Top 5 Law School Admission Factors (Other than LSAT Score and GPA)

The two most important factors, by far, for law school admission are your (highest) LSAT score and your (cumulative) GPA. Of those two, your LSAT score typically will be the most important. But what else influences law school decisions? While not an official list, below are 5 relevant “soft factors,” included in my subjective order of importance. Do not assume you need to possess all, or even most, of these “soft factors” – they are just ideas for you to consider when writing your personal statement and completing your law school applications.

Academic Excellence/Analytical Skills

Don’t lose sight of the obvious: law schools want excellent law school students. Along those lines, anything beyond your LSAT score and cumulative GPA that may reflect your analytical skills and potential for academic excellence is highly relevant.  Examples may include your undergraduate institution (but DON’T worry if you didn’t attend a top university or college!) and your major in college (hint: STEM majors are especially good, but also atypical for prelaw students). Even more important is the actual work you’ve done. If you have a job, an extracurricular activity and/or a research project suggesting you possess strong analytical skills, it is worth emphasizing in your application!

Diversity

Law schools love a diverse mix of students. And by “diversity,” I am not just talking about race and gender. They want their students to represent a diverse group of undergraduate institutions and college majors, and to possess a variety of different life experiences. Don’t worry at all if you went to a lesser-known college or have an unusual major. In fact, it may even help you. Law schools also want conservatives, liberals, traditionalists, progressives, single parents, military veterans, second-career candidates, students fresh out of college, athletes, musicians, students involved in on-campus organizations or politics, etc. You name it. If there is an interesting or different side to you that also reflects something impressive you have done, highlight it!

Successful Leadership, Hard Work and Commitment

Have you run a student organization? Possess a leadership role at your job? Served as the President of your fraternity/sorority? Selected as captain of your sports team? Have you won some type of significant event(s) or competition(s)? Anything that shows successful leadership skills, hard work and commitment is often an attractive quality to law schools. If this seems to fit an aspect of your background, find a way to mention it!

Overcoming Hardship

This particular “soft factor” is often over-emphasized by prelaw students. If it doesn’t fit you and/or you need to “stretch” the truth to demonstrate this, don’t worry about it. Most prelaw students aren’t hardship candidates, and it isn’t necessary. However, if you have overcome certain highly significant hardships or burdens to get where you are today, feel free to let the law schools know about it. The ability to succeed despite obstacles that have been put in your path is an appealing character trait and it makes sense to share it with law schools (IF it is something significant)!

Teamwork

Prelaw students often don’t think about this one, but it certainly can be relevant too. Have you participated in team sports in a meaningful way? Held a job, been in a band, served your fraternity/sorority or college organization or performed other tasks that reflect significant teamwork participation by you? Everyone appreciates a “team player” and law schools are no exception – if this seems like a good description of who you are, let law schools know about it!