Shine Bright Like a Diamond: Making an Application Stand Out

As Admission Deans, we often get asked similar questions. What is more important, the LSAT or the GPA? How long should a personal statement be? Does it look bad if I take the LSAT more than once? How do I make my application stand out? 

That last one is killer – William & Mary Law School receives between 3,500 – 4,000 applications per year; that’s a LOT of applications to read, and a lot of pieces of differentiate between. There are a few things to consider when submitting your application to ensure that you are putting your best foot forward.

  1. Don’t Be Modest – “This is not the time to shy away from highlighting your strengths and accomplishments,” says Associate Dean for Admission, Faye Shealy. Your resume should reflect your involvement, your experience, your academic honors, everything. That means being thorough with your resume, identifying the details of your internships, jobs, and responsibilities in student leadership positions. Which leads me to the next tip…
  2. Have a Professional Resume – It goes without saying that applying to a professional program requires a professional resume. Utilize your resources, like the Career Center, to help you build a professional looking resume; and please, please, please, do NOT send us a written list of the things you were involved in. If you haven’t taken the time to outline your resume in a professional manner, we assume that you haven’t taken the time to put your best application forward.
  3. Present the Best Version of You – “There is only one you – present the best version of yourself through every piece of the application,” says Senior Assistant Dean for Admission Rhianna Shabsin. That doesn’t mean changing yourself to fit what you think we’re looking for – we like diverse, unique applicants! You are the only person who has lived your experiences; let that shine through your personal statement, resume, addendum, etc.
  4. Don’t Wait – An application that is submitted earlier in the cycle says that you are prepared, you have taken the time to get your ducks in a row, and that you’re excited to apply. Keep in mind that “earlier”  means not waiting until the last minute to submit. William & Mary Law School typically gets 20% of our total application volume in the last two weeks of February – your application will stand out much more if you don’t wait!
  5. Be Thorough – Details matter, and in the process of applying to law schools, there are a lot of details. From character and fitness questions to the addendum on diversity, there is opportunity for you to provide a lot of details that may help paint a better picture of who you are and how you might fit with our program. Those are the ways we can distinguish between your application and the other 3,896!

Follow these tips, and you’ll be well on your way to standing out from the crowd. Remember to be your unique self – there is no cookie-cutter law student!