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How to Get Into Top Law Schools

Sep 8, 2010 Jennifer Williamson, Distance Columnist | 0 Comments

Getting into law school is no walk in the park. The top law schools are extremely competitive—and only a small fraction of their applicants get a spot. But it can be worth it to compete, because with a law degree from one of the top schools, you’re much more likely to land a prestigious position at an elite law firm. Here are a few tips for gaining admission into the country’s most exclusive law schools.

Start thinking about this when you enroll in undergraduate college

The college you choose can make a big difference in which online law school you get into. Choose an undergraduate school that has a history of successfully landing top law school acceptance for graduates. Of course, your best option is Harvard, Princeton or Yale—but there are also other colleges that have good track records. Look for a school that’s strategic about making their students appealing to the top law schools.

Get good grades

Student Law

It’s not easy to get into a top law school. But they’ve got to let some students in—and one of them might as well be you, right?



To get into any of the top law schools, you’ll need a high grade point average. The minimum grade to be competitive is a 3.5, but bear in mind that the less competitive your school is, the higher your GPA will have to be. A 4.0 from your local state school isn’t likely to be as impressive as a 4.0 from Yale.
Choose the right major. Top law schools are looking for people who have strong analytical and communications skills. Political science and government students are always competitive, but law school admissions officers tend to like students who major in English, literature, philosophy, and history as well. A liberal arts degree with a strong emphasis on analysis, critical thinking, reading and writing will make you a better candidate.

Target the right school for you

Is your priority to land a well-paying job with a top corporate law firm, or to fight for social justice? Your goals and your vision for your own career in the law will make a big difference in which school is the best school for you—not just the best school, period. Think about what you want to do with your law degree, then research the university law schools that have the best programs and track record for that specific area of the law.

Study hard for the LSAT’s

The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is at least as important to law school admissions as your SAT’s were for your undergraduate school—if not more so. You’ll need to get top scores on the LSAT’s to land a spot with a top-tier law school. Your competition is likely to be taking LSAT prep classes that cost thousands of dollars. If you really want that top law school spot, you’d better do the same—unless you’re an absolute genius and can effortlessly score far and above what your peers will, even if they’re also at the top of their own classes.

Register with the LSDAS (Law School Data Assembly Service)

This company builds reports about its registered students, including test scores, recommendations, and transcripts, and sends it to law schools you choose. It’s required for almost every top law school approved by the American Bar Association (ABA), and it’s also a good choice for schools that don’t have it as a requirement.

Apply early

Timing matters. While most schools that have rolling admissions will insist that everyone has an equal shot no matter when they applying to law schools, the reality is that many schools start making decisions and filling up their classes the moment the first applications hit their desks. That means that the later you apply, the smaller the list of available slots will be. To maximize your chances of getting in, apply to law school by November of the year before you want to enter.

It’s not easy to get into a top law school. But they’ve got to let some students in—and one of them might as well be you, right? Still, getting into top law schools requires very hard work, exceptional grades, and good timing. It also helps to earn your undergraduate degree at a prestigious college or university with a strong record of graduate admittance to exclusive law schools. The earlier you start planning, the better your chances of getting into a top law school.




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