How I Navigated Law School Admissions: Saman’s Story
- Aug 12, 2022
- acceptance into law school, Law School Admissions, UCLA, Yale
- Reviewed by: Matt Riley
My first impressions of the law school admissions process were the posts I saw on social media, often starting with “I’m thrilled to announce” or “I’m excited to share that I have been accepted to [insert dream school here].” These posts, typically uploaded at the end of a lengthy and complex application cycle, provide us with a romanticized understanding of the law school admissions process and its sometimes ideal conclusion.
I want to share my story and how I navigated law school admissions, but I will start by spoiling the end of my journey. I got into my top school, and, in all honesty, I got lucky. Of course, I did things that helped me better my chances, but I want to focus on the intangibles: the things I could not prepare for, including the challenges I faced as a first-generation and low-income applicant.
My Law School Journey Began at UCLA
During my sophomore year at UCLA, one of my closest friends asked me if I would join him in studying for the LSAT. At the time, I knew little about the field of law, less about the law school admissions process, and even less about the LSAT. Thinking that the LSAT could give me insight on whether or not a career in law was right for me, I took my friend up on his offer. We began studying together—one hour a week, then two, then four, and so on. I started looking for preparatory materials, but most of the options were unaffordable. Fortunately, my friend shared his software with me; with his generosity, my law school admissions journey began.
Enter UCLA Law Fellows
After roughly a month, I began to commit to the idea of applying to law school. However, my friend’s preparatory software was not aligned with my learning style, and my LSAT practice test scores were beginning to stagnate.
I scrolled through the r/lawschooladmissions subreddit, hoping to get more information, but found myself overwhelmed by the number of applicants posting their credentials and speculating their admissions results.
So, I decided to apply to a UCLA program that another close friend had recommended: UCLA Law Fellows. The UCLA Law Fellows program is “designed to encourage and prepare high-potential undergraduate and graduate students for a career in law, increase the pipeline of diverse students interested in law, and demystify the law school experience.”
When I was accepted into the program, I received access to the information that I needed to understand the admissions process and the field of law.
In Law Fellows, the law came alive through interesting case studies and guest panels of attorneys who shared my passions and interests. Leo Trujillo-Cox, the Founding Executive Director of the Law Fellows program, and Amanda Smith, the Assistant Director of Outreach and Development, consistently encouraged us and reminded us of the importance of increasing representation for students from marginalized backgrounds in the legal world. To support us, they hosted sessions about topics such as financial literacy in law school and spoke with us about the logistics of the admissions process, including the law school application timeline.
Then We Partnered with Blueprint Prep for the LSAT
Additionally, through a partnership with Blueprint, every member of the UCLA Law Fellows cohort received access to a free Blueprint LSAT course. We had the choice of either a live or self-paced course; since I had already begun studying for the LSAT with another software, albeit poorly, I chose the self-paced course.
Blueprint helped me fill the gaps in my LSAT knowledge, and its practice set function helped me master my timing and narrow in on complex concepts. Perhaps most importantly, having access to free materials suited to my learning style alleviated some of my financial burdens and placed me on equal ground with applicants who could afford sophisticated software.
Ultimately, after studying for another few months, I took the LSAT in October of 2021 and submitted my applications in early December. In February 2022, I was admitted to Yale Law School, where I will begin in the fall of 2023.
A Note About Low-Income and First-Generation Law School Students
For low-income and first-generation law school applicants, preparing and registering for the LSAT, acquiring the necessary LSAC materials to upload letters of recommendation and transcripts, and submitting applications to schools is expensive, time-consuming, and stressful.
While fee waivers and financial aid are available to some applicants, more progress must be made to eradicate the financial burden of preparing for law school. This burden often inhibits even the most qualified applicants from putting their best foot forward in their applications.
That is why I got lucky. One of my friends decided to share his preparatory software long enough for me to get started with the LSAT, there was a program at my university that helped “demystify the law school experience,” and I was able to utilize Blueprint, a high-quality course that enabled me to score well on the LSAT, for free.
Where My Journey Ends and Yours Begins
So, what do I hope that a future applicant will take away from my law school admissions journey?
First, I encourage every applicant to go beyond the headlines of a law school acceptance post. Find inspiration in the success of others, but remember that everyone travels at their own pace and with their own unique circumstances.
Second, develop connections with community members applying to or attending law school or practicing law. I am grateful that there were people in my network who had similar career goals and were able to inform me about programs and opportunities that I would not have pursued otherwise.
Finally, share what you learn about the law school admissions process with others as you learn it. Even imperfect information shared across similarly oriented people can challenge misconceptions and move you and others toward creating stronger applications. Thank you for taking the time to learn about my journey, and I wish you success in yours.
If you want to start with free prep resources, Blueprint offers a free LSAT bundle.
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