One thing I tell candidates a lot is that good LSAT scores and high GPAs don’t necessarily guarantee you acceptance into a top 20 school. Competition is fierce for such limited slots; you have to find a way to stand out from the crowd and show your potential.

Schools aren’t just looking at your credentials and profile; they’re evaluating how you’ll also impact them in the long run. Will you be an active alumnus? Would you be a great representation of the school in the workforce?

I had an applicant who had a strong GPA (nearly a 4.0) and strong extracurricular activities for a top 10 school. Unfortunately, her LSAT was a 162. Because the competition at the top schools is so intense, we had to really showcase her potential to mitigate that LSAT and ensure her application stood out.

Highly active in her undergraduate schooling, we showed not just her excellent study skills but also highlighted the fact that she studied abroad, was involved and held leadership positions in several campus groups, and was an active participant in community service. By showing these other qualities, we were able to present a complete picture and show that she would be an excellent candidate. After all, you have to demonstrate by prior example; you cannot promise to be active if you’ve never shown it in the past.

Not only did she get accepted to several excellent schools, but she also got accepted to her top choice – Stanford Law School. And the last I heard, she’s doing herself and Stanford very proud.

– Contributed by Senior Consultant Heike Spahn, a former Associate Director of Admissions and Assistant Dean of Financial Aid at the University of Chicago Law School.

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