We posed questions to admissions officials at the Baylor Law School regarding the application process, what they look for in applicants, and what sets their school apart. These are their responses:
1. What can applicants do to set themselves apart from their peers?
Applicants should focus on putting together a well-crafted application package that showcases their strengths and what they can contribute to the academic environment and legal profession. Some applicants make the mistake of developing answers and/or essays that are contrived or unauthentic. The key element applicants should remember is to be sincere, honest, and precise when preparing an application package.
2. What do you look for in the applications essays? What do the essays tell you about a candidate?
Written communication is vital in the legal profession. We consider the personal statement a strong measure of the applicant's ability to write clearly and concisely, as well as an important window into an applicant's personality and story. Through the personal statement, the Admissions Committee tries to get a sense of the applicant as a person. An applicant can choose to write about his/her motivation to study law; evidence of academic achievement, leadership, responsibility, or community involvement; educational, social, or economic background; and any special, such as bilingual language skills or advocacy skills. We are particularly interested in any aspect of the applicant's background that would allow him or her to distinctively enrich the law school environment. Once again, the key element to an effective personal statement is to be honest.
3. How important is the applicant's LSAT score? How do you weigh it against undergraduate GPA and work/internship experience? Which of these carry the most weight? The least?
The LSAT and undergraduate GPA are weighted more heavily than other factors by the Admissions Committee because of the established predictive qualities of the LSAT and the undergraduate GPA. That said, this does not mean that these two criteria are perfect predictors. This is why we take a holistic approach to reviewing all application files. We also consider such wide ranging factors as work experience, demonstrated leadership potential, co-curricular and extracurricular activities, academic performance trends, undergraduate major, caliber of undergraduate school, circumstances of particular disadvantage, and any other relevant information submitted to us by an applicant.
4. How much does prior work/internship experience weigh into your decision making? What's the typical or expected amount of work experience from an applicant?
Work experience oftentimes weighs favorably in the admissions process, but the lack of work experience does not necessarily put an applicant at a significant disadvantage. Our student body is comprised of both students who arrive directly from their undergraduate career with little work experience and those who have been in the workforce or who have extensive internship experience. We strive to select applicants who demonstrate a high level of maturity, a good work ethic, and leadership skills. Work experiences, as well as some extra-curricular activities, develop the necessary framework that enables students to manage the multiple demands that are placed on them during their law school career.
5. What sets you apart from other schools? What can students gain from your school that they might not be able to find anywhere else?
Baylor Law School combines theory with practice and nurtures a commitment to service and responsibility. Recognizing the importance of practical training, Baylor continues with its long-standing tradition of integrating practical skills and professionalism across the curriculum. Our rigorous, required third-year courses in trial practice and procedure have received praise from both educators and practitioners. Baylor students have countless opportunities to learn by doing while working one on one with professors. Professors draw upon their experience in practice to create exercises and projects similar to the scenarios students will face in their future careers. It is no accident that our graduates routinely achieve one of the highest bar passage rates in the country.