September 15, 2021
Katie Merrill is the director of admissions at Vermont Law School, a powerhouse of admissions knowledge, and a former grassroots organizer. She saw how the status quo was no longer acceptable and personally saw the difference a person can make in the world. This is her ninth year serving VLS by finding top-notch leaders to join our community.
Here are her top five tips for applying to law school:
5. Research: Before jumping into the admissions process with any law school it is important to get to know what that school stands for and if it aligns with your goals. Research where the alumni have been employed post-graduation, what LSAT median scores they accept, what the faculty specializes in, and what academic support and bar preparation is offered by the school. Aligning the right law school with your professional goals can propel you into the field of your dreams. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to the admissions officer, they are here to help you find the school that is the best fit for you.
4. Don’t Apply Late: Create a timeline that allows you to concentrate and not rush, but still gets your application in front of admissions officers early. Take the time needed to craft a cohesive application that paints a picture of you as a professional, well-rounded candidate. It takes time to perfect all the parts of an application and the best ones are thoughtful and cohesive. Scholarships and openings often run dry later in the admissions cycle. Applying earlier gives you the best-case scenario. Start early.
3. Networking: Take the time to have real conversations with professors, pre-law advisors, and law school admissions officers. This process of sharing advice, challenges, and experiences will help you gain insight into what is possible through law school. These relationships will start building your future and carry with you through law school and beyond.
“Everything carries forward. Your law school career begins now. It is so much more than studying for the LSAT, it is about developing skills that will further your professional career,” - Katie Merill, director of admissions
2. Professionalism: Presenting yourself in a professional way throughout the admissions process, law school, and your entry into the legal field is about creating a reputation that exudes the dignity and respect of the legal profession. Practice professionalism in your day-to-day life by maintaining confidence under pressure, not acting out of emotion, and being considerate when disagreements arise. Vermont Law School takes professionalism seriously by having this oath sworn in before a Vermont Supreme Court justice by all students upon their first morning of school:
“I pledge that I will uphold the highest standards of academic excellence, honesty, professionalism, and integrity. In my academic and professional life, I will treat others with dignity, respect, and courtesy. I commit myself to zealous advocacy for justice and to ethical service without prejudice.”
1. Mental Health: Since law school is one of the most rigorous academic experiences possible, it is important to start taking care of your mental health now. Every little moment of mindfulness or rest helps develop skills that will set up for the best success in the application process, in law school, and into your career. Now is the time to create mental health habits that will follow you into law school and set you up for success.