Top 5 Law School Admissions Tips

An aerial view of Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Mass.
An aerial view of Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Mass.
Peter Vanderwarker/Getty Images

Are you thinking about law school? Would you like to be a part of a challenging, rewarding profession helping to protect the rights of others? Are you interested in a career that helps shape our laws and policies? Whether you're working on an undergraduate degree or contemplating a return to school after a few years of working, law school could be the right choice for you.

According the Law School Admission Council (LSAC), more than 60,000 potential first-year law students took the LSAT in fall 2009, about 20 percent more than in fall 2008. The increase is attributed to the downturn in the economy; many people turn to graduate school to make the most of a slow job market [source: SmartMoney].

Since the number of openings in accredited law schools remains fairly constant each year, getting into law school is highly competitive. For example, in 2008, Yale Law School received 3,400 applications for around 200 spots in its first year class [source: Yale Law School].

So, what sets the accepted apart from those who fall short? Law school admission committees are looking for applicants who will make the very best students and become successful professionals. To determine who makes the cut, law schools look at a number of factors that can be used objectively across all potential candidates. Two criteria that all schools in the U.S. (and several in Canada, Europe and Australia) rely upon most are the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) scores and undergraduate grade point average (GPA). Beyond these benchmarks, schools may ask for a personal essay, interviews or recommendations -- or all three. They may also seek out students with particular work experience, academic backgrounds, even ethnic or cultural backgrounds, to help create a diverse academic environment where different viewpoints are represented.

Think you've got what it takes? Read on to make sure. Here are the top five tips for getting into law school.