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Do’s and Don’ts of the Law School Application Process

Published July 17, 2017

Law school admissions officers interact with prospective law students on a daily basis throughout the calendar year. Admissions officers serve to inform those interested in law school and to help them navigate the application process. 

Their goal is to help you! Communicating with prospective students through three admissions cycles, managing the general admissions account of UB School of Law, and recruiting have all given me a wide range of interactions with prospective students and my advice to future prospective students is below. It is not a comprehensive list but one that should offer well-rounded information and a good basis to form decisions on.

Do: Initiate contact with the admissions office

If you haven’t applied to the law school yet, you can introduce yourself to the admissions office via email or phone. It is beneficial to get a tour of the school or set up a meeting with someone in admissions if the law school offers it. However, do not show up without an appointment or without notice. Prior to meeting with someone or calling in, do your research online and ask informed questions. Most schools receive several hundreds to thousands of applications so it is reasonable to introduce yourself and articulate your interest in the law school. 

Do: Be formal in all communication

You don’t get a second chance at a first impression. If you are sending an email, from subject line to signature, make sure you are using the proper tone when communicating with a law school. The goal of any admissions office is to answer questions you have, within reason. Making sure you provide enough information about yourself and what you are asking will make sure you get the answers you are looking for. Keep in mind that law school is a professional program and it is better to err on the side of too formal than not formal enough. Before you start asking questions, make sure you review the website or any online materials they have. Chances are, you can answer your basic questions in a few clicks. 

Do: Give yourself time to complete the application

Attending law school should be a well-thought-out decision that weighs your future career goals as well as the financial obligations. It is not a decision to be taken lightly. With that being said, give yourself time! A high LSAT score can easily translate into more scholarship dollars for you upon admission. Therefore, give yourself enough time to prepare and study. Another part of your application that may take longer than expected are your letters of recommendation. Give your recommenders ample time to work on them and to send them in. An often overlooked time-consuming process is requesting undergraduate transcripts. Transcripts from every institution attended are required for law school applications, including any certificates, community college coursework, etc. These sometimes can take longer than expected to get submitted. Above all, giving yourself time to prepare for the LSAT and to work on the application will cause less stress.

Don'ts:

Don’t be rude when communicating with the admissions office.

Don’t show up without warning or an appointment.

Don’t ask to speak to different people in the office with the same questions. Most admissions offices are small and it is unlikely that different people in the office will give you conflicting information.  

Don’t give too much or too little information for the admissions office to be able to help you. Give the admissions office enough information to be able to help you. Too little information will result in them not knowing what you are asking and too much information is just not necessary to get you the information you need.

Don’t email or call too much. Unless you have a specific reason and are dealing directly with someone who is helping you with a problem or an issue, you should not be emailing or calling everyday or more than once a week.

Don’t rush your application.

Don’t ask for a letter of recommendation from someone who doesn’t know you well or can’t speak to your actual ability.

Don’t submit an application without reviewing. Read the directions and check for grammar and typos!

Don’t leave out important information in your application, good or bad! 

Don’t close the door on yourself! Although the application process can be daunting, keep a positive attitude and don't be afraid to ask questions.

Amber Melvin, Esq.'13 is the Marketing and Recruitmet Coordinator in the Office of Admissions at UB School of Law.

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