If I Could Apply to Law School Again

When I first started college, I declared a political science major with no post-graduation career plans besides a general desire to get some sort of postgraduate education. I loved politics, loved the research, loved the professors and didn’t care about much else. However, at the close of each semester, the uncertainty of my future career resurfaced and I Googled “political science careers” over and over. I had a phase where I was convinced I’d work in Washington, D.C., then a phase when I wanted to get my Master’s in security studies and numerous other ideas.

I finally decided to get serious about applying to law school during the COVID-19 shutdown. With my increased free time, I started doing more and more research about which law schools I wanted to apply to, which programs would be a good fit for me and what applications materials I would need. 

This week, I finally submitted all of my law school applications, and I felt the weight lift off my shoulders. While I can’t guarantee that my advice will guarantee admission into law school (I’m going to have to wait until the spring to know), here’s what I would do differently if I could apply again.

More than anything, I would tell myself at the very beginning of the process to take the advice of others with a grain of salt. I had well-wishing friends and family make all sorts of comments, like, “I could NEVER go to law school,” “Wow, are you ready to take on all those loans?” or “Why wouldn’t you just keep working at the nonprofit?” Each of these made me question if I was on the right path. The time that I lost questioning my intentions and feeling unsure could have been used for studying harder and researching more programs. 

When it comes to studying, I’d tell myself to make a better study plan for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). I am generally a good test-taker, so I thought the LSAT would be fine. However, I stand by my statement that the LSAT was the most difficult test I’ve ever taken, more so than the final worth 50% of my course grade or the SAT test that could get me a full-ride scholarship. While I don’t think I would ever pay for the $1200 prep courses or individual tutoring, I would have taken a practice test much earlier than I did and established a more comprehensive way to change how I thought about the questions, the test-taking skills and the method of thinking that would lead to success. 

Finally, I would tell myself that applying to law school is an expensive, bureaucratic process that requires a ton of patience and saving. Every step of the process is a form, a signature, and most importantly, a payment. Every call to the Law School Admission Council will take 45 minutes, regardless of what time of day it is (they are ALWAYS “experiencing high call volumes”), every law school will have a fee to apply, yet also will have a readily available fee waiver if you send an email, and every action on your application portal is protected by a paywall. However, even if it is all a racket, it’s a racket that everyone goes through, so there’s no reason to be stressed about it. 

Even though I can clearly outline how I would change my application process, I still don’t think I’d actually apply again. I think my application shows who I am as a student, person and future lawyer. While my advice can’t change my outcomes, maybe it will help others in the process of applying to law school or considering postgraduate study. If you are considering taking a postgrad path similar to mine, know that being confident in yourself and your abilities is absolutely necessary for success, so go out and show the world who you are and what you can do. I know you’ve got this.