The Law School Admission Game

When is delaying your application to law school a good idea?

Today I received an email from one of my higher-scoring students in my San Francisco class and she has a very valid question on delaying her application to law school. She has just received a job offer from a company in her industry that she'd love to work for, but taking the job means less time to study and possibly not being ready to take the November LSAT.

LSAC Law School Recruitment Forums: Ten DOs and DON'Ts

The LSAC Bay Area Law School Recruitment Forum is coming up on Saturday, June 29 (register online... you can't just show up). Last year when I was in your shoes, I emailed Nathan and was like... “WTF am I supposed to do at this thing?!” If that's you right now, I'm here to help.

It's at the Marriott in Oakland, and you can park at a nearby lot for about $10 cash. Once inside, go to the “Registration” area, get your super cool LSAC tote bag, and you're off! You'll spend most of your time in a huge room with tables from different schools. Stand in line for the tables you're interested in, talk to Admissions Staff, and ask questions. This room is open from 9am - 4pm. There are also workshops you can attend, at scheduled times in scheduled rooms. I found a few of the workshops interesting, others not so much.

Having attending this forum and other recruiting events (e.g. UC Berkeley Law School Fair), I compiled a list of Ten DO's & DON'Ts that I hope will be helpful.

Here goes:

1. DO read Ann Levine's book, if you haven't already done so.

I think her book should actually be titled, The Law School Admissions Bible, because it was my most sacred and authoritative guide at every step. She never led me wrong or wasted my time. There's a section about law school recruitment events. Read it!

2. DO dress professionally.

The Admissions Staff you meet at a law school fair include people who will be reading your application and deciding where you fit in their applicant pool. They may or may not remember if you wore cut-off shorts with a tank top and flip-flops, but it's better to play it safe. A suit isn't necessary, but slacks with a nice shirt and closed-toed shoes is a good bet.

3. DO introduce yourself.

“Hi, my name is _____________ and I'm applying for Fall 2014,” and shake their hand.

“I have a question about _________.”

Make sure you have those blanks filled in before you approach a table.

4. DON'T ask stupid questions.

There is absolutely such a thing as a stupid question. Anything about LSAT or GPA averages, application due dates, tuition, etc... don't ask them. All this information is readily available online, and also probably listed in a brochure on the table. You will sound like someone who hasn't done their homework (see #6) and isn't serious about law school. Speaking of those brochures, that brings me to #5.

5. DON'T take all the glossy ish.

Law schools have websites. If you can think of a use for these print materials, please let me know.

6. DO do your homework.

Haha, I said do do. But seriously, come prepared. Look at the workshop schedule and decide which you plan to go to. Make a list of schools you're interested in. Have their LSAT, GPA, tuition, dates, etc. figures already printed out. When you go to a school's table, be ready with good questions. Write down answers that seem useful.

7. DO ask good questions.

Ask about things you can't otherwise find online, and that you're actually interested in. Here are a few I used:

  • Did you go to law school? Where did you go? Where else were you considering? What made you choose that school?
  • How did you finance law school? Were scholarships a high priority for you?
  • What approximate percent of your 1Ls are on scholarship over 50%?  How many 2Ls or 3Ls retain their scholarships? What is the average LSAT score of a student who received a Dean's Merit Scholarship (meaning a LOT of money)?
  • How substantially have your applications decreased over the last few years? What changes have you noticed in the applicant pool?

Nathan encouraged me to ask more hard-hitting questions, like these:

  • How much of the graduating class is hired through On-Campus Interviews (OCIs)?
  • Is law school a terrible investment, given the current job climate?
  • Could you provide me with a recent alum's contact info so I can ask about their experiences finding employment?
  • Do you have an alumni in ________ field of law I could be put into contact with?

8. DO eavesdrop.

While you're in line, listen to the rep talk to the person in front of you and pay attention to the topics they're discussing. They might bring up good points you didn't think of, or answer questions you already had.

9. DON'T sell yourself short.

I didn't think I would be competitive at schools like Stanford and Harvard, and I wish I would have at the very least visited their tables. Dream big!

10. DO ask for fee waivers.

I wouldn't open up conversation with, “hey, can I have one of them fee waivers?!” But after chatting for a few minutes, it doesn't hurt to ask. The reps expect you to ask. Many schools have them pre-printed and are just waiting to give them out.

 In summary, do your homework, be professional, ask good questions (see #7), and get some fee waivers.  And remember this (something Nathan told me),

“Don't be rude, but remember that one primary role of an admissions rep is to sell. Their job is to get you to apply to their school, so they are selling you a veryexpensive product. If they want a shot at your $150,000 tuition, they should be more than willing to answer all of your questions. If not, screw 'em... there are hundreds of schools out there. Be polite by all means, but definitely don't be shy.”

I hope this info is helpful. If you have any questions about law school fairs (e.g. which workshops I liked/disliked), email me! (banks.LSAT@gmail.com)

- Annie

About the Author:

Hi! My name is Annie. I started studying for the October 2012 LSAT in mid-July of the same year. I started as many of us did: my first score was a 152, I only wanted to apply to top-ranked schools in California, and my dream was to get a big scholarship.

On the October LSAT, I got a 163, which was lower than I'd been averaging, and Nathan encouraged me to take the test again. Thankfully, I was fully drinking the Fox Test Prep Kool-Aid by then, and I followed his advice. I ended up with a 174 on the December 2012 LSAT, and applied to over 30 schools across the country, ranging from unranked “regional” law schools to Top-20's. I negotiated a scholarship at my dream school, UCLA, and I start in the Fall.

I moved to Los Angeles earlier this summer and I'm spending my time doing LSAT tutoring, trying to share what I learned from Fox Test Prep. Since you're reading Nathan's blog, you're already on a good path to law school. If you have any questions regarding the law school application process, or are interested in tutoring, please feel free to email me at banks.LSAT@gmail.com.

Winning "The Law School Admission Game"

Two years ago, I wrote a gushing review of Ann Levine's fantastic little book "The Law School Admission Game." A couple days ago I updated that review, because Ann updated her book. It's even better this time around, and I'm not just saying that because I'm quoted in the book. Here's what I said on Amazon:

For two years, I've been giving the 2009 version of The Law School Admission Game: Play Like an Expert to each one of my LSAT students. The law school application process is bewildering for a novice. This book saves my students a ton of time and headache so that they can focus their energy on the all-important LSAT.

Questions answered by this book: --What should I write my personal statement about? How long should it be? Are any topics off-limits? --Who should write my letters of recommendation? How many should I have? --What's a diversity statement, and should I write one? Is it different from the personal statement? --I have bad grades or a bad LSAT score, do I still have a chance to get in to law school? --I have a campus disciplinary matter (or arrest) on my record. What do I do now? --Where should I apply? When should I apply?

Ann really is the expert; she used to make admissions decisions at two law schools. And she delivers her expertise in a friendly, accessible way. This book isn't going to bore you or stress you out. It's just going to give you the information you need, quickly and concisely, so that you can start checking off the boxes and get yourself into law school.

I didn't think the older version was out of date, but I'm thrilled that Ann has updated the book and added 57 more pages of goodness. This version contains new information on the LSAC's online application procedures, a short update about "evaluations" (law schools aren't using them!) and an expanded section on LSAT prep.

Law school is a three-year investment that could leave you with $200,000 in debt. Don't take it lightly! A strong application will get you into better schools, and could lead to full ride scholarship offers. Your competition is already reading this book... you should too.

I have a limited amount of (autographed!) copies available. Drop me a line if you want one!