fewer law schools than colleges,” Hillary Mantis, Assistant Dean of the Pre-law Program at Fordham University, says. “In that sense, it is much harder to transfer, as there are not that many spots available. Law school classes are relatively small.”
It’s important for transfer applicants to know what to expect in the transfer process and put together a strategy to stand out. Gabriel Kuris, contributor at US News and founder of Top Law Coach, recently offered a few tips on how transfer applicants can put themselves in a position to succeed.
PRIORITIZE FIRST YEAR GRADES
As a law school applicant, your undergraduate grads and test scores are the closest predictor of law school performance. But for transfer applicants, it’s your first-year grades.
“The main reason undergraduate grades and standardized test scores are the most significant factors in law school admissions is that they both have a proven track record of predicting law school performance,” Kuris says. “But no predictor holds a candle to an applicant’s actual performance in law school. That’s why it is imperative to earn high grades and a high class rank, if applicable, during your first year if you intend to transfer to a more prestigious law school.”
Prioritizing first-year grades can also put you in a position to succeed in other aspects of your application.
“It may help you secure an impressive summer position,” Kuris says. “And it can help you form connections with a law school professor that can lead to a strong letter of recommendation, which can otherwise be difficult in large lecture classes.”
UPDATE YOUR PERSONAL STATEMENT
One of the biggest mistakes transfer applicants make is simply reusing their original law school personal statement when applying as a transfer. Your transfer application essay, Kuris says, should clearly explain your decision to transfer.
“Ditch your old personal statement and write a fresh essay centered on how your transfer would serve your career goals,” Kuris says. “Be sure to mention if you plan to practice law nearby, since schools often appreciate applicants likely to maintain strong local ties as alumni. Along with your future plans, your application should clearly communicate why you are transferring and how you will contribute to your new campus.”
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