Should I apply?

by Brian Wall

As I meet with prospective students, one questions comes up again and again.  The precursor to the question is often different, but the question itself is the same: “Should I apply?”  We want anyone who wants to be part of the William & Mary Law School community to apply to join our ranks.  In case there is someone out there who has not been able to personally ask me this question, I want to address some of the circumstances that other prospective students have invoked as they have asked whether or not they should apply.

1) “My GPA/LSAT is lower than your median score.  Should I apply?”  We are grateful for the high caliber of students who make William & Mary Law school such an outstanding institution, but this does mean that getting into William & Mary is challenging.  For the Class of 2014, the median LSAT score was 165 (with a 75th/25th percentile range of 167-161) and the median GPA was 3.73 (with a 75th/25th percentile range of 3.82-3.46).  However, those numbers are not minimum numbers.  Additionally, it is important to know that our application process is not only about the numbers: we consider your entire application, and in many cases applicants with scores below our medians have been accepted based on their strong potential as evidenced by other aspects of the application.  Answer: YES, you should apply!

2) “My major doesn’t have anything to do with law or politics.  Should I apply?”  The stereotype of a pre-law student is usually a political science major with a minor in history.  While we’ve had our fair share of those here at William & Mary, we take students from every academic background.  Current William & Mary students studied economics, engineering, English literature, business, communications, finance, foreign languages, hard sciences, sociology, psychology… you get the point.  No matter what your undergraduate major was, the answer is: YES, you should apply!

3) “I will be graduating this spring and don’t have any work experience.  Should I apply, or should I take time off to work?”  This one is really up to you.  A lot of our students have come straight through college and enter law school immediately after graduating from their undergraduate experience, while others take time off to work, volunteer, travel, or pursue other opportunities.  Your application will not be adversely affected if you come straight through or if you take some time off, so the answer is: once you’re ready, YES, you should apply!  Conversely…

4) “I have been out of school for a long time and am significantly older than most of your students.  Should I apply, or is it unrealistic to think that I can compete with much younger students?”  We have had a number of “non-traditional” students not only be admitted to William & Mary Law, but do significantly well while they have been here.  One of my classmates, for example, was a nurse with thirty years of experience who decided to change course and become a lawyer.  She was very successful in her time here.  Answer: YES, you should apply!

5) “I don’t know exactly what I want to do with my law degree.  Should I apply?”  Hopefully if you are applying to law school you at least know that you want to practice law in some capacity; if you aren’t sure of this yet, you might want to take some time to consider if this is really right for you, as law school is a major time and money investment.  However, if you know you want to be a lawyer but are not sure exactly how, that is a different matter altogether.  While some first-year students come in with a laser-sharp focus on a particular career path, most law students have not yet been exposed to every area of legal work, and that’s entirely normal.  You will have a number of opportunities to meet practitioners in a variety of fields and, though clinics, internships, externships, and courses, will have practical experience in the areas of your choosing.  The answer is: YES, you should apply!

If you are still wondering whether you should apply to William & Mary and your question was not addressed here, please feel free to email or call me.  I would love to speak with you, and chances are good that my answer to you will also be “YES, you should apply!”