How to Get In: University of North Carolina School of Law

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

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Letters of recommendation should come from people who know the applicant well enough to speak to their skills and abilities, particularly skills generally seen as necessary to succeed in law school and practice. Some examples: critical and analytical thinking, reading comprehension, leadership potential, time management, and organizational abilities. If the writer can give specific examples of circumstances under which the applicant has demonstrated these skills, the letter is more persuasive.

7. Can you give a brief description of the life cycle of an application? What's the timeline applicants should expect?

Upon receipt of a completed application, candidates will receive E-mail notification. In the weeks and months following, applications are processed as the Admissions Office ensures the application is complete and routes it for review to a faculty admissions committee. If an application is incomplete, candidates will be notified by E-mail and given the chance to supply missing materials. The Admissions Committee begins reading applications in early December and a first round of decisions is made around the December holidays. Decisions continue to be made throughout the winter, with most decisions made by April 1. Decisions on every complete file are made by May 1.

8. Which firms/organizations recruit heavily from your school? Which ones hire the highest percentage of your graduates?

In a typical year, approximately 60 percent to 65 percent of our graduates are recruited into private law firms, and approximately 15 percent to 20 percent take positions with government agencies and public interest organizations. Nearly 10 percent enter judicial clerkships, and 5 percent to 10 percent take jobs in corporations. We have a diverse range of employers recruiting on campus: many large national and regional firms, mid-sized or smaller firms, as well as federal and state governmental agencies, nonprofits, and corporations.

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

Incomplete applications cannot be processed, so applicants are encouraged to ensure that all of their materials are submitted to the School and the Law School Admission Council in a timely manner. Another mistake applicants make is to submit the same personal statements to UNC that they submit to every other school. UNC School of Law asks specific questions on its application and not answering those questions can hurt the applicant's application. For those students applying as a North Carolina resident, there is a required residency application, and not submitting a completed residency application in a timely manner is another common mistake.

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

UNC School of Law looks for applicants who have demonstrated that they are hard-working and motivated, who have prepared themselves for the academic rigor of a legal education at UNC, who have backgrounds and experiences that will contribute to the opinions and viewpoints here, and who want to be at a law school that will prepare them to make a difference in the lives of their clients and the communities they serve.