I am applying to USF(close to home), however this is my last, last, last choice school. I am a graduate from Stanford University, and my main choices are UChicago, Stanford, Berkeley, Cornell, Duke, Emory, Georgetown, Northwestern, Harvard, NYU and Yale (this being my top choice). I am applying to safety schools as USF, University of Washington, American, Golden Gate, and UMass. My LSAT score was 170, and I graduated with a 3.6 GPA. I am 24, and have worked with several NGOs as well as having volunteered in Senegal for a summer. I will be applying next year, as I am currently working for a U.S. Rep. I am a little worried about these schools, because one of my best friends went to UChicago for her undergrad. She scored in the early 160s and had a 3.4 GPA, and has lived abroad - working for the Peace Corps, speaks Korean fluently, and has also worked for a human rights NGO in Chicago. She applied to all top tier schools and got rejected by every single one(sent out 9 applications, got rejected from all 9 - including UChicago's law school). The second time she applied - she applied to safety schools, she got into only one school Kent State, and is currently going there. I saw her law school application and statement, it was immaculate. It is hard, because all the schools I want to go to (UChicago, Cornell, Duke, Emory, Stanford, Berkeley, Georgetown, Northwestern, Harvard, NYU and Yale) are so excruciatingly hard to get into, with acceptance at a bare minimum. I heard for instance NYU Law averages 10,000 applicants each year and accepts such a low amount from that. It is almost impossible not to score in the 170s and have less then a 3.5 GPA and not have some really far out past careers and get into these schools(aka not someone that just volunteered for the standard Teach for America, Peacecorp or CityYear, Americorp) rather someone who worked in the UN, in the White House, a big law firm etc.) . I don't want to deter anyone from this post, but I also don't want people to feel really upset, if they apply to all these top schools, and get all rejections (I have had tons of intelligent, top-tier undergraduate friends get
rejected from top schools). It was so traumatizing for my UChicago friend, I mean she went to a top-tier school for undergraduate, did all these great things, scored high, was also a minority female.It's a hard market, everyone is applying to graduate schools - so it is unlikely that average candidates(in terms of scores, achievements, schooling) will get into a top school. My suggestion is apply to mostly safety schools, 1-2 middle range schools and 1 reach school. You will be glad you saved the dough and the remorse of rejections Good Luck everyone!