How to Get In: University of Iowa College of Law

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

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The best thing a prospective law school student can do is to visit their law schools of interest personally, and gain a sense of their own feelings about the place.

6. What do you look for in recommendation letters? How important is it that the letter's writer has worked regularly with the candidate in an office or school setting?

We are looking for notations of a law school applicant's probability of success in law school, graduate school, or in a professional setting, with an emphasis on the probability of potential leadership within the profession. It is very important that the author of the recommendation be in a position to have evaluated the applicant in a professional setting (work supervisor) or an academic setting (professor). The best letter writers are people who have been in a position to hire the applicant, fire the applicant, or flunk the applicant. Letters from professors are given a bit more weight than letters from work supervisors.

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

From the time an applicant submits a complete (important) application to the time the applicant has an admission decision from our office is about a month. If information is missing, or the decision is a difficult one, or there is a large application increase in our office, then the process will be slowed down and the admission decision to the applicant might go to six weeks. Most of the time, however, the 'complete application' to 'decision' time frame is approximately one month.

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

Large firms and midsize firms from across the country recruit at our law school, with a slight majority from the Midwest. Chicago, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Kansas City, Omaha, and Des Moines are examples of cities to which we place a lot of students. Law firms with strengths in Corporate Law, Health Care Law, International Law, Human Rights Law, Public Interest Law, Public Policy and Not-for-Profit Organizations frequent our Career Services Office on a regular basis.

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

1. Believing that there are few or no consequences to earning a low LSAT or a low GPA, and so they do not address these issues thoroughly in their applications2. Writing a poor Personal Statement 3. Possessing a criminal record or having a record of poor behavior at the undergraduate level or within a professional setting, and not addressing these issues thoroughly in their applications for admission4. Lack of focus; the reasons for attending law school come across as vague, or totally non-existent.

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

1. The best students are bright, intelligent, analytical and inquisitive: Asking 'why' and 'what if' is not foreign to them. They are fundamentally sound, academically. 2. Highly motivated: Our best students know how to solve problems and keep moving forward. They are motivated to get a law degree, and have a vision of how the Iowa Law degree will help them solve problems, in whatever setting the student defines that problem-solving environment. They do not feel entitled to succeed; they know that they will need to work for it, and sometimes grind that success out over a three-year period.3. They are good human beings. They are fundamentally decent people, and don't forget how to treat others in a positive way. This has nothing to do with "Midwestern nice." This has everything to do with treating others, and expecting to be treated by others, with class, dignity, and a fair amount of transparency. (What you see is what you get.)