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How Law Admissions Are Determined

By Peterson's Staff updated on Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The two most important items in your law school application are your undergraduate GPA and your LSAT score — these are part of the law school requirements for every applicant. Every law school has its own unique formula for weighting these two items and coming up with an index score.

In most cases, the Law School Data Assembly Service calculates these scores and sends them to the law schools you've requested. You can also get these scores yourself if you request them.

Index scores in law admissions

Initially, your index scores are the most crucial items in your law school application because many schools have a score break at which you are either presumptively admitted or rejected. (And except for very unusual situations, it is very difficult to dig yourself out of the automatic rejection pile.) However, the number of applications that meet the score that automatically guarantees law school admission doesn't usually add up to enough students to fill all of the available slots.

Subsequently, most law admissions decisions are made by considering further information in the applications. The difficulty of your course work, your undergraduate institution, the loads you carried, full-time work during school, letters of recommendation, your life experience, charitable work, and other items may affect their decisions. Sometimes, admission officers will go through your application with a fine-toothed comb, and other times, they may just stick with the numbers.

Reaching a consensus on law school admissions

Most of your applications (if not all of them) will probably be evaluated by several people who together will assign a collective grade to your application. Often, it is this grade that decides your fate.

The law school admission interview

On occasion, a law school may request a personal interview as part of the law school admissions process, although there are many schools that don't conduct them. If you're invited to interview at a school that you are very interested in, go for it! If you're broke and can't pay for a trip, don't be bashful — tell the school you can't afford to make a trip at the moment but that you would be willing to accept any help in this regard. The school may not be able to offer you a ride out there, but at least they'll know you declined the interview for reasons other than having a negative opinion of the school.

Keep in mind that an interview can be a double-edged sword, though. Make sure your interview skills are polished and dress appropriately. If you have any questions or just need to have your qualms set aside, your career counseling office should be able to help you with preparing for a law school interview.

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