5 Things Law Schools DON’T Care About

So, you probably have learned about the importance of your LSAT score and undergraduate gpa to your law school application. However, I’ve also noticed a series of other factors that many prospective law students believe will influence their application that actually have very little, if any, impact. Here are five of them:

  1. A “non-traditional” college major: Many students believe their application will be adversely affected if they don’t have a “typical” pre-law major like Political Science. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Law schools do not require or even prefer a law-related major. Law schools like diversity, not prior legal experience. Any major will serve you just fine. In fact, if you have a “hard science” major (e.g., Chemistry, Biology, Physics, etc.) or another major that is generally considered challenging, it likely will be a benefit to you. Bottom line: pick a major that interests you if you plan to go to law school…just remember to keep your grades as high as possible!
  2. A “gap year”: Unlike business school, law schools are not concerned with whether or not you have taken time off between college and law school. Taking a gap year (or years) may benefit your law school application, but it will be an indirect benefitFor example, if taking a gap year allows you to study harder and get a better LSAT score, then the gap year(s) will benefit you because of your better LSAT score. Similarly, if the gap year(s) allows you to work on a project or job that enhances your personal statement, or provides you with an excellent letter of recommendation (LOR), then your application likely will be enhanced because of your improved personal statement and/or LOR’s. But taking a gap year(s), in and of itself, generally will not have a direct impact on your law school application.
  3. No legal experience: For the same reason that a “non-traditional” college major is unimportant, neither is prior legal experience. If you want to get an internship or job at a law firm to get a sense of what lawyers do, by all means do it. But don’t get that internship or job simply to enhance your law school application. Law schools are looking for diverse, interesting and/or impressive people – prior experience in the legal filed is generally not an important criterion.
  4. “Older” students: Sadly, age discrimination is real in many areas of society. But the impact of one’s age on law school applications is somewhere between minimal and non-existent. Law schools want students with high LSAT scores and good gpa’s for multiple reasons. As mentioned above, they also seek out an interesting, diverse and capable student body. But a student’s age is unlikely to be of particular importance to them – if you want to go to law school, your age shouldn’t be a barrier.
  5. LSAT/GPA “splitters”: I wrote a blog awhile back about why law schools love (well, like) “splitters.” A law school “splitter” is someone who has a high LSAT score and low gpa, or vice versa. Of course, law schools love having students who are strong in both categories. But they also know that those students will be highly competitive at other law schools as well, and those other law schools may have a higher ranking or otherwise be appealing. As a result, law schools are very aware that they will need to give serious consideration to “splitters” – after all, a “splitter” is a lot better for the law school than a student who is low in both categories. A strong LSAT score can go a long way to make up for a less-than-stellar gpa, and vice versa.

I hope that helps you to put some of these “non-issues” (or minor issues) into perspective. If you have any questions, please email me at mark@scoreitup.com.