4 Things You Must Do to Transfer Law Schools

If you're a transfer student, don't make these mistakes.

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It’s not uncommon for an undergraduate student to graduate college from a different university than the one they started at as a freshman. Many students decide to transfer schools at some point during their university experience. What is not quite as common, but does happen, in transferring law schools.

If you are thinking about transferring law schools, there are important things you need to consider.

After all, getting into one school is tough. But doing it twice can be equally – if not more – challenging. Let’s look at four things students must do to successfully transfer in law school.

1. Get the best grades you can in your 1L year.

When it comes to evaluating transfer students, admission committees look primarily at grades, not your LSAT score or college GPA. The first-year transcript, including grades and percentile ranking among your peers, is what’s going to get you admitted to your desired school. As such, if your goal is to transfer as a 2L, this should be your absolutely priority. You may even consider getting a tutor to help you meet the goal.

2. Write a compelling personal statement.

Most law schools require a transfer applicant to submit a personal statement. Be sure to write the most compelling essay you can, and address why you want to transfer to this new school. Many students opt to visit the school so they can write exactly what the school will offer them, using real examples from the law school.

Admissions committee members will be impressed you took the time to not visit their school, but also articulate those reasons for wanting to attend. While the angle of your personal statement may be different as a transfer compared to a first year applicant, these resources are still applicable and can help you.

3. Develop relationships with 1L professors.

You will need to submit letters of recommendation to transfer law schools. As such, it’s critical to build relationships with your professors so they can write a letter on your behalf. I recommend developing a rapport with at least two instructors. Other than participating in class and getting a good grade, make sure to visit the professor’s office hours and engage with them outside of class. The better you know the instructor, the better they can write a compelling letter or recommendation for your transfer application. Here is a short guide on how to go about asking for a recommendation.

4. Participate in extra-curricular activates.

A law school admissions panel wants to see they are admitting a transfer student who will engage with its school. This means not just attending classes and getting good grades, but also attending extra-curricular law activities, attending lectures and going to networking events. If you are in the habit of doing this at your current law school, you will likely be looked more favorably upon when transferring. Once you have transferred to a new law school, make sure you’re taking the right steps to ensure your 2L and 3L years are met with success.

While you can expect different law schools to have many of the same application requirements for transfer students, be sure to check the specific requirements of the school you are transferring to before it is time to quickly complete the packet. The earlier you know what is required, the better you can prepare for it. You can find this information on the schools websites or, more conveniently, on the schools about.com profile

Some schools have different orientations for transfer students, but either way you will most likely have another orientation to go through. Read our tips for getting through law school orientation here.

Transferring law schools is an important decision that should not be taken lightly. Really make sure it is what you want to do! To learn more about being a transfer student at a law school, click here.