If you’re considering pursuing a JD degree at Golden Gate University, you’ll need to navigate the admissions process. Fortunately, our admissions office is here to help. We recently hosted an application overview webinar that outlined the essential components of a successful law school application to GGU. In this blog, we’ll be providing practical law school application tips for aspiring law students based on the key takeaways from our webinar. These law school application tips will give you a clear understanding of what it takes to apply to GGU’s law programs and maximize your chances of acceptance. In this practical blog, we’re sharing the key takeaways concerning:
- What is a completed application?
- How do you submit an LSAT and GRE score?
- What is a CAS report?
- How do you approach letters of recommendation?
- What is a personal statement?
- What gets included in a resume?
- What is an addenda, and does it apply to you?
A Completed Application
A completed application must have all the basic information that you would submit to any law school. This includes your biographical information, your educational background, the questions in the character and fitness section, and the proper documentation. Naturally, you must also choose between the full-time JD program or the hybrid JD Flex. Our application is housed at, lsac.org.
The LSAT and GRE
This is probably the biggest question: the LSAT or the GRE? At the moment GGU still requires a student to submit a standardized test. but we are expanding our horizons a bit. Although the LSAT is more popular, we also accept the GRE. If you have already been studying for the GRE, go right ahead. You don’t need to take the LSAT as well, because ideally, you want to start studying for it 8-12 months in advance. But the LSAT is likely the test many of you prepared for and have taken, and if so, GGU will certainly accept it.
If you take both a GRE and an LSAT, however, according to the ABA reporting standards we must always review the LSAT and just take the GRE into consideration. We encourage you to think carefully about which test to take.
Your CAS Report
LSAC’s Credential Assembly Service (CAS), simplifies the law school application process for both the candidates and law schools by bundling your transcripts, letters of recommendation, and any other required application documentation. It is a subscription that you pay once and is active for up to five years.
LSAC performs the authentication and evaluation of all materials, thus, the CAS Report really provides a valuable service for the applicant in simplifying both gathering and transmitting that information to the law schools.
Letters of Recommendation
We require a minimum of one and a maximum of four letters of recommendation. Every reviewer will approach the letters differently, but at least two letters of recommendation are preferable. (In general, it’s better to submit more than the minimum requirements for documentation.) We prefer your recommendations come from professors, professional supervisors, and colleagues, and discourage any from family members or your friends. We’re looking for individuals who can speak more to your professional and academic skills.
Writing Your Personal Statement
The most important thing to remember about your personal statement is all in the name: this is about you. You’re writing about who you are, why you want to go to law school, and what is pushing, influencing, and motivating you. It’s a personal stamp almost like an interview. Things to keep in mind include diligently following instructions and answering the specific questions that are asked. For example, “Identify characteristics and skills that would make you a good law student and future attorney.” Are you going to bring your voice in the classroom? Are you going to be that attorney who makes waves and brings about passionate change? Also, always make sure you state that you’re the one that wrote this and you received no help. We need to know that this is truly yours.
We look closely at your resume when reviewing applications. List your educational background, particularly your school, and degree. You can also include any honors or certificates you’ve achieved, whether academically or professionally. Show us your skill sets, like different Google or tech certificates and licenses. Perhaps you’re licensed to work within the insurance industry, or you’re a licensed real estate agent.
We’d also like to see your professional history. Maybe your grades aren’t perfect, but you were working full time because you had significant financial obligations and you had to balance an income with pursuing your undergraduate education. That tells us you learned time management skills, prioritization, and so much more! Finally, community service can often be an overlooked piece but we strongly encourage you to put your best foot forward by including it.
Do You Need an Addenda?
Now, we’re covering the all-important character and fitness section. These are four questions concerning academic issues, criminal action, etc. If you reply “yes” to any of those questions you are required to submit addenda describing the situation around any of those issues. Make sure that it’s all complete and clearly disclosed.
There are also other types of addenda that are optional, but we strongly encourage you to submit any information that you feel the committee should consider. Maybe there was one semester when you had a family member who was sick and you didn’t perform as well that semester. Tell us why; it may significantly impact your application in a positive way.
Our priority deadline is April 15th. It’s the ideal time frame we need to review all of your application materials and make a timely admission decision so that you have more time to prepare for your transition to law school. We do recognize that sometimes things don’t line up perfectly, so we have a final deadline of June 15th. If you apply around that deadline, we do everything we can, but it ultimately puts you at a disadvantage. Aim for April!
We saved the best for last. At Golden Gate University, we are a school of opportunity and work to help educate community leaders. Our diverse student community includes first-generation learners, BIPOC, LGBTQ+, military-affiliated, international, and non-traditional students. We’re proud to have such a diversity of students. But the cost of legal education has skyrocketed, and this became a crucial topic in legal education.
GGU Law is boldly transforming the face of legal education by offering full-tuition scholarships to all students beginning our full-time JD program in Fall 2023. Additionally, we will award a combination of full and partial tuition scholarships to JD Flex students joining us in Fall 2023. More details about scholarships are available on our financial aid page.
For a deeper dive into our application process with even more law school application tips, watch the full webinar.