Law School FAQs

How do I pick a law school?

Picking a law school is one of the most important decisions you will make in your law school career. There are multiple factors in play. You should start with the end in mind. Think about the type of job that you want, how much student debt that you are willing to take on, and then work backwards from there. Check some further reading about the 9 critical things you must know about getting into your dream law school.

When should I apply?

According to the Law School Admissions Council, you should apply after you have taken the LSAT and your scores become available. Ann K. Levine, an authority on law school admissions has written on the subject and stated that most schools set deadlines between February 1, and June 1, taking students on a rolling admissions basis.  You can read more here, or see her newly revised book.

How many law schools should I apply to?

Your plan of action for the number of application will vary based upon your GPA and LSAT. Estimate that you will likely apply to between 10-15 schools. These schools should include your safety schools (schools you know you are likely to get into because you are well above their average GPA/LSAT, Target schools, which are right at their entrance requirements, and Reach schools (those you are below their average score, but wanting to take a risk on).

To see how you line up on entrance requirements, you can see the latest average GPA/LSAT requirements here for all ABA accredited schools (GPA, LSAT)

What are the LSAT requirements for ------- school?

LSAT requirements vary between schools, and are not publicly shared. Rather, at the end of each year the American Bar Association gathers statistics on each school so you can see the average LSAT that was accepted at each of the schools. Check out our tool that includes a listing of all schools by LSAT distribution.

What are the GPA requirements for law school?

LSAT requirements vary between schools, and are not publicly shared. Rather, at the end of each year the American Bar Association gathers statistics on each school so you can see the average GPA that was accepted at each of the schools. Check out our tool that includes a listing of all schools by GPA entrance statistics.

How much does law school cost?

Law school costs vary wildly and a variety of factors come into play. Across all 203 ABA accredited schools The average law school full time program costs $36,193 (costs have historically risen 2.4% each year). However, when considering law school think about the following:

  • Will you be taking the full time or part time?
  • Do you qualify for any law school scholarships/grants?
  • Will you be taking summer classes?
  • Will you be a resident of the state (Some law schools have cheaper tuition for those that already live in the state).

Note that this takes into account just the cost of tuition, books & supplies. It does not take into account annual living expenses, which averages $21,502/year. So, assuming tuition costs continue to rise at the same rate, and you live off campus, you can expect to pay $176,569 across 3-years. For a breakdown by school, check out our Law School Tuition Costs tracker.

What is the average law school scholarship?

The average scholarship in law school is $16,267/year. If you want to see a breakout of scholarship information by school, you can check out LawSchoolHQ’s Scholarship Tracker, which provides a breakout of how the scholarship’s population has changed over time and more.

How do I know if I will qualify for a scholarship?

There is no hard and fast rule for qualifying for a scholarship. Schools take into consideration a variety of factors when deciding whether to offer a scholarship. The best way to look at it, is a school will offer a scholarship in order to incentivize you into attending their school. What you can do to increase your chances of getting a scholarship is by having the highest GPA and LSAT score available. For further reading on maximizing your LSAT score, check out our top tips.

Should I negotiate for a scholarship?

Take a look at yourself. Do you have a really good GPA/LSAT that is above the norm for that school? Do you have some unique qualification that makes you a prized commodity for the law school to have? Remember, a Law School is looking to acquire the best and brightest students, if you graduate and are successful in the legal industry, you become a good reflection on the school, and in turn the school’s ranking goes up. For further reading on how to negotiate a law school scholarship, check out Law School Advice’s article on the subject.

Can I lose my scholarship?

If the scholarship is offered by the school then in most cases yes. Most law schools offer what is called a “Conditional Scholarship” requiring that you maintain a certain GPA in order to retain your scholarship.

What is the Average Debt a Law Student Graduates With?

According to authority site, Law School Transparency, the average debt a student graduates with is $118,741. This is roughly 4x the average undergraduate student loan holder of $30,100/borrower. Prior to accepting a law school’s offer, you should make sure you do your due diligence on mapping out how much debt you will graduate with after law school. To see how much schools cost, and whether they are likely to increase tuition, check out our Law School Tuition Costs Tracker.

Should I retake the LSAT?

On average, people who retake the LSAT do score marginally higher than the first time. The temptation is definitely there in many cases. However, you do not get the full benefit of your new score. Once you’ve taken the LSAT, law schools average your LSAT score, especially if you do only marginally better. However, if you show drastic improvement (or decline) that may be taken separately into consideration.

What should I do if I have a low GPA?

Having a low GPA is not the end of the world. Your GPA is just one factor as part of your overall application. However, having a low GPA can impact your ability to getting into the higher tier. It is harder to come back from a low GPA, however, if you do have one, you can focus on getting a very high LSAT score, along with a strong application and personal statement to make up for it.

What should I do if I have a low LSAT score?

If you have a low LSAT score, there are a few ways to overcome it. First, you always have the option to retake the exam (make sure you use all resources available and study hard). If you take it a second time, and score significantly higher, it can demonstrate that the first score was a fluke. However, law school admissions will average your scores together.

The second thing you can do to overcome a low LSAT score is to develop a strong personal statement, with letters of recommendations, and focus on your GPA.

What should I include in my personal statement?

Your personal statement is extremely important for your law school application. It gives you a really good opportunity to highlight your writing ability (Georgetown law lets you know to think about it as a paper interview). Here’s some additional things:

  • Keep it short and simple stupid (KISS)
  • Include items that set you apart
  • Tell the truth
  • Show your passion through picking a narrow topic about yourself

For examples of well written personal statements, check out University of Chicago, school of law’s article on the subject (Tammy Wang’s piece is especially well written and shows what law school admissions is looking for).

Should I use a prelaw counselor?

Most undergraduate universities offer academic advisors, who can help you come up with a list of law schools to apply to, offer advice on your application and personal statement, etc. If you are looking for more specialized assistance there are a lot of consulting companies that can help you maximize your chances. Some Deans of admissions have pulled back the curtain on some of their thoughts on pre-law consultants, so check it out.

What books should I read to take the LSAT?

Read the books that are included in your LSAT preparation course first of all. If you are looking for books to supplement your studies, then check out the official LSAT books by the Law School Admissions Council (The same people who craft the test).

How do I get good letters of recommendation?

Letters of recommendation are often used to add an additional dimension to a person’s application. It can be used to assist. According to U.S. News, here are the top 5 ways to get standout letters of recommendation:

  • Make sure the letters will be positive
  • Choose quality over quantity
  • Build a relationship with potential references
  • Get recommendations early
  • Select references who can speak about specific qualities

For more reading on the subject, check out U.S. News’ article 5 Ways to get Standout Law School Recommendations.

How much does an LSAT prep course cost?

LSAT Preparation courses can vary quite wildly in costs. They can go from a few hundred dollars, to well over several thousand. It depends on a variety of factors including whether or not you want private tutoring. For help figuring out how to pick the best course, check out our guide to picking the right LSAT course.

If you are needing to save money, there are also a variety of self-study courses, which are found on Amazon. You can check them out here.

When should I start studying for the LSAT?

The LSAT takes place three times each year. You can anticipate spending approximately 150 – 200 hours preparing for the LSAT. This most often equates to spending 2-3 months studying for the exam.

Should I take out a loan for law school?

Given the cost of Law school being $36,193/year, the clear majority of students take out loans to pay for law school. The first thing you should do if you are thinking about law school, is examine your current GPA and LSAT scores. Then see how it compares to the schools you are thinking of applying to. You may be eligible for a partial or full scholarship.

Should I negotiate with my school for a scholarship?

Schools offer scholarships as a way to help get students in, who will benefit the school in some way. In offering a scholarship, they look at your law school application and total package (this is why it is important to do so well on the LSAT, and with your UGPA). It never hurts to ask.

What does being placed on waitlist mean?

Just because a school sends out an offer to an applicant, doesn’t mean that applicant will accept. After offer letters are sent out, there is jockeying amongst applicants to then pick the best school they received an offer from. Being waitlisted is when the school has made a decision on your application not to admit you, but they are holding their application to see if they will have a spot open up, once all other applicants in front of you have made a decision.

What are my chances on getting into a T14 school?

Getting into a T14 school is highly competitive. They often only accept the brightest, with the highest grades. As you can imagine, they also receive the highest amount of applicants each year. You can find out your chances of getting into the school by checking out a website called http://www.hourumd.com/ which uses older data, but can help you figure out your chances.

What should I do if I was convicted of a felony?

Don’t lie. First, make sure you read the question they are asking for, and ensure it applies to your situation. Then, when answering, make sure you are answering truthfully, but at the same time, not going overboard. For more reading, check out Anna Ivey’s post on dealing with your past criminal issues.

How many students take the LSAT each year?

While there are no official numbers about how many individuals take the LSAT each year (because the same individual might take it 2-3 times), the best.

What are the best LSAT prep courses?

There is no single “Best” prep course, but there is most definitely a prep course for you. You can see some of the best courses around, from which to choose from. You can also check out our guide to picking the right course.

Should I have a private tutor for the LSAT?

Private Tutors can offer that specialized assistance you need to bring your LSAT scores up to snuff, however, private tutors can also be expensive. They often cost up to several thousand dollars. These may be purchased with the big box prep courses. For further reading, check out LSAT Blog’s post on the subject.

How are the sections of my law school application weighted?

There is no hard or fast rule about how your LSAT, UGPA, Personal statement, letters of recommendation, or physical application are weighted. However, Stratus Admissions Counseling has weighed in on the subject. The LSAT score is the primary factor when considering applications, closely followed by your UGPA. The other portions of your application will generally come in to provide additional insight into your overall application package.