Do you need an admissions consultant?

Admissions Consulting 101

At its best, working with an admissions consultant is a rewarding experience where both parties learn from one another, and where the consultancy can add a tremendous degree of value to the admissions process. The veritable admissions "bump" occurs exactly because of this teamwork — we have seen it happen thousands of times, and there is no greater professional feeling than to get a phone call from an applicant who has just been admitted to their dream school. Words we use in the world of admissions are “elevating factors” and “bumps” — what a consultant should provide to each of their clients is an exceptionally sound strategy that gives the applicant individualized and elevating factors, essentially to create a brand for each applicant for every school to which they apply.

That does not mean, of course, that every applicant needs a consultant or that there are any guarantees in law admissions. There will always be variables beyond anyone’s control.

We, as a firm, turn down about as many clients as we take. Indeed, you may not need a consultant given your numbers and professional demeanor, work experience, etc., which have already created elevating factors for you. There are also times when we assess that we can’t give someone applying to only stretches enough of the “bump,” and in these situations we will often not work with the prospective applicant. We only want relationships where we believe we can add value. There are a number of applicants every year that have already created their own elevation — be it through tremendous grades and test scores, professional experience, or excellent mentors in the legal and pre-law arena. If you are reading this and that all sounds familiar, an admissions consultant isn’t likely a need, and we will tell you this.

All of that said, a few points to consider. Just as there are factors you cannot control, there are also an almost unlimited number of nuances that are indeed within an applicants ability to get "right" or "wrong." Additionally, almost all applicants have a stretch school or, more likely, set of schools. Less than 1% have both an LSAT and GPA above the medians at every law school; fewer still have exceptionally buttoned-up applications or no complexities they need to address. Know that your LSAT and UGPA are the most important factors. Don’t ever let someone — anyone — tell you otherwise. After all, law school is an academic program, and these numbers provide some good information on your potential for academic success. But beyond that, the questions you want to ask yourself are these:

  • Do I need something that soundly and strategically differentiates me at schools I aspire to attend from the thousands of applications those schools will receive?
  • Do I know how to tell my story? How to write essays that are authentic and outstanding to me rather than trying to overly impress someone else? Have I ever been asked to write about myself before?
  • Would the process be less intimidating if I could work with someone who deeply understands the admissions process, can take out much of the stress, and give me realistic evaluations of my chances at each of my schools?
  • Do I have any sense of the right way to go about asking for an increase in scholarship award?
  • Do I know why some people get admitted off a waitlist while others with the exact same numbers get denied?
  • How do I handle the growing array of admissions interviews and additional essay questions?
  • Do I have a particularly challenging set of circumstances I need to explain?

Whatever route you choose to pursue, please keep the following in mind:

First, there is a tremendous amount of factually inaccurate advice stated with a great deal of confidence online. The genesis of our firm stemmed from reading such advice and wanting to make a difference by providing the factual answers to so many unanswered or wrongly answered questions. It is why we only focus on law admissions and why we only hire people with law admissions experience. It is also why every cycle pre-law advisors and other admissions experts have come to us for help with particularly complex cases.

Second, and above all, know that law school admissions changes every year — be it with more standardized test possibilities, more interviews from more schools, or different essay questions. What doesn’t change is the following: law school admissions professionals are the gatekeepers for a community — and they rightfully take this mandate seriously. Applicants to law school who can stay professional and upbeat despite a stressful and lengthy process often are the ones who see themselves coming out on top.