East NotaryLawThe Holistic Approach to Law School Admissions
East NotaryLawThe Holistic Approach to Law School Admissions

The Holistic Approach to Law School Admissions

Many law schools use a formula for considering applicants’ undergraduate GPA and LSAT score when making admission decisions; however, others employ a holistic approach in considering admissions decisions.

Start your law school application journey off right by registering with the Law School Admission Council’s Credential Assembly Service (CAS). They offer this service for a nominal fee, packaging your LSAT scores, transcripts and letters of recommendation for every law school to which you apply.

1. GPA

GPA is one of the two primary criteria for law school admissions decisions, alongside standardized test scores. Top schools such as Yale and Harvard favor applicants with median GPAs of 4.0 or above for entry consideration.

Admissions officers evaluate both your cumulative undergraduate GPA and grades within your major, as well as any graduate or professional school GPA if applicable.

Don’t give up hope if your undergraduate GPA falls below what is desired; provided you have a high LSAT score and supportive letters of recommendation, law school admission should still be within reach even with lower GPAs. Just plan for extra work required: this might involve taking time away from school or majoring in an area where professors tend to be strict graders.


The LSAT is an integral component of law school admissions applications. As a predictor of first-year grades and an equalizer between candidates from diverse backgrounds, schools often rely heavily on it when accepting applicants into law schools. Law firm rankings also employ it heavily when comparing applicants.

Over time, test takers and matriculating students have fluctuated based on factors like economic instability, political unrest, and cultural tensions; but overall the trend has been upward. 2021 witnessed a resurgence due to COVID-19 pandemic-inspired renewed interest in legal education and careers.

Plan ahead and select the ideal time and date to take an exam, fitting into your schedule and providing ample preparation time. It should take around three hours with focussed concentration required.

3. Personal Statement

Personal statements (also referred to as college essays or statements of purpose) allow applicants to express themselves more freely in writing. This gives admissions committees an opportunity to read your story and understand why you want to join their program.

Admissions committees have seen many personal statements, and those that make an impression stand out by showing what makes an applicant unique – such as showing how your background makes you an asset to the program both now and into the future. Here is where serious self-reflection and honest conversations with peers and advisors come into play.

4. Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation should provide an in-depth portrait of you that complements other parts of your application, especially if your GPA or LSAT scores fall short of expectations. They can also bolster your credentials – particularly if these have fallen below par.

Submit letters of recommendation written by those who know you well – such as professors, work supervisors and coworkers with whom you share an extensive relationship. Don’t ask someone with an impressive title like an academic to write for you as they won’t be able to accurately evaluate your abilities and qualities.

Provide recommenders with a rough draft so they aren’t starting from scratch when writing their letters. As much as possible, assist with stamp envelopes, early submission dates etc.

5. Resume

Law school resumes are essential as they enable you to establish the framework within which the rest of your application will be viewed. Successful law school resumes will highlight your academic and professional experiences related to practicing law.

Your resume format should be clear and legible across both screen and paper formats, with standard fonts used and an appropriate font size used throughout. Any unnecessary gimmicks such as colored text, symbols or images should also be avoided.

Instead of simply listing functional responsibilities, try telling a narrative with your experiences by emphasizing how they had an effectful on workplace or community – using action verbs such as created, led, transformed etc. Additionally, ensure your experience relates directly to the position or program being applied for.