A few years ago I graduated with honors and an MBA from Northwestern University and went to work for a major accounting firm in Chicago. The work has been interesting and has given me some major responsibilities and experience. Nonetheless, I feel a law degree would enhance my opportunities, significantly. Recently I took the LSATs and scored at the 82nd percentile, just missing the mark for highly prestigious schools like Berkeley and Columbia, two of my favorites. I’m not convinced I could improve my scores significantly, however my recent employment is a testimony to my commitment, drive and hard work ethic. Does it pay to even bother applying to highly selective schools or should I just apply to those where I know I have a good chance of being accepted? It costs approximately $60 to apply to each school.
– Jim L., Englewood, CO
Your issue is pretty straightforward. Develop a strong list of law schools that offer the type of education you desire and then commit yourself to submitting very finely tuned applications, which highlight some of your recent accomplishments. Develop your list similarly to the strategies utilized by undergraduates.
Remember, there are no guarantees. Law school admissions are highly selective. Seek out reaches and safeties just like the undergrad. If you’re fortunate to be accepted at your top school, that’s terrific! However, don’t underestimate the opportunities at the other schools. Finding yourself at a less competitive institution can mean a higher overall GPA and possibly honors like the Law Review. If you still prefer a more prestigious school during your freshman year, your grades and honors could make you a good candidate for transfer. You would be surprised at the number of law schools who look favorably on accomplished transfer students, including your two favorites, Berkeley and Columbia. Good Luck!