5 Quick Tips for Applying to Law School | Information on law admissions

If you’re struggling to put the finishing touches on your law school applications, you’re not alone. The continuous admissions process favors applicants who apply early, but fall can be a busy time and many applicants use downtime during the holiday season to complete their applications.

To relieve last-minute stress, here are some quick answers to questions that often arise when applications are nearing completion.

1. An application asks me to list information that is already on my CV. How should I respond?

Applicants who work meticulously on their resumes and essays may find that a request to list biographical information separately can be safely ignored or treated as an optional essay prompt.

It is a risky presumption. Law school admissions officials appreciate attention to detail, so it’s usually best to follow their instructions to the letter, even if it seems like a waste of time.

Why would admissions officials want a separate listing of your jobs, volunteer activities, awards, or other information already included in your resume? Resumes vary in detail and format. Standardized information makes comparisons between candidates fairer and easier.

So don’t worry about overlapping information. And if you had to delete entries from your CV due to space constraints, take the opportunity to share all the details requested.

2. What should I do if an application asks me to list the schools to which I have applied?

This question may seem intrusive, but the answer will not affect your application. Law schools know that the average candidate applies to about six law schools. Applying to at least a dozen schools can help keep your options open.

However, a list of target schools can be inadvertently revealing. For example, if you only apply to law schools in coastal cities except Vanderbilt University Law School in Nashville, will it seem unlikely that you will move to Tennessee?

Good lawyers know the difference between answering honestly and showing all your cards. Unless an application specifically asks for each school you are applying to, consider including only law schools in close proximity or in the same ranking.

3. My personal statement is too long. Can I adjust the margins, font size or spacing?

This is where attention to detail really matters. Admissions officers at law schools review thousands of personal statements each season. They will notice when candidates do not follow instructions.

Most law schools limit personal statements to two pages, although some allow three or more. Stick to one inch margins, double spacing, and standard fonts.

Many law schools accept 11 point fonts, but don’t try to reduce the spacing between letters or use other tricks to cram additional words.

Good legal writing is clear and succinct. If your personal statement is too long, consider removing redundant or flashy sentences. Edit unnecessary modifiers like adjectives and adverbs.

In some cases, elements of your personal statement might fit better elsewhere in your application, such as a diversity statement.

4. What if an application does not have room to download additional information such as an addendum or a diversity statement?

Law schools typically allow diversity statements and addenda to be uploaded through the LSAC’s credential assembly service, but there are exceptions.

If you can’t find a place to attach an additional essay or addendum, look for a tote section where you can share additional information. Questions about character and fitness also usually provide space to provide additional context. You can also try to include the information in your personal statement, resume, or other documents.

5. If I made a mistake in the application I submitted, should I contact the admissions committee?

Typically, the only reasons to contact a law school after applying is to provide an update on a material change in your application or to correct a glaring error, such as not disclosing a past disciplinary issue.

If you’ve made a typo or some other minor mistake, you might just have to live with it. However, if the error is truly embarrassing, such as mixing up essays intended for different law schools, it may be helpful to email the admissions office to acknowledge your mistake.

Of course, the best approach is to catch oversights before it’s too late. Proofread all your documents carefully before submitting them. Consider reading essays aloud or asking a friend or relative to help you proofread. Sometimes a new perspective can reveal devious typos.

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