By: Alida Miranda-Wolff
Disclaimer: None of the resources listed here guarantee actual outcomes, but only predict the likelihood of acceptance.
October LSAT scores have been released, early decision deadlines are fast approaching, and application fee waivers are waiting to be claimed. There are hundreds of law schools to choose from, and deciding where to apply can be almost as difficult as actually applying. The key word there is almost. As obvious as it sounds, applying to law school is not easy, so instead of submitting fifteen, twenty, or even thirty law school applications, take the time to really look at yourself and your numbers. By assessing which schools will likely accept you and which schools will not, you can save time, energy, and money, and hopefully, avoid disappointment.
The best place to start when looking at your own law school profile is the LSAC Board. Official Guide allows you to enter your LSAT score and Undergraduate GPA to view your likelihood of admission in percentages. For example, if you score a 167 on the LSAT and have a 3.87 GPA, you have between a 41% and 52% chance of acceptance at UCLA Law School.
Official Guide also allows you to narrow your search by region. If you only want to see your admissions chances in the state of California, simply click on the state icon on the Official Guide map, and your results will appear in a matter of seconds.
Of course, as much as your LSAT score and Undergraduate GPA matter, law schools also look at other factors. Law School Predictor takes into account other parts of your application like underrepresented minority status (URM), state residency, and whether you are applying binding early decision. Instead of laying out the likelihood of acceptance in percentages, Law School Predictor uses verbal labels. If you receive a 170 on the LSAT, have a 3.40 GPA, are an underrepresented minority, and are not applying binding early decision, you have a strong chance of admission at Northwestern Law School but a weak chance at the University of Chicago Law School.
Still, Law School Predictor, like Official Guide, is a calculator, and does not give real life examples of those accepted and rejected into law school. Law School Numbers, a social networking site for prospective law students, does just that. You can browse users, narrowing your search to select those with profiles most similar to yours, and see where they are applying or have applied, where they were accepted, rejected, or wait-listed, if they have received financial aid, and if so, how much.
You can also search by school, which is especially useful if you are undecided on whether to apply to a particular law school because you are not sure if you match its standard student profile. For the 2011/2012 cycle, dozens of Law School Numbers users were admitted to Georgetown Law. Their collective profiles are shown in columns, giving a user-friendly sense of what types of students Georgetown Law looked for last year.
Ultimately, the choice is yours where you decide to apply, and you should not avoid applying to your ideal law school just because Official Guide says you only have a 2%-12% chance of admission there. Every applicant is unique, and even though law schools set standards for their incoming classes, they do not adhere to those standards uniformly during the review process. Assessing your profile is key to limiting the number of applications you submit and managing your own expectations, but does not mandate that you dismiss your goals altogether. Remember, there’s nothing wrong with applying to “reach” schools, so long as you apply to “safety” schools too.
Alida Miranda-Wolff is a third-year in the College majoring in Law, Letters, and Society and English.