logo

What Are They Looking For?

The most confusing aspect of the admissions process for many applicants is posed by the grids in the Official Guide showing how many applied and were accepted.  Why were 73 out of 119 accepted and the other 46 rejected?  The answer most often lies in other qualities the law school is seeking.  So to help you predict whether you'll be one of the lucky 73, we decided to give you our view of what each law school looks for beyond the numbers.  

As with every list I post here, there are caveats and explanations:

  • The first and most important caveat is that this data was gathered in 1997!
  • These answers are my own impressions, based on interviews with admissions officers.  I claim sole responsibility for them.  
  • "Not interviewed or asked" indicates that the school does not attend Law Forums, or that the representative I spoke to was not the head of admissions and did not know the answer.
  • "New Person -- changing" indicates that the head of admissions is new this year, and the policy is under review.
  • "Minorities Emphasized" is a catch-all category.  
    • A "Yes "in this column could mean that I know the admissions officer is dedicated to reaching minority students, or that the school has more minorities than its peer schools, or that even though they have very few minorities because of geographic limitations, they seem to be working hard to recruit and support minorities.  
    • A "No" means that it is my opinion that the school does not go out of its way to recruit or support minority students.
    • "Illegal" refers to schools under limitations imposed by Prop 209 in California, Initiative 200 in Washington, or under the 5th federal circuit Hopwood case.  Many schools are doing everything they can to circumvent these limitations, but I fear that identifying them might hurt their cause.
    • A blank in this column simply means that I've formed no opinion one way or the other.
    • "HBC" indicates a historically black law school with a predominance of minority students.

We hope this list helps you to choose schools more wisely, or to estimate your chances of getting in a little more accurately, or at least to kill time while you're waiting to hear.  

Happy holidays and good luck!
(Christmas 1997)

Loretta DeLoggio, Chief Clairvoyant

School Most Important Factor after GPA/LSAT Most Important Aspect of Personal Statement Minorities
Emphasized?
Akron Quality of Undergrad School Quality of Writing No
Alabama Not Interviewed or Asked Motivation for studying law       
Albany Work or Graduate Experience Explanation of Weaknesses Yes
American Difficulty of Course Work Insight and maturity       
Arizona Diversity Diversity Yes
Arizona State New Person -- changing New Person -- changing Yes
Ark-Fayetteville Not Interviewed or Asked Not Interviewed or Asked       
Ark-Little Rock Not Interviewed or Asked Not Interviewed or Asked     
Baltimore Not Interviewed or Asked Explanation of Weaknesses No
Baylor Work or Graduate Experience Overcoming Obstacles No
Boston College Quality of Undergrad School Explanation of Weaknesses     
Boston U. Difficulty of Course Work Explanation of Weaknesses       
Brigham Young Diversity Diversity       
Brooklyn Writing Ability Quality of Writing Yes
Cal-Berkeley Diversity Diversity Illegal
Cal-Davis Diversity Diversity Illegal
Cal-Hastings Quality of Undergrad School Diversity Disadvantaged
Cal-UCLA Diversity Diversity Illegal
Cal. Western Quality of Undergrad School Diversity No
Campbell Religious Commitment Community Involvement No
Capital Leadership/Activities Diversity No
Cardozo Diversity Motivation for studying law Yes
Case Western Diversity Diversity Yes
Catholic Work or Graduate Experience Explanation of Weaknesses       
Chapman Diversity Overcoming Obstacles Yes
Chicago Leadership/Activities Diversity Yes
Chicago-Kent Difficulty of Course Work Insight and maturity Yes
Cincinnati Difficulty of Course Work Diversity No
Cleveland Work or Graduate Experience Insight and maturity Yes
Colorado Diversity Community Involvement No
Columbia Quality of Undergrad School Diversity Yes
Connecticut Refused to Answer Motivation for studying law No
Cornell Quality of Undergrad School Diversity Yes
Creighton Diversity Diversity Yes
Dayton Quality of Undergrad School Explanation of Weaknesses No
Denver Diversity Diversity       
DePaul Difficulty of Course Work Diversity Yes
Detroit Coll/MSU Difficulty of Course Work Motivation for studying law Yes
Detroit Mercy Strong Recommendations Diversity No
Dickinson Strong Recommendations Motivation for studying law No
Dist. of Columbia Commitment to Public Interest Community Involvement Yes
Drake Quality of Undergrad School Diversity Yes
Duke Difficulty of Course Work Diversity Yes
Duquesne Refused to Answer Refused to Answer No
Emory Quality of Undergrad School Diversity       
Florida Difficulty of Course Work Diversity No
Florida State Quality of Undergrad School Insight and maturity Yes
Fordham Strong Recommendations Community Involvement       
Franklin Pierce Diversity Motivation for studying law       
George Mason Difficulty of Course Work Future/Career Plans No
G.Washington Difficulty of Course Work Quality of Writing No
Georgetown Diversity Diversity Yes
Georgia Difficulty of Course Work Quality of Writing No
Georgia State Work or Graduate Experience Diversity Yes
Golden Gate Diversity Explanation of Weaknesses Yes
Gonzaga Diversity Explanation of Weaknesses Yes
Hamline Work or Graduate Experience Diversity Yes
Harvard Quality of Undergrad School Leadership/Activities Yes
Hawaii Writing Ability Quality of Writing     
Hofstra Refused to Answer Refused to Answer     
Houston Diversity Motivation for studying law Yes
Howard New Person -- changing New Person -- changing HBC
Idaho Diversity Diversity Yes
Illinois Diversity Diversity Yes
Ind-Bloomington Strong Recommendations Quality of Writing Yes
Ind-Indianapolis Work or Graduate Experience Diversity Yes
Iowa Refused to Answer Refused to Answer Yes
John Marshall Strong Recommendations Quality of Writing No
Kansas Strong Recommendations Diversity Yes
Kentucky Difficulty of Course Work Diversity     
Lewis&Clark Difficulty of Course Work Quality of Writing     
Louisiana State n/a -- index only Refused to Answer Illegal
Louisville Diversity Diversity Yes
Loyola-Chicago Diversity Community Involvement Yes
Loyola-L.A. Writing Ability Diversity Yes
Loyola-N.O. Diversity Diversity Yes
Maine Strong Recommendations Explanation of Weaknesses No
Marquette Difficulty of Course Work Motivation for studying law Yes
Maryland Strong Recommendations Insight and maturity Yes
McGeorge Difficulty of Course Work Explanation of Weaknesses     
Memphis Refused to Answer Diversity     
Mercer Leadership/Activities Community Involvement No
Miami Diversity Explanation of Weaknesses     
Michigan Difficulty of Course Work Leadership/Activities Yes
Minnesota Diversity Diversity Yes
Mississippi Strong Recommendations Explanation of Weaknesses Illegal
Mississippi Coll. Diversity Diversity Illegal
Mo-Columbia Diversity Quality of Writing       
Mo-Kansas City Strong Recommendations Not Interviewed or Asked     
Montana Diversity Overcoming Obstacles Yes
Nebraska Difficulty of Course Work Quality of Writing Yes
New England Quality of Undergrad School Diversity     
New Mexico Work or Graduate Experience Diversity Yes
CUNY Commitment to Public Interest Community Involvement Yes
SUNY Strong Recommendations Community Involvement Yes
NYLS Work or Graduate Experience Diversity Yes
NYU Diversity Diversity Yes
UNC-Chapel Hill Leadership/Activities Leadership/Activities Yes
NC Central New Person -- changing New Person -- changing HBC
North Dakota Not Interviewed or Asked Not Interviewed or Asked     
Northeastern Work or Graduate Experience Diversity Yes
Northern Illinois Quality of Undergrad School Quality of Writing     
Northern Kentucky Writing Ability Quality of Writing Yes
Northwestern Interpersonal Skills Diversity Yes
Notre Dame Strong Recommendations Community Involvement     
Nova Difficulty of Course Work Explanation of Weaknesses     
Ohio Northern Writing Ability Quality of Writing     
Ohio State Leadership/Activities Diversity     
Oklahoma Diversity Diversity Illegal
Oklahoma City Strong Recommendations Community Involvement Illegal
Oregon Diversity Diversity     
Pace Diversity Diversity     
Penn Quality of Undergrad School Diversity Yes
Pepperdine Quality of Undergrad School Diversity       
Pittsburgh Diversity Community Involvement Yes
Quinnipiac Writing Ability Motivation for studying law     
Regent Religious Commitment Community Involvement     
Richmond Diversity Diversity Yes
Roger williams Diversity Future/Career Plans Yes
Rutgers-Camden Work or Graduate Experience Diversity Yes
Rutgers-Newark Work or Graduate Experience Diversity Yes
Saint John's Diversity Quality of Writing     
Saint Louis Work or Graduate Experience Motivation for studying law Yes
Saint Mary's Diversity Diversity Yes
Saint Thomas Strong Recommendations Overcoming Obstacles       
Samford Difficulty of Course Work Diversity No
San Diego Difficulty of Course Work Diversity     
San Francisco Quality of Undergrad School Quality of Writing     
Santa Clara Strong Recommendations Diversity Yes
Seattle Strong Recommendations Quality of Writing     
Seton Hall Quality of Undergrad School Community Involvement Yes
S. Carolina Diversity Not Interviewed or Asked     
S. Dakota Not Interviewed or Asked Not Interviewed or Asked     
S. Texas Work or Graduate Experience Leadership/Activities Illegal
Southern Work or Graduate Experience Not Interviewed or Asked HBC
Southern Cal. Diversity Diversity Yes
Southern Ill Diversity Leadership/Activities     
Southern Methodist Leadership/Activities Diversity     
Southwestern Work or Graduate Experience Diversity     
Stanford Diversity Future/Career Plans     
Stetson Difficulty of Course Work Quality of Writing Yes
Suffolk Diversity Diversity No
Syracuse Quality of Undergrad School Diversity     
Temple Strong Recommendations Diversity Yes
Tennessee Difficulty of Course Work Diversity No
Texas Difficulty of Course Work Motivation for studying law Illegal
Texas Southern Diversity Diversity HBC
Texas Tech Not Interviewed or Asked Not Interviewed or Asked     
Texas Wesleyan Difficulty of Course Work Diversity Yes
Thomas Cooley n/a -- index only Refused to Answer     
Thomas Jefferson New Person -- changing New Person -- changing     
Toledo Strong Recommendations Diversity     
Touro Diversity Motivation for studying law Yes
Tulane Diversity Community Involvement     
Tulsa Quality of Undergrad School Quality of Writing Illegal
Utah Grade Trend Diversity     
Valparaiso Strong Recommendations Quality of Writing       
Vanderbilt Strong Recommendations Insight and maturity       
Vermont Quality of Undergrad School Diversity     
Villanova Diversity Diversity No
Virginia Quality of Undergrad School Insight and maturity No
Wake Forest Strong Recommendations Community Involvement No
Washburn Work or Graduate Experience Quality of Writing Yes
Washington Diversity Diversity Illegal
Washington U. Difficulty of Course Work Diversity Yes
Washington&Lee Strong Recommendations Diversity     
Wayne State Diversity Explanation of Weaknesses       
West Virginia Difficulty of Course Work Diversity     
West'n N. England Diversity Quality of Writing No
Western State New Person -- changing New Person -- changing     
Whittier Quality of Undergrad School Insight and maturity     
Widener Strong Recommendations Diversity     
Willamette Quality of Undergrad School Leadership/Activities Yes
William&Mary Quality of Undergrad School Insight and maturity     
William Mitchell Leadership/Activities Quality of Writing     
Wisconsin Diversity Diversity Yes
Wyoming Diversity Diversity Yes
Yale Apparent Potential Diversity Yes

Take me back to the
"Applications" Page

Take me back to
the Home Page