How many schools should I apply to?
How many law schools should you apply to? The
answer, once again, is: it depends. Most students end up applying to
between four and seven law schools. The breakdown is usually
something like this. Apply to one of your "dream schools". This is a
school where perhaps your numbers alone (GPA and LSAT score) make
you a long-shot candidate, and you're hoping that some of your other
credentials will be used as a "tiebreaker" to get you in. You should
apply to two or more schools where your GPA and LSAT make you a
solid candidate for admission. Finally, include one or two
"insurance schools". These are schools where nothing short of total
destruction of the law school would keep you out.
In addition to the time involved in
completing each law school's application, cost can also be a
limiting factor. The typical application fee per law school is $50
or more. When you add that to the costs for the LSDAS, the LSAT,
test preparation materials, and miscellaneous expenses, the total
cost just to get into law school can easily top $1,000.
Keep in mind that law schools require their
applications to be typed. There are software packages you can buy
and services you can subscribe to that will help with this tedious
work. By all means, pay attention to the details. Make sure that you
provide all required information, in the format called for by the
application. As part of each application you must provide a personal
essay. Sometimes the topic is given; other times you can write about
whatever you choose. This essay is not the time for you to give a
campaign speech for a directorship with the ACLU or the NRA. Write
something nice and non-controversial, and make sure you write it
well. Do not come in under any word or page minimums, or over any
maximums. A sloppy or incomplete application will be seen as
indicating a sloppy or weak intellect. Give yourself the best chance
possible and take the time to do it right.