We posed questions to admissions officials at the Boston College 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?
The admissions committee understands, respects, and embraces the diversity that each individual candidate offers. Our applicant pool represents various school types, academic programs, personal backgrounds, extra-curricular interests, and professional experiences, among other characteristics. As one pursues a professional degree, we hope that a person possesses great self awareness. An applicant may distinguish him/herself by demonstrating strength and confidence in his/her choices and accomplishments. There is no formula to the admissions process. We want to accept someone for his/her unique talents, perspectives, and contributions. Genuine engagement is evident in a competitive candidate.
2. What do you look for in the application essays? What do the essays tell you about a candidate?
Each candidate has a unique voice and perspective. We respect an individual's choice of topic and writing style. Committee members look for profound and nuanced self reflection. A personal statement may expound on personal goals, professional aspirations, or formative experiences. The ability to articulate a narrative in a concise manner is among the skills we look for in and value in a personal statement.
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 is an important element in the application review process as are the other components of the application (transcript, personal statement, résumé, and letters of recommendation). Each component is important for different reasons because each provides a snapshot of the candidate. No individual component should be considered or "weighed" outside of the context of the entire application. The LSAT is the one component that every candidate shares in common; therefore it provides the committee with valuable comparative information. The LSAT does evaluate a skill set that is relevant to success in the first year of law school. The test does have predictive value, but it cannot give us a complete measure of a candidate's potential for success in law school. A candidate's performance during college must be considered alongside performance on the LSAT to gauge academic achievement and preparedness. Study skills, time management, organization and prioritization of assignments are important to success in law school. A student's academic achievement measures qualities that one sitting for a standardized exam may not.
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?
Prior work/internship experience is an important element in our process because it reflects a candidate's ability to excel in a professional environment. Practical applications of one's academic skill set (communication, critical thinking, problem solving, ethics, etc.) are essential to success in the legal profession. Employment experience also sharpens and expands one's existing skill set and helps define one's interests and professional paths and goals. The ability to interact with co-workers (professional and support staff, colleagues and superiors) and clients/constituents are among various personal qualities we evaluate during the application process.
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?
The members of Boston College Law School's community cannot comment on the offerings of other institutions. We can only highlight what we feel makes our community particularly appealing. Students, faculty, and staff contribute to a collegial atmosphere. Our Jesuit ethos promotes academic rigor, personal well being, and service to others. We appreciate pluralism of belief systems and we support the unique talents and achievements of each member of our community. Our graduates come away with lifelong friendships and a deep respect for humanity. Our students and alumni possess a strong sense of leadership and work/life balance. Members of our community enjoy tremendous professional success and appreciate the value of personal relationships with colleagues, mentors, and constituents.