Top Ten Mistakes that Law School Applicants Make: #10

Classroom-ask-for-helpThis post kicks off a 10-part series of posts on the Top Ten Mistakes That Law School Applicants Make.

I’ve been teaching this popular workshop at universities for years, but since many of you aren’t able to attend in person, I wanted to share my top ten tips with you through my blog. We’re going to start with the 10th most common mistake and move our way up.

Now, this mistake makes me very sad because it causes suffering and bad applications from thousands of prelaw students every year.

The #10 Top Ten Mistake That Law School Applicants Make every year is…
THEY DON’T ASK FOR HELP.

They try to apply to law schools on their own. This is a HUGE mistake.

Why?

Because you don’t have the time or energy to keep up with all the latest law school application tips and procedures. You’re too busy going to school, studying, working, interning, volunteering, and living your life.

Don’t go through this complex and stressful process by yourself. Get help!

The good news is it’s easy to get help these days. It’s not like the old days. When I was applying to graduate schools back in 1993 (hello, I’m old), the only places I could turn to for application advice was the library and calling or writing to people. I know this will sound archaic to you, but yes, I actually had to get up and go to the library to read application books or pick up the phone or write a letter to get information. Amazon did not exist. Email was not common. The World Wide Web was practically non-existent.

Aren’t you glad you’re a law school applicant right now? You have so many prelaw resources right at your fingertips!

Where can you turn to for help?

  1. Prelaw advisers at your college or university: most schools have one adviser and larger schools often have two or three. Check your school’s academic advising site or career services site to find out how to meet with a prelaw adviser. Also, these advisers often meet with alumni too; so even if you’ve graduated, you can still meet with them. Use them. They are there to help you. (Don’t have a prelaw adviser? Then follow Diane Curtis, the amazing Director of Prelaw Advising at U Mass Amherst, and read her helpful articles here.)
  2. Law school admissions officers: the most underutilized prelaw resource in my opinion! If you have specific law schools in mind that you want to apply to, thoroughly read the admissions sites for each school, then sign up for their mailing list, and follow them on Twitter. You can then tweet, email, or call the admissions officers with questions that aren’t answered on their site. You can also meet them and ask questions at local law fairs and forums. Use them. They are there to help you. (Want application tips straight from admissions deans? Check out AdmissionsDean.com and their interviews with law school admissions deans here. )
  3. Law school admissions experts: valuable, online resources right at your fingertips! When I started doing prelaw advising at the University of Washington in 2004, there weren’t many good online resources. Over the last 12 years, things have changed 180 degrees! Now, you can find many great online sources for prelaw information, answers, and advice. Here are some of the folks that I follow: PowerScore LSAT, Dave Killoran, LawSchooli.com, Most Strongly Supported LSAT Blog, Ms. JD, and UMass Amherst Prelaw. (Want to find more prelaw resources? Check out my prelaw Twitter list.)
  4. Peg Cheng the Prelaw Guru: it goes without saying that you should follow me @prelawguru. If you have any prelaw questions, tweet or DM me, or post your questions on any of my blog posts and I’ll respond. I’m here to help.

Applying to law school can be complex and stressful. Again, don’t do this alone. Ask for help and the process will be less stressful, more straightforward, and maybe even fun.

Photo Credit: fiu via Compfight cc

4 thoughts on “Top Ten Mistakes that Law School Applicants Make: #10

  1. I took the LSAT in February for the first time, which I know placed me slightly behind in the application process. However, I applied to seven schools and have gotten a response from one thus far, the University of Florida. I was admitted and offered a scholarship, and have until this Friday (4/15) to submit my deposit. I had been planning on sending in my deposit while waiting on the response from other schools until I was sent an enrollment form from UF that stated “Please note that by signing your Enrollment Form, you certify that you have withdrawn from all of the law schools to which you have been admitted.”

    While technically I haven’t been admitted to other law schools at this point, my scores dictate that I should be admitted to at least some of the other schools, and I don’t want to a) offend admissions at Florida by submitting the form then withdrawing if I do receive a better offer or b) accept the offer at UF without even hearing back from any other school. I’ve also learned that other schools would find out that I’ve submitted a deposit if I do, and I don’t want that to negatively affect my chances at those schools.

    • Thanks for your detailed and well-worded question, Brady! First, CONGRATS on being admitted to U of FL this late in the game and with a scholarship. That’s awesome. Second, I’d be cautious too after reading that enrollment form saying you have to withdraw from all other law schools.

      Here’s what I’d do. I’d email U of FL and let them know you’re thrilled about being admitted and receiving a scholarship, but that you were wondering if you could get an extension on your deposit until May 1? Let them know that you’re very interested in U of FL but since you applied later in the cycle, you’re still waiting to hear from other schools and want to make an informed decision before putting down a deposit.

      Some schools will be cool about giving you an extension and May 1 is not an unreasonable time. In the meantime, if there are one or two other top choice schools for you that you’re quite sure you have a good chance of getting into (from your GPA and LSAT score), I’d email or call them and find out if they will be admitting any more students before May 1. If one of these schools is your #1 choice, you should tell them that.

      Yes, after May 1, law schools will have access to a report from LSAC that shows where you put down a deposit so the more schools you hear from BEFORE May 1, so you can make your decision by then, the better. Good luck, Brady!

      • Thank you SO MUCH for the quick response! I will follow up with U of F immediately, and follow up with you if I run into another conundrum. Thanks again!

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