How to Get In: Northwestern University Law School

What can you do to set yourself apart in your application? Admissions officials have the answers.

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9. What are some of the most common mistakes that applicants make that hurt their chances of being accepted?

The biggest mistake is the failed law school name merge. That is another reason why we always say to beware of the generic personal statement. The personal statement that includes "that is why I really want to attend (insert wrong law school name here)," is pretty much a kiss of death and shows a lack of motivation and attention to detail. Applicants also need to approach our interviews as if they would a job interview. They should dress professionally and refrain from any inappropriate language or bad-mouthing of others or their experiences. Finally, applicants should be very careful about using humor in their essays. They should remember that many people will be reviewing their applications and their tastes in humor can vary dramatically. For some, it might work but for others it can fall on deaf ears or even be viewed as offensive.

10. Can you describe the archetypal student for your school?

We don't know if there is an archetype student since we are trying to assemble a student body that is diverse in so many ways (geographically, by work experience, ethnicity, gender, and career-related as well as social interests). In general, the ideal candidate might have the following characteristics:

­­­—Very strong academic credentials

­—At least two years of post-undergraduate work experience in a non-legal setting with demonstrated project management and team experience

­—A well-rounded set of extracurricular and community activities, including some substantial leadership

­—Strong interpersonal and communication skills as shown in the evaluative interview

­—Some international exposure through time abroad for work or for pleasure

­—Clear motivation for law school and a legal career, including some sense of the areas within the law that most interest them

­—Demonstrated knowledge of and interest in attending Northwestern Law