Photo looking down at the word caution spray painted on the pavement.

Photo by Goh Rhy Yan on Unsplash

What Not to do When Applying to Law School

Published June 17, 2019

You’ve made good grades, participated in co-curriculars, and are now ready to take the next step by submitting your application to law school. Make the most of the process and help your law school application stand out by avoiding these five common law school application mistakes.

1. Waiting Until the Last Minute

Give yourself enough time and energy to complete every aspect of the application to the best of your ability. The most time-consuming application components are the personal statement, requesting and preparing faculty and/or supervisors for recommendation letters, and studying for the LSAT or GRE.

In your personal statement, really take the time to write a draft or two, then have a trusted friend review your work and, preferably, have a Pre-Law advisor or career counselor proofread and provide feedback. Prepare yourself for constructive feedback and several revisions.  

In order to have your recommenders viewing you in the best light, make sure you give them plenty of time to write their letter in the midst of their busy schedules.

And finally, do not underestimate the time needed for LSAT or GRE prep—read more about that in #4.

2. Not Taking Advantage of Addenda

A blemish on your application may not be an automatic rejection—so how do you ensure that you have the best odds despite a weak grade (or semester) and/or sub-par test score? Include an addendum to provide further clarification. Put yourself in the shoes of an admissions representative—what about your application might be cause for concern? Did you not do so hot in your first semester of college? Did you take five years off between sophomore and junior year? Were you a no-show to the first LSAT you registered for? An addendum is a great opportunity to bring these events into context for the admissions committee.

3. Discounting Non-Legal Work Experience

Having law-related shadowing, internships, and work experience are always a welcome sight on law school applications. But, there are many ways to demonstrate your potential for success in a resume. Some candidates find their passion for law in their volunteer experience, in other areas of work experience, such as corporate internships or non-profit work, or in their student leadership experience. Any and all work experience can be valuable, so don’t sell yourself short by leaving it off of your resume.

Not sure where to start? Review our 7 Law School Resume Templates & Examples.  

4. Going into the LSAT or GRE Unprepared

Along the lines of #1, a great deal of time and thought is needed to adequately prepare for the LSAT or GRE. Prep books and courses are a good start, but there are also many non-traditional ways to prepare. If you’re a freshman or sophomore in college, meet with your institution’s Pre-Law advisor about undergraduate courses that will meet one of your graduation requirements and help you prepare for the LSAT or GRE—philosophy courses such as logic, writing-intensive courses, and microeconomics are a few examples that can help prepare you for the LSAT and law school. Some colleges and universities even offer LSAT prep classes for academic, or non-credit prep workshops for a small fee. Think about how you learn best and start studying in a way that will bring you the most success!

Find info on University at Buffalo School of Law’s LSAT Prep events.

5. Lack of Interest

If you have a top choice school, be sure to sign up for their mailing and/or email subscriptions. Look for law school fairs in your area and meet with admissions representatives there. Law school admissions representatives may even visit your school or workplace for an information presentation—be sure to stop by and give the rep your information. Visit the school before you apply! If the school has an optional essay, take advantage of the opportunity to make your interest known and submit the optional essay. Admission Committees want to make sure you’re both academically qualified and a good fit for their program. 

Learn about University at Buffalo School of Law's open house events and visit opporutnities.

Photo of Mara Greiner.

Guest blogger Mara Greiner is the Interim Marketing and Recruitment Coordinator for the School of Law. 


Office of Admissions
University at Buffalo School of Law
309 O'Brian Hall, Buffalo, NY 14260