Students preparing for law school are typically recommended to apply to multiple schools.
Applying to a single law school could lead to disappointment. You may find yourself sitting out a semester or two if you are not accepted.
So, how many law schools should you apply to?
Some experts recommend applying to at least a dozen law schools. The 12 schools should include five competitive schools, five midrange options, and two safety schools.
Before you start submitting applications, here is what you should know.
Why Should You Apply to Multiple Law Schools?
Applying to a law school is also a daunting process. You need to submit various information with each application, such as essays, a resume, and a personal statement.
You also typically need to pay a fee to apply to a law school. The average application fee is between $60 and $100.
If you apply to too many law schools, you may find yourself overwhelmed. Following up with admissions personnel and keeping track of the individual application processes can be challenging. These challenges may lead you to limit your choices.
Yet, law school admissions are highly competitive, especially for the top-tier schools in the United States. In addition, each school has a limited number of spots, which means that many students who apply to a school do not get in.
You should try to strike the right balance between applying to too many and too few schools. Sticking to a manageable number of applications can reduce the stress of applying to law school.
How Many Law Schools Should You Apply to?
On average, students apply to about six law schools. However, trying for 12 schools gives you more security.
As mentioned above, you should divide the 12 applications as follows:
- Five competitive law schools
- Five midrange law schools
- Two safety schools
People sometimes refer to the most competitive law schools as “reach” schools. These are the schools that require outstanding GPAs and LSAT scores. While your chances of getting accepted are lower, there is no harm in applying to your dream colleges.
You should also select up to five midrange options. The midrange options include law schools you are likely to be accepted to but not guaranteed to attend.
You should also choose at least one or two safety schools. A safety school is a school that is almost guaranteed to accept your application. Choosing at least one safety school ensures that you can attend law school instead of having to wait another semester or two for another round of applications.
Keep in mind that you only need one or two safety schools. As these schools almost guarantee your acceptance, you do not need to waste time and energy applying to a wide range of safety law schools.
How to Choose Which Law Schools to Apply to
One of your first considerations should be the competitiveness of the application process. You can review law school rankings to find out which schools require the highest GPAs and LSAT scores.
The ranking may also list the acceptance rate. For example, the top 100 law schools all have acceptance rates of 50% or less.
For example, Yale Law School only accepts about 6.9% of applicants. Stanford University takes 8.7% of applicants. However, the University of Oregon (ranked 114th) has an acceptance rate of 50.4%.
The acceptance rates and rankings help you divide schools into reach, midrange, and safety schools.
The location is another critical consideration. For example, you may want to apply to schools near your family or a specific geographic region.
The cost of attendance is also essential. Some schools are more likely to offer scholarships, lower tuition fees, or cover room and board.
Can Law Schools See Which Schools You Apply to?
Some law school applications may ask you to list other schools you are considering applying to. Yet, law schools do not have a way to determine which schools you have applied to or received offers from.
You can list other schools at your discretion. However, it may not help or hurt your application to disclose which law schools you have applied to.
Does Going to a Top 14 Law School Matter?
US News and World Report choose the top 14 law schools each year. People also refer to these schools as the “T14 Law Schools.”
Attending one of the top law schools in the United States increases your chances of finding employment after college. The top 100 law firms in the United States mostly hire individuals who graduate from one of the T14 schools.
Most Supreme Court clerks and law professors also attended T14 schools.
The top schools also have higher passing rates for the bar exam. For example, 98.3% of Yale University students pass the bar. However, only 29.2% of students at Thomas Jefferson University give the bar.
Due to the employment opportunities provided by the top law schools, attending a T14 school is also suitable for those who do not know where they want to live after graduation. You have more job options after graduation, which allows you to live almost anywhere.
Not everyone attends the top law schools. You can also find employment after graduating from a midrange school or one of your safety schools. Going to a lower-tier school may cost less and is a good recommendation for practicing law in a particular area.
For example, if you want to stay in your current city or state, you may not need to travel far to find a suitable law school.
Do Law Schools Read Every Application?
Yes, law schools and most colleges review every application submitted. Law schools typically read the applications in the order that they are received. At many schools, each application is reviewed by more than one individual.
Yet, law schools will not review your application if any elements are missing. For example, if you forget to include transcripts or a personal statement, a school will not consider your application until you send the missing documents.