Applying to law school, just like applying for any other graduate program, is a flurry of activity on your part. You’ll find yourself completing the application, supplying transcripts, personal statements, letters of recommendation, and taking the LSAT scores. Likely you’ll apply to several law programs, and it may help you to apply early for your most desired schools, so that you can continue to apply to schools if you are not accepted. Getting accepted into a law school, however, can be different than for other graduate programs.
LSAT and UGPA
Unlike many other graduate programs, it is quite possible that your fate at a particular school will be decided by only two parts of your application. Those two parts are your LSAT scores and your UGPA.
The LSAT is a standardized test that almost every law school requires for admission. It is highly recommended that you spend some time preparing for the LSAT test. You may want to enroll in a prep course or take practice tests. Your score can be a very important determining factor for being accepted in to your preferred law school. The more you prepare, the less you leave to chance.
UGPA is a fancy acronym for your “Undergraduate Grade Point Average.” Often, during the initial screening of applicants, these two items are combined to give an index score, and candidates with certain index scores are granted admission to the school. Many times, however, there are not enough students who meet the index score requirements to fill all of the slots available for new students.
It is at this point that other information provided in the application and your personal circumstances are examined. This can be looking through your personal statement, letters of recommendation as well as other items that were included on your application.
Personal Statement and Letters of Recommendation
If you weren’t one of the first-choice candidates whose index score fell within the desired range, then your personal statement and letters of recommendation could very well be the deciding factor on admission into the school. Because of this, it is important to give a lot of thought into your personal statement and who you have write letters of recommendation for you.
Your personal statement can provide subjective information about you that is not easy to glean from your application. It provides context for all of the numbers, grades and scores that make up your academic record and admissions tests. A well-written personal statement can shed light on your reasons for wanting to attend law school, what you plan to do with your degree, and how it is you came to this particular path.
Letters of recommendation, much like the personal statement, can also tell a school more about you. Some thought should be given regarding who you’d like to ask to provide a letter of recommendation. It helps to have letters from people who can vouch for your academic rigor and drive, tell the school about your work ethic or your volunteer activities.