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Law School Admissions Advice: Dealing with a Ding, Part II

Posted in Test Prep on May 25, 2011 by

This post comes to us from our friends at Clear Admit. For more expert law school admissions advice, check out their blog.

Now that law schools have released admissions decisions, as well as informed a number of waitlisted applicants of their fate, the 2010 – 2011 admissions season is coming to a close for the vast majority of law school aspirants. We’d like to offer our congratulations to all those who have gained admission to one of more of their target schools, and wish good luck to waitlisted applicants whose fate is presently a bit less certain. For all those who submitted their applications and received an unfavorable decision, we’d like to offer a few more tips that we hope will make the process of facing rejection as productive as possible:

1) Understand the odds and consider reapplying early next year. If you failed to gain admission to a school and applied close to the deadline, you should not give up hope or instantly assume that your profile contains some glaring weakness that will forever bar you from acceptance. Because law most law schools use rolling deadlines, there are relatively few spots in the incoming class are available by the time of deadlines, and thus it is always most difficult to get into a school at that point in the year. In many cases, an earlier application is all that you need to find success in the process.

2) Get feedback. In an ideal world, the schools to which you applied would give you feedback on your application.  While it’s not common and applicants shouldn’t expect to receive a response to a request for feedback, some admissions officers are happy to talk with unsuccessful applicants and give them advice on ways in which they could improve their candidacy.  In this case, you should keep in mind that your audience with the adcom will be brief – try to approach the meeting with pointed questions about your candidacy in order to ensure that the feedback session is as productive and informative as possible.  More accessible, though less informative, sources of feedback include pre-law advisors at your college or university, professors who have a law degree and colleagues who have been to law school. While this can be enlightening, you should also be careful about the feedback you collect on these fronts, since not all of it will be accurate (or consistent).  Finally, you might seek feedback from a law school admissions consulting firm.

3) Plan for a productive summer. Although it’s tempting to simply take a break from the admissions process after receiving a rejection letter, it is imperative that reapplicants use the spring and summer months to address the weaknesses in their profiles. In many cases, reapplicants need to retake the LSAT, increase involvement with outside activities or take on new responsibilities at work. All of these tasks take time and cannot be addressed in the fall when application forms and essays should be the priority. By being proactive about improving your candidacy now, you will put yourself in a much better position to apply next year.

Good luck from all of us at Clear Admit!