On this blog and in real life, I’ve been getting questions about the admissions process. I remember what it was like, not so long ago, to go through the process of law school admissions. It can be stressful for a variety of reasons, and so- understandably- potential law students look for any info they can get about the admissions process.
And who better to ask than somebody who’s made it through, right?
This may be true- but only to a certain point. Two years have passed since I was accepted at NYU Law, and I have no idea exactly what it was that got me in. I can take some guesses, but in the end I don’t know, just like I don’t know why I was accepted at additional schools, or rejected by others.
The admissions process is very closed-door, and in the end I think that has its benefits. It gives me the freedom to make choices about academics, careers, and life in general going forward without feeling the pressure to put too much weight on somebody else’s (in this case, an admission office’s) thoughts about certain aspects of who I am. It allows me to continue to create my own identity, without becoming too fixated on certain characteristics about myself.
Because I don’t know how any single factor, or combination of factors, impacted my application selection, or that of any other student here, I’d recommend making your application shine in as many areas as possible, since you never know what will catch the eye of admissions.
1. Get great recommendations, and make sure those recommenders follow through with getting in their letters.
2. Write an amazing personal statement that’s thoughtful and clear.
3. Be yourself- let your personal passion shine through.
4. I’d say also research the school well, so that you can show that you and the school are a great match.
5. Timing can be important, as law school admissions generally happen on a rolling basis. The later you apply, the fewer spots there will likely be left available in the incoming class. In this competitive game, don’t assume you’re going to be the candidate who is so amazing that no matter how close to the deadline you apply, no matter how many applicants are still in consideration, your application will simply stand out above all the others. This isn’t to say that you aren’t amazing, but just that, for the sake of applications, it’s wise to use timing as one more tool you have to assure that your application has the best chance possible.
No matter what happens, remember that given all the mystery surrounding how this process actually works, in the end you are way more than the admissions decisions that get made about you, whether you’re happy with those admissions decisions or not.
Best of luck to all of those in the midst of admissions, or thinking about going through it!
Image courtesy of flickr user, John Althouse Cohen
This entry was written by and posted on March 06, 2011.
The entry was filed under these categories: Admissions, Tips and Advice

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6 comments on “The Law School Admissions Process: A Student’s Perspective
  1. ben goldstein says:

    Hey. I enjoyed your blog and soon I soon will also be applying to Law School. Just curious…what did you get on your Lsat???

  2. Amanda Ploch says:

    Hi Ben,

    Apologies for taking so long to respond- I didn’t see your comment until now. I would prefer not to share my LSAT score over the blog. I’d recommend you check out available information about average LSAT scores for NYU Law instead to get a sense of what scores are typical for students.

    All the best,

  3. Conor O' Neill says:

    Hello Amanda,

    I have just completed my final year of a BA Arts degree in Ireland. I studied both Religion and French. I found both the former and the latter interesting, ergo, I enjoyed my studies. However, I want to apply to NYU school of law. I would love to become a solicitor, perhaps even a international solicitor. Summary of my life there, 🙂 so I just wanted to know what do the faculties within American Universities think of the education in Europe? And also what do admissions like to see in a person, like what should I write in the application letter.
    A plus tard,

  4. Amanda Ploch says:

    Hi Conor,
    There are many students here who have gotten (law and non-law) degrees outside of the United States, and faculty with extensive experience and expertise about educational institutions abroad. While I don’t know admissions’ formal policies about degrees attained abroad, the law school seems to highly value diversity (including geographically), and being welcoming to students educated outside the United States. Because the admissions process is very closed-door, I don’t really know what admissions likes to see in a person or what to include in your personal statement, besides the very general attributes that you could probably already guess (seeming like you are a good person, having a genuine interest in the law, why you want to go to NYU law, etc.). Be yourself, let your voice shine through, but also be professional (and make sure there are no typos!).


  5. Conor O' Neill says:

    Hi Amanda,

    Sorry to bother you again but how exactly did you study for the LSATs? And, do you have any advice that you could give me and how to do well in the LSATs.

  6. Amanda Ploch says:

    Hi Conor,

    To prepare for the LSAT, I started by getting a general book about the LSAT, and did a practice test or two. Once I figured out where my weaknesses were (Logic Games), I spent extra time working on that area. Then I spent a large amount of time doing lots and lots of timed practice tests (especially making time to do a complete LSAT all in one sitting, like you would in a real testing situation).

    Some people take classes, and whether or not classes are a good choice compared to studying on your own will depend on a lot of factors, including cost and availability (I was away from home and traveling a lot during the summer before my LSAT, so taking a class would have been incredibly difficult), your own study habits (do you find yourself able to stick to your own study schedule?), and your own needs (some people prefer having an expert help them, others would rather identify and work on their skills on their own). The most effective way to study and the amount of time needed may look very different for different people.


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