10 Mistakes Made on Law School Applications

Avoid these common flubs and your application won't be tossed out.

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Applications are out, and—yes—people who already have LSAT scores are submitting them. Don't panic if you're taking the October or December LSAT, but keep these 10 common mistakes in mind when it's your turn to fill out and submit applications. 

10. Not listing things in chronological order, or reverse chronological order, when specifically asked.

Lawyers need to follow rules, and so do law applicants. If you can't follow these simple instructions, how on earth are you going to follow the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure? Think the judge will like you enough to overlook it? Neither will law school admissions committees. 

[Get more advice from law school admissions officials.

9. Submitting optional essays that don't really apply to you.

If the best you can do on your diversity statement is that your grandfather had minority status, or that your best friend is gay, then the diversity statement isn't for you and will fall flat. If everyone had an "obstacle overcame" story then it wouldn't really be diverse, would it? Stick with your strengths, and don't invent diversity where it doesn't exist. 

8. Choosing not to submit "optional" essays that apply to everyone.

If you can't take an hour to research a school, why should they take an hour to review your file, accept you, and give you a scholarship? They shouldn't. Don't be lazy. And a tip – if you could easily substitute the name of that school for any other and not have to change the rest of your answer, you didn't do a good job on this essay. 

7. Not submitting a résumé with your application.

It's essential to account for your time since graduating from high school. This is your one chance to show contributions you made to organizations and workplace environments. If you save this stuff for your personal statement, it will be boring, blah, and it will absolutely bomb. 

6. Putting "See attached résumé" on application blanks instead of filling them in.

This goes back to laziness. What if someone doesn't turn the page, or misses something on your résumé , or you don't capture their interest in the application itself? Use every line that applies to you. 

5. Typos.

Enough said. One typo in something usually won't be the death of an application (except to the very top law schools) but two or more will sink you. 

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4. Not checking the PDF version to be sure that your words aren't cut off in the boxes.

This is really important! I can't believe how many law school applicants don't realize that if your words don't appear on the PDF, the school won't see them. 

3. Not checking to be sure your materials comport with the instructions on the school's website and/or application.

Take a few minutes to check each school's instructions. If there aren't instructions that you can find easily, call the school and ask where they are. 

2. Sending the wrong personal statement to a school.

I hope I don't have to comment on this one…. 

1. Donating a $75 application fee to a school because you will have made one of the previous nine law school application errors!


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