1. Do not obsesses over any one school.
This cycle, probably more than any other, I have heard "I want X Law School by far — there isn't really any other school that's close." Often when I follow-up with a simple "why is that?" there isn't really a concrete answer. "For whatever reason when I think about UVa I just can't get it out of my mind," or something along those lines.
We (Spivey Consulting) have already seen applicants denied by T14's and yet admitted by T3's. Point being, there are so many variables involved in admissions. YES, for certain, LSAT and LSAC computed uGPA sit at the top. But there are thousands of others. While any one school can deny you for whatever reasons, another school may admit you the same day. Want an example? Years ago I knew an applicant who had a C&F violation for trespassing. A school that quickly glanced this over would see it as a de-elevating factor. But the backstory was that he and a group of friends were reading Harry Potter at a cemetery at night. This was during travel season when about 9 out of every 10 admissions officers were also reading Harry Potter on the road. While one school saw this as a negative, this actually helped the applicant at a bunch more. You almost couldn't manufacture a better C&F issue.
You cannot extrapolate one admissions decision across other schools with just numbers alone — and in this cycle more than in in the past six you should cast a broad net. Unless you have family/personal reasons to be in an exact geographic location, I would be looking nationwide at schools.
2. Similarly, be opened minded about rankings.
To begin with, the 14th ranked school isn't "one better" than the 15th ranked school and "one worse" than the 13th ranked. That's a rather meaningless and arbitrary way to look at where you will spend the next three years of your life. Additionally, especially when you move out of the T20, rankings can really fluctuate. If you were hoping to go to a T30 and ruled out a school at #35, well the following year or two it could be #27.
Start looking at/making a list of what you want to compare across schools — average starting salaries, courses offered in your area of focus, job placement rates, net cost of attendance, clinics offered, etc. Schools will likely be taking a longer time to get out decisions, and having a set of questions you want to compare across schools will make it easier to focus when you do get admitted to a school close to another school's deposit deadline.
3. Visit schools.
Yes, visit to get your own impressions on them, but most importantly, actually visit the campus, because it helps with your admission prospects. Of our clients who get into schools late cycle below medians, almost all have visited said schools. You become much more memorable in person, and a visit is indeed a tracked data point to show interest.
If you can't visit, try actually calling an admissions officer (once) and expressing how interested you are and how much you'd love to visit but why you can't.
As far as impressions go, in person > phone > email > infinitely greater than sending someone you've never met a Facebook message (please stop doing that to me :).
4. Read these blogs.
- Looking Back: Admissions Lessons Learned from Current Law Students
- Well below your dream school's LSAT? It can still happen.
- Getting Admitted Below Both Medians (here's how we did it)
5. And then read this one.
Finally, we are still able to take a few more clients for this cycle and reservations for this approaching new admissions cycle. You can check all of that out here.