Try 3 Tips for Law School Interview Success

Practice giving specific, straightforward and natural answers in your law school interviews.

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During your law school admissions interview, demonstrate the qualities that set you apart and do not reiterate examples from your essays.

After submitting your law school applications, you may be invited to interview at some of your target schools. This interview is a unique opportunity to showcase your personality, fit for the school and dedication to attending.

First, law school applications are not like job applications – not everyone who is admitted is asked to interview, so do not be alarmed if you do not receive an invitation. In fact, not all law schools offer interviews, which is why many students are not sure what to do or how to prepare when they receive an invitation.

[Find out what goes into a successful law school application.]

Law school interviews are not a cookie-cutter process. Of the schools that interview candidates, some conduct one-on-one interviews while others prefer group interviews. Some schools allow you to request an interview, where at others it is invitation-only.

Some notable schools that invite candidates to interview are Northwestern Law School and Georgetown Law Center and Harvard Law School, which interviews prospective students over Skype.

The first thing you should do if you will be interviewing is find out if it will be a single or group interview, if it will be in-person or done remotely and who will be interviewing you. Often, alumni volunteers lead interviews.

If you are invited to interview at a law school, it means your candidacy is being considered, but the admissions committee would benefit from learning more about you. Proper preparation is critical, and below are three tips to consider as you prepare for your law school interview.

[Learn how to decide between multiple law school admissions offers.]

1. Brainstorm responses, but do not be scripted: It is possible to overprepare and essentially recite responses to commonly asked questions during your interview. As you can imagine, this can be a turnoff to an interviewer, who wants to learn more about the real you rather than a rehearsed you.

While it is important to brainstorm key aspects of yourself you wish to get across to the interviewer, think of them more as bullet points than an essay. This will allow you to speak freely and authentically while sounding organized and coherent.

During a mock interview with one of my clients, I noticed that his responses to my questions sounded almost like a recording. I commended him for his readiness, but suggested that he relax, take natural pauses between thoughts and play off of the cues of his interviewer.

After incorporating my feedback, he went into the interview feeling confident and was able to be himself. I got an excited phone call from him when he later got his offer letter.

2. Go off-resume: The law school already has your resume, essays and background information. They invited you for an interview because they need more than your application package to determine if you are the right fit for their school.

Be genuine during your interview. Demonstrate who you are off paper and do not reiterate examples from your essays. Also, do not talk about your numbers – they already know your GPA and your LSAT score, so focus on your qualities that they may not know!

[Discover how to make a law school personal statement unique.]

3. Provide specifics: If this is one of your top-choice schools, you have likely done some research on its programs, staff and environment. Show off that knowledge in your interview by mentioning particular classes, clubs and professors that excite you.

If you have not done any research, now is the time. Law schools want to admit students who will accept them in return, so it's important to show your eagerness to attend and why you believe the school will help you achieve your goals.

By following these three steps, you will come off as genuine, demonstrate your personal attributes not already apparent in your application and reveal your commitment to attending the school, maximizing your chances of securing an offer.

U.S. News readers are invited to attend a free personal statement workshop to learn how to draft a compelling, authentic personal statement. I will host an in-person workshop from 6:30-8 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 23 at the Stratus Prep offices in New York, and offer the same workshop via webinar from 5:30-7 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 27.

If you are invited for a law school interview, share your experience in the comments, email me at shawn.oconnor@stratusprep.com or contact me via Twitter at @StratusPrep.