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What to do if you didn’t get into law school

If you want to apply again:



Alyssa Powell/Insider


Look at what might’ve caused the rejection. 

Before you begin, it’s important to ask yourself whether you’re still interested in attending law school if it isn’t at your initial target or dream school — you may be able to increase your chances simply by adjusting for other realistic selections, according to Petia Whitmore, Dean of Graduate Admissions at Babson College.

If you do want to try again, it’s a great idea to ask trusted professors — perhaps even the ones at the school you applied to — if they’re willing to give you some honest feedback, says John M. Lopes, Associate Provost and Dean of The Graduate School at Clemson University.

You can also consult the program’s class profile, according to Kari Calvario, Director of Masters Admissions at Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business, which, “while not a rubric for admission, can provide good insight into the academic and professional background of current students.”

Raise your LSAT score.

An efficient LSAT study plan takes about 1-3 months and balances the time spent on all three sections of the test, according to Glen Stohr, Kaplan’s Senior Manager for pre-law content. You’ll need to incorporate untimed practice (to master distinct skills), 35-minute section practice (to work on clock management and efficiency), and full-length test practice (to build stamina). 

Stohr also warns against two common mistakes. First, don’t cram. Instead, Stohr likens LSAT prep to learning how to play a musical instrument. You’ll get the basic principles down quickly, but it’s the practice that improves your performance. 

Second, don’t skimp on self-assessment — make sure to pause and reflect after a practice exam so you know where you need to improve and why. 

Lastly, if Logic Games (aka “analytical reasoning”) tripped you up, don’t worry — you’re not alone. Stohr says it is “without a doubt the most intimidating section,” but notes that, conveniently, it’s also the section on which students improve fastest with sustained practice. 

Look into work opportunities in legal firms.

If you determine that your application could be stronger with work experience, you may want to look into employment at legal firms — especially if they’re relevant to your long-term career goals, says Calvario. That may mean brushing up your resume or getting creative in your networking outreach.

Nail your personal statement.

If you feel like your personal statement wasn’t really you, some introspection will go a long way. “Take a hard look at who you are, the major influences in your life, the most important achievements in your career,” Whitmore says. “[Those] will become the ingredients of a strong personal story woven throughout all parts of your application.” 

Cohen says authenticity is key — for example, if you really want to “save the world,” make sure your application reflects that with extracurriculars such as volunteer work. And if you have blemishes on your academic record, you can briefly address them and explain why they’re not a reflection of your current abilities, Lopes advises. 

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