If you didn’t get into law school this year, it’s never too early to start planning a strategy for the next application cycle. First, take some time to lick your wounds, and then use these tips that could help you change your results.
- Evaluate your application.
Take a hard look at your application. Where do you think it fell short? Is it your LSAT score? Your grades? The schools you applied to? Your letters of recommendation? Take some time and really think about yourself as an applicant. What do you want to focus on improving? Consider your list of schools and whether you might need help making appropriate school choice decisions. Think of this as an opening to really contemplate your candidacy. What will make you a stronger applicant over the next few months? Accepted can help!
- Retake the LSAT.
Some of your application pieces are harder to change than others. Your LSAT score is an important element you can change to increase the competitiveness of your application. If your LSAT score is under 160 and you are applying to top programs, strongly consider retaking the exam. If you decide to do so, give the test the time and attention needed to improve your score. You should plan to set aside at least three months to study for the LSAT. Of course, if you have already taken the LSAT multiple times and don’t anticipate an increase in your score, maybe skip this step and focus your efforts elsewhere. Consulting with an Accepted expert might help, too!
Have you worked for a law firm in an area of law that interests you? This is a great way to get an idea of how the law works and determine whether a legal career is for you. Working in the field could also be an opportunity to strengthen your letters of recommendation. If working at a law firm isn’t an option, consider pursuing another business-related job, interning at a district attorney’s office or judge’s chambers, or volunteering in the legal field. The goal here is simple: get relevant legal experience that demonstrates your interest to both law schools and future employers. If you’re not able to work in the legal field, any work experience that shows you have the ability to be hired and hold a job also shows the admissions committee you can hold your own in an interview and in the workplace. Just do something!
The application process is very one-dimensional, and you are a complex human being. So get busy making yourself known. Many schools have an option to “connect with a student” on their website. Use it. Ask students questions about their experience at the school and in the application process. It can be valuable to have an idea of the student profile for your target law schools and to make a personal connection in what can feel like an impersonal process. Networking can also help strengthen your application by giving you a better understanding of why a school is a good fit for you, which you can weave into your application.
- Try again.
Try again with other law schools – and consider other grad schools!
For law schools, it may not be too late in the cycle; some schools are still looking for students through July or August. Although you didn’t get into your top-choice school, other schools might still have spaces available. If you want to go to law school, there are more options than the T-14 or even T-30 where you will get a great education and be able to take advantage of opportunities.
And there are even more options aside from law school. Think about your goals for applying to JD programs. Are there other grad programs that would allow you to achieve those same goals? Consider all the other graduate programs out there and think about why you might apply to them. This could be a great opportunity to reflect on all the different ways you could get to where you want to be. There is no denying that not getting into law school is hard, but the best response is to use the opportunity to work with an expert to fine-tune your application and make yourself more competitive for next year. Most schools welcome reapplicants, particularly those who have made significant steps to show their interest in law school and improve their qualifications.