The View From the Admissions Office
Most applicants hurt their chances of admission by thinking like an applicant, instead of like an admissions officer. They try to gloss over weaknesses in their file, or to convince the admissions officer that their internships were somehow more special than everyone else's, that they deserve a chance, that if accepted they will surely succeed. Read the information that follows carefully, so you don't make the same mistakes.
In choosing its students a law school is trying to meet a number of different goals:
A Seller's Market
Many applicants see themselves as the buyer of a law school. When applications are on the decline, this can make sense. But when apps are increasing, it makes much more sense to see yourself as the seller. And the important question is, what are you selling, and what are they buying?
Law schools are buying four different things, three of which go directly to their USNews ranking:
You give them the first two by having numbers higher than their reported medians.
You give them the third by applying through a binding early decision program. You give them the fourth by supplying something they want and don't have -- and can't get from someone with higher numbers than yours. That "something" can be ethnic, demographic, occupational, or financial (see "Maximizing the Rewards). Once in a great while, it can be a personality, as seen in an essay or a recommendation. But a good general rule is, if you don't know which of the four things above you're selling, you won't get bought.