I've realized that while I've been focusing a lot lately on life as a law student - which makes complete sense. It's basically all I know about right now. But I realized, it's been awhile since I've focused on the process of getting into to law school, including the application process. A few days ago, I came across my post where I announced I made an official decision of where to attend law school, and it was around a year ago today. The reason that this was such a big deal, was that I applied and got into six different law schools, and got decent scholarship offers to all of them. Therefore, I had to choose between several different schools. This made me think about how, recently, I've had a number of future law students ask me some questions about the application process, and one question that I often get is, "How many law schoools did you apply to?" which I've realized is code for, "How many law schools should I apply to?" So I thought I would write a post addressing this very important question.
Now, the first thing that I want to throw out there is a typical diclaimer - what works for one person may not work for you. Some people apply to like twenty schools, some people only apply to one. It all comes down to doing whatever is best for you. However, for those of you who are looking for some general guidelines, I am here to help!
The absolute minimum number of law schools you should apply to is three:
- Your Dream School: This is the school that in an absolutely ideal world, you would go to. It's in a place where you want to live, has programs you want to study, you like the sounds of saying you have a degree from there, etc. You might think "Oh, it's too expensive!" or "I'll never get in!" But apply anyway. You'll regret it if you don't, and might be surprised what will happen if you do.
- Your Safety School: This is your "fallback" option - where you would be okay with going, it would be comfortable, you could afford it, etc. This should be a school that you know you can get into, no questions asked. This is where you apply so you know that, whatever may happen with scholarships and admissions, you will have at least one law school you can attend in the fall.
- Somewhere In-Between: Pretty simple, this is usually a school that isn't quite at the level of your dream school, but packs a little mroe prestige and risk than your safety school. For me, this is where I ended up attending. It's a place where, if you can't go to your dream school, it's the "next best thing"
Now, a lot of people will want to apply to more than three law schools, which is totally normal. If you're adding extra applications, apply to more "in-between" schools - these are usually good places to apply if you want a lot of options of where to attend school in the fall and are looking for a variety of experiences.
One thing that's important to remember is that applying to law schools is expensive. You have to pay LSAC $30/per school to send your credentials (transcripts, letters of recommendation, etc.) along with each school's application fee, ranging anywhere from $25 to $250. So with my six schools that I applied to, I spent hundreds of dollars on the application process alone. If you're somebody that wants to apply to a lot of schools, save up your money to do this!
When it's all said and done, the bottom line of everything is that when in doubt, APPLY! If you think you might want to apply to a school, go ahead and do it. It's better to apply to a bunch of schools and have more options than wonder what would've happened if you would've appplied to X or Y school. Do what feels right to you, and trust that at the end of the process, you will have an incredible school to attend in the fall!
Good luck on applications, everyone!