It is not enough to be smart and have good grades, you need to learn about how to get into Columbia Law School by knowing how your application will be evaluated, how to improve your application and how to apply in a timely manner. The following tips will make sure you are on your way to being accepted to one of the nation's best law schools:
- How the admissions committee evaluates applications. If you look at Columbia Law School's Website, it reads: "Applications are evaluated holistically…" This can be misleading; if your index score (i. e. combination of your LSAT and GPA, with LSAT carrying more weight) does not fall within a certain range, your application might not be given more than a cursory glance. Basically, your application will be placed in one of three piles: Not a chance–Hopefully you applied to other law schools; Maybe–constitutes the majority of applicants; credentials not great enough to warrant automatic admission, but not deficient enough to immediately dismiss; Likely–If your LSAT score and GPA are in the top 25 percent of the range of average admitted students, you fall into the likely pile. Your personal statement will be given the once over to make sure you don't "carry around a shrunken head" (true story from admissions counselor) and you have a good chance of getting in.
- How to improve your application. In 2009, Columbia University ranked number three in the nation's best law schools. 15.8 percent of applicants were admitted; LSAT scores of admitted students ranged from 169-174, with corresponding GPAs of 3.56-3.81. The median LSAT score was 172 and the median GPA was 3.72. Basically, even though there are not "cut off scores," if your numbers do not fall within the top 25 percent, your application needs improvement.
- Don't take the "real" LSAT until you have taken a timed practice test. Many people can obtain a perfect LSAT score if they are not under time constraints; the most difficult aspects of the LSAT are thinking quickly and maintaining your focus while wading through terse prose. Take a proctored LSAT; that way you can know how much (if any) studying you will need to prepare for test day.
Take a Prep Course. If you didn't score upwards of 170 on your practice test, you will want to take an LSAT prep course; many testing centers offer a guaranteed increase in performance and offer many different options from individual tutoring to a classroom style setting.
- Take more classes. If your undergraduate GPA is less than 3.5, you should consider taking some additional classes as a post-baccalaureate student to improve your overall GPA.
- Apply Early. Law schools would generally rather have too many students than too few since more students means more tuition money. If you are sure you want to attend Columbia University, you should consider the early review option. The proverbial bar is set a bit lower early in the admission season, because law schools do not know how many applications they will receive. This will increase your chances of being accepted. Additionally, early review applicants are notified by the end of December.