Applying for law school can be very competitive, and if you are looking to improve your chances you may be wondering if an undergraduate degree from a certain institution can help you get into the law program at the same place. Many law schools are housed at universities that offer undergraduate programs and it is a common occurrence for undergraduates to go to law school at the same place.
In general, law schools do not show preference to their own undergraduates. Most law school admissions judge applicants on criteria that have little to do with their undergraduate institution and instead focus on performance and skills. If there is any preference, it is very slight and probably not intentional.
If you are reluctant to apply to a law school where you didn’t receive your undergraduate degree, do not be so hesitant. Most law programs value diversity of experience and consist of students who received their undergraduate degrees in various places. Keep reading to learn more about the law school admissions process and just how important your undergrad is for acceptance to a law school.
Is it Easier to Get Into a Law School Where You Attended Undergrad?
If you are hoping to find an easy route to law school, you should not count on being accepted to the same place that you attended during your undergrad. Most law schools do not show any preference toward the students who previously attended their institution and prefer to take an unbiased approach toward selecting applicants.
However, some extremely prestigious law schools such as Harvard and Yale may admit more applicants who attended their universities or other ivy league undergraduate institutions. The reason for this is not the name associated with the undergraduate degree, but rather the experiences and connections a student receives at these institutions that make them a stronger applicant overall.
While it may not be advantageous to have an undergrad degree from a place where you are applying to law school, it is not disadvantageous either. A law school will not seek to avoid accepting applicants from their undergraduate programs, but will instead look at other qualifications that are irrespective of the school where you earned your degree.
Should I Apply at My Undergraduate Alma Mater?
With this information in mind, you may still wish to apply to your undergraduate institution. It can be helpful to do so for the following reasons:
- Culture: You are already familiar with the culture and atmosphere of the particular school, resulting in an easier transition to law school.
- Connections: Your undergraduate connections may help you create a strong network of alumni and professors in the law program.
- Expectations: Though law school can certainly be different in its expectations, you probably will have a baseline knowledge of the rigor of your university that will help you prepare for the difficulties of law school.
In short, if you liked your undergraduate institution and its legal program is appealing, do not hesitate to apply there. While you cannot count on a guaranteed admission, you may find the overall adjustment easier if you are accepted and decide to attend.
Is Undergrad Important For Law School?
Sometimes it can be difficult to predict exactly what a law school admissions committee is looking for in applicants, but rest assured that your undergraduate degree is extremely important for law school.
To clarify, this does not mean the location where you received your undergraduate degree is important. In general, law schools are more interested in other factors of your application than the name associated with your degree. So, if you attended undergrad at a lower-ranked state school but have an outstanding resume and LSAT scores, you need not shy away from applying to the most prestigious programs.
Your undergraduate degree is important with regards to how well it prepared you for the demands of law school. In general, law school admissions values the following things in students:
- Academic performance: Regardless of your major, you will be a competitive applicant to law school if you have a record of academic success. This means that you have taken rigorous classes throughout your undergrad and attained good grades in all of them. Overall, GPA does matter for law programs.
- LSAT scores: The LSAT is often used as a measure of how well you will do in law school, and nearly all programs require it. Having an outstanding LSAT score will demonstrate your potential for the law to admissions committees.
- Professional and extracurricular pursuits: If you are interested in a certain type of law, having some experience in that sector, whether it be through a job or an internship, may give your application an edge. For instance, if you are interested in environmental law and spent time interning for an environmental nonprofit, highlight this on your application.
- References: Having references who know you well and can speak to your capacity for law school is essential. Seek out the recommendations of professors or professional connections who will be willing to support you and advocate for your abilities.
Though many people may decide to pursue a career in the law long after graduating undergrad, how you used your time in your undergrad still matters. Do not worry about the school name associated with your degree, but make sure your application is strong in the above key areas.
As you apply to law schools, it may seem impossible at times to decipher your chances at admissions. However, attending undergrad at a place where you wish to attend law school will not guarantee you admission nor will it disadvantage you.
While preparing your applications, invest more energy into researching programs that fit and interest you rather than programs that you believe you have a connection to. Focus on creating an application that highlights your unique skills and shows an admissions committee why you are a great candidate. If you have a strong application, you are much more likely to be accepted at any law school you apply to.