Narrow Down Law School Choices With The 3.3 Method

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Narrow Down Law School Choices With The 3.3 Method

Applying to law school is expensive and time-consuming. Although some schools will waive the application fee under certain circumstances, applying to 10 or more schools is a titanic process, even when you’re not being charged to do it.

It’s important to have a strategy that ensures you are applying to all the schools you’re a good fit for a while, not wasting your time and energies on schools you’re not a good fit for.

Start Broad

Find schools with programs, offerings, and specializations that fit your experience, talents, and interests.

Do some research. In the “When I’m a Lawyer Exercise” in the PSU course, we give you lots of great resources to create a career vision, and then in the “When I’m in Law School Exercise,” you can find the schools that match that vision.

If you don’t have access to the course, you can still research schools. Interested in International Law? Find schools with robust international law course offerings and extracurricular activities. Don’t worry about how competitive they are yet.

Narrow down the list with The 3.3 Method.

Once you’ve got all the schools that match your talents and experience, it helps to sort them into three categories: Reach Schools (hard but not impossible to get into), Target Schools (good chance but no guarantee of admission), and Safety Schools (schools you’re almost guaranteed to get into).

The strength of the other parts of your application can affect this calculus, but the easiest way to sort them out is by median LSAT and GPA.

The first 3 in 3.3 is 3 points of the LSAT score. A school with a median LSAT within 3 points on either side of your best LSAT score is in your target LSAT range. So, for instance, if you’ve got a 165, then target LSAT median schools have a median between 162-168.

The .3 refers to GPA. Something is in your target GPA range if its median is within .3 points of your GPA on either side. So if you have a 3.3, then schools with a median GPA between 3.0-3.6 are in your target range.

Schools above both target ranges are Reach Schools, and schools below both ranges are Safety Schools.

But there’s more to getting in than GPA and LSAT.

Schools really do consider the totality of your application and don’t forget that what “median” means is about half of the students at that school did worse than that. If you have lots of rich experience and a great personal statement and letters of recommendation, then don’t let a school existing well into the Reach category slip by because you think you don’t have the numbers.

Law schools are looking to put together a richly diverse 1L class, and if they can see experience and depth of understanding elsewhere in your application, they can well decide that you should be admitted in spite of less impressive numbers.

Posted in
Branden Frankel, Esq.

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