How to Become a Lawyer: College to the Job Market (Part II)
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Law School Application Process
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Selecting a law school is very similar to the process of selecting the college you attended. Law schools will look at your entire application in determining whether or not they send you a letter of acceptance. However, the two most important criteria for being admitted to law school are your (1) LSAT score and (2) undergraduate GPA (some schools also have basic minority and/or out-of-state benchmarks they want to achieve). Most aspiring lawyers will apply to multiple law schools. The best way to do this is to break the list of law schools that you want to attend into three categories.

Category 1 should be your "dream list" of law schools. These are your absolute top choices, but there may be a good chance that you won’t get accepted to any of them. If you are completely set on going to one of the law schools on your "dream list" and you know your GPA and LSAT scores don’t make you competitive with what the school is looking for, then consider the possibility of taking the LSAT again. This may be an especially good option if you are only a few points away on your LSAT score from making yourself "competitive" for your "dream list" of law schools.

Category 2 should include the law schools where you would be "competitive" in the application process. By "competitive," we mean that your GPA and LSAT scores fall somewhere near the average for what students the law school has accepted in the past. For example, if The Ohio State Moritz College of Law has an average entering class GPA of 3.6 and LSAT score of 158, then your scores should be right around there. If your LSAT score is a little lower, then your GPA should be a little higher, and vice-versa. On the other hand, if your LSAT and GPA scores are both below the average then you may not be truly competitive for that school. But you can always apply in the hopes that your other credentials carry you through into acceptance.

Category 3 should include the law schools where you are nearly certain to be accepted. In other words, your LSAT and GPA scores should be above average relative to that school. If you have above-average scores, then you have a good chance of being accepted and maybe even receiving a scholarship. However, be aware that some law schools require you to maintain a certain GPA throughout law school to maintain your scholarship. The first year of law school is often said to be the most difficult and a high GPA in law school (such as 3.5) is usually much tougher to achieve than a high GPA in college.

Finally, if you don’t find yourself "competitive" with any law schools, do not despair. You can always still submit your application, and you only need one law school to accept you. Some law schools (especially lower-tiered law schools) place emphasis on different categories other than LSAT and GPA scores.

Next, we’ll explore what law school is all about.