How to get into 4 of the best law schools in the US, according to consultants, admissions officers, and students

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Attending law school is time-consuming and expensive, but if you end up in the right program, it could lead to a fulfilling and successful career.

For example, according to Yale Law School’s website, over 13,000 YLS alumni are leaders in their organizations — and a decade after graduating they almost unanimously express job satisfaction.

But to get into a top school, you’ll need more than just high test scores. Here are some tips and best strategies on how to get accepted into one of the best law schools in the country, according to people who’ve done it. 

Yale Law School

Yale Law School is the No. 1 law school in the US, according to US News & World Report, while the 2023 acceptance rate was a slim 7.3%.

Yale places high emphasis on obtaining letters of recommendation from professors who know you well and can personally evaluate aspects of your academic work. Something unique about the YLS admissions process is their faculty is heavily involved in selecting each class, so they might especially value strong academic letters. 

Read more: How to get into Yale Law School, the No. 1 program in the US

Columbia Law School

Columbia Law School is currently recognized as the fourth best law school in the US, trailing only Yale, Stanford, and Harvard (and tied with the University of Chicago). Of the more than 7,000 students who applied for the class of 2020, only about 16% were accepted.

Applicants to Columbia Law should pay extra attention to their personal statements. Use this as an opportunity to reveal who you really are and what you’re passionate about. Having strong reasons to be in New York City helps as well since it’s an integral part of the school, Timothy Knox, a law school admissions counselor, told Insider. 

Read more: Admissions consultants and recent graduates of Columbia Law share what it takes to get into the top 5 law school

UChicago Law School

UChicago Law School consistently ranks among the most prestigious graduate law programs in the world, with an acceptance rate of 18%. Unlike some of the other top schools, UChicago Law has an especially small class size, at just over 600 full-time students. (Columbia, which shares its No. 4 ranking, has double the number.)

The community prioritizes close faculty engagement and “the life of the mind.” Once you’ve taken your LSAT and applied, prepare for your interview by nailing your answer to the question, “Why UChicago?”

Read more: UChicago Law students and a dean of admissions explain how to nail your interview and personal statement to land a spot at the elite law school

Harvard Law School

In 2018, Harvard Law School — currently third in the rankings — offered admission to just 12% of applicants. In 2019, it made the shift to rounds of admission.

Per law school admissions coaching consultant Anna Ivey, “HLS admissions officers are very conscientious about recruiting minorities of various kinds: They want a diversity of people and geographic areas,” including veterans and older applicants. This means there’s no standard profile for an HLS student. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t fit what you think to be their ideal type of candidate.

Read more: How to get into Harvard Law School, according to the chief admissions officer, students, and admissions consultants

SEE ALSO: The 8 best executive MBAs that let you get a prestigious degree from anywhere in the world while working full time

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