Every year, thousands of law school applicants are not accepted to law school. If you find yourself in that category, do not despair -- you aren’t alone and it does not have to be the end of the road (unless you decide that you want it to be). However, in order to be successful in reapplying to law school, your application needs to have changed in some significant way, for example by improving your LSAT score or gaining more experience. Applications that are resubmitted without any significant change do not tend to result in offers of admissions, so it is vital to understand any weaknesses in your application or application strategy and strengthen them before you reapply.
If you apply to law school and are not accepted:
Take the time to consider whether you want to reapply the next year: For many students, the answer will be a clear “yes”, but others might find that after going through the application process, they either are no longer sure that they want to attend law school or they decide to wait a year or two before applying again.
Assess your application and application strategy (and ask for help doing so if necessary!): Sometimes, the impediment to admission is obvious to the applicant, often a low GPA or LSAT score and/or an over-ambitious set of schools (or both!). Other times, it is less clear why a student did not receive an offer of admission. If you aren’t sure why you were not offered admission to any of the schools to which you applied, set up an appointment with Legal Pathways to review your application materials.
Make a plan for how to strengthen your application: Do you need to retake the LSAT? Add some work or leadership experience? Rewrite your personal statement? Add an optional statement you did not provide in the last cycle? Apply to more or different schools? Once you have an honest and reality-based assessment of your application’s strengths and weaknesses, you can make a plan for how to strengthen your application for the next cycle. Your plan should take into consideration what did and did not work for you the last time around. If you studied for the LSAT on your own, you might want to consider taking a class this time around. If you did not have someone review your personal statement, you should make sure to do so this time -- don’t repeat errors from the prior cycle when you can help it!
Follow through: Life gets busy and it is hard to add study, volunteer work, or time to write to already crowded schedules. However, if you want to improve your chances of admission to law school, it is not enough to just make a plan -- you have to follow through on it.
Broaden your application pool: Not everyone is able to relocate for law school, but if you are, consider expanding the number of law schools to which you apply the following year and increasing the number of “safety” schools (schools at which your LSAT score is at or above the 75th percentile).
Consider your timing carefully: Do you want to apply in the next application cycle or do you want to take an additional year to strengthen your application through adding professional experience? Many students are able to significantly strengthen their application by delaying reapplication for a year or two to add additional experience, particularly if there are otherwise “incurable” defects in the application, like a low GPA that cannot be changed.
Remember that law school admission or rejection is not a statement on you, your value, or your capacity to succeed or make change in the world: Rejection is hard and it is even harder when it is something you have dreamt about and worked hard to achieve. Remember that while not being accepted to law school may be a painful experience, it does not define you or your worth. You are still a capable, valuable person who can and will do great things, whether or not you decide to reapply in the future!