Law School Discussion

Admitted Studenst: What would you do differently in application process?

Mr. Pink

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I essentially had my applications done at the end of my junior year, so they were pretty polished. The biggest help of the board has been Alcibiades - he gave me some tips and suggestions to augment my application that I wouldn't have otherwise had access to. It is difficult for me to point out something I would have done differently in the application process.

1. I would have planned for financial aid a little bit better and been more prepared to apply for scholarships and things of that nature. Once you're admitted, it becomes all about the money and I think it is a process that often gets less detail than the actual applications (although its just as important IMO).

2. I would have had more casual observers read my personal statement. I only had one member of the board and a close friend read my statement. It was pretty risky, although Toby Stock told me it was one of the best he's ever read.

For a person applying next year, I suggest getting the following books:

How to get into the top law schools
the Ivey Guide

Also, get started early. Finish your essays in the summer, do the LSAT in the summer, and get down a preliminary strategy for recommendations. For me, I actually decided not to ask one of my biggest supporters who has written many battle tested recommendations because his recommendation would have just regurgitated stuff they could've seen from my resume, other recs, ECS.

Once you get your LSAT/GPA, decide where you want to go. Then create a strategy to get there. Montauk will help you find your weaknesses from an adcomms point of view and your strengths. Also there are a number of good quotes by admissions official detailing what they are looking for in an applicant. I singled out the quotes by Megan Barnett and Joyce Curyll for example and made sure that my themes were consistent with what they were looking for. If your numbers are low for a school, then you just have to create a strategy to work around that like Annabel Lee.

I mean, I can't stress enough the time required to put together a thoughtful and compelling application package. You want to make sure you don't say too much to blow your chance if your numbers are solid (for example, i only sent one personal statement), if your numbers are a little low, make sure they know enough to make an informed decision (annabel sent 3 personal statements for example). Talk to other students who attend the school you want - alci, absy, mobell, agitator are all wonderful resources. And you want to be sure you talk to current students because their motives are genuine. You never know the motives of a fellow applicant (not that fellow applicants are bad for advice, but current students are also battle tested).


What would i have done differently?

Spent less money on meaningless books
Spent less money on LSAT prep (take testmasters and be done with it)
Let others give me more feedback on essays
apply to less schools
left school in december
Planned for financial aid better


Also, ever notice the risk tolerance difference between white people and black people on that new game show, deal or no deal?


Thank you much...

Haven't watch it yet...I would guess that people who are poorer would risk money less.  I might be wrong.

I ditto everyone has said about studying hard for LSAT and applying early.  I would also add that you need to be ready to pay for all of the application costs associated with applying. I applied to 11 schools and even though I received fee waivers from a good number of them, you still have to pay to have your LSDAS report sent to them. I've been broke for the last 6 months, so my advice would be to start putting money aside now so that you won't be stressing about money as well as if you'll be getting into school.

Best of luck to you and great question!

cyberrev

i would have waited until next cycle instead of deciding on november 11th and taking the lsat on december 5th.

i would have included an addendum outlining my physical and learning disabilities.  i probably would have asked for accomodation for the lsat as well.


Mr. Pink

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bump

I've felt incredibly rushed this application cycle.
I'd do everything EARLIER.
-LSAT prep course (Testmasters)
-Anna Ivey
-requests for LOR
-drafting essays
-scholarship & financial aid applications

MrSmittie

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ECHO what most have already said (i.e. - study hard for LSAT and give it a measure of high priority, apply early but make sure package is polished, secure LORs early, etc).

The most important thing I would have done differently is to find something to do in order to stay occupied after submitting my apps. The waiting and uncertainty can be brutal. In hindsight, perhaps taking a vaction or searching for a cancer cure would  have helped.  ;D


The only thing I would have done differently is I would have done everything to make sure I was prepared for the LSAT the first time I sat for it.  Itís a test that can be learned, and had I really acknowledged and understood that the first time, I would have paid more money/attention to ensure up front that I had the best preparation.  Instead I studied on my own (works for some people, didnít work for me) and when I didnít like my score I had to pay for another test, pay for a prep course and basically invest a lot of time/energy/money all over again.  It was well worth it in the end - I learned how to best approach the test the second time, and was able to substantially increase my score, but I could have saved a lot of time/money/nerves had I pulled out those stops in the first place.

team mvp

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I don't think it's all that important to apply early as a minority candidate. Many here disagree, but I think that URM apps are more or less compared against each other towards the end of the app period, so no strong advantage to applying hella early - UNLESS you have stellar numbers (170+ and 3.8+, not one or the other) because that means you will hear back quickly. Just get them in before Xmas and you'll be okay. I applied in October and didn't hear from my reaches until Feb anyway.
 

I disagree with this.  My numbers weren't stellar and I def got into some schools (that numbers wouldn't indicate I would get into, at least very early) way before Christmas.  I'm pretty sure (by looking on LSN)  I'm not an outlier in this regard.  I believe as a URM its even more important to apply early.  Bc schools are more willing to take URMs w/ lower numbers earlier as opposed to later when they're trying to up their medians for the rankings.  Imagine if you're that 3.5 162 applying to Penn.  If you apply in Oct they'll prob take you before Christmas.  Where if you apply right before X-mas they might not take you at all bc they've already accepted very similar candidates.  IMO, it might not make a difference when you apply (for ex, if you get deferred) but its not worth the risk.

I think different schools have different admissions styles, but I suggest earlier is the better. It's better to be safe than sorry or wonder what would have been if I had applied earlier. Some schools i heard back from quite quickly (Michigan got back to me in less than a month which leads me to believe they don't consider all minorities at once) while I'm still waiting to hear from some schools I applied to at the same time as Michigan (G-town and Cornell).