Monday, August 24, 2015

Ask Asha: What are some common mistakes to avoid?


There are a few common mistakes that applicants make in their application to Yale Law School. The first one, which is pretty easy to fix, is having typos and grammatical errors in their application. Students should have other people proofread their application and not rely only on spell check or autocorrect because sometimes that can translate into things that you just don’t want in your application.

The second mistake that students make in applying to Yale Law School is not submitting two academic letters of reference. And this is kind of specific to Yale Law School, but because our admissions process is faculty driven, our faculty really want to know what a student is like to have in class, and to that end they really want to see recommendations from other professors. Even for students who have been out of school for a while, they should make the effort to submit at least two letters of reference—academic letters—and they can submit a professional, a letter from their employer if they’ve been working. It won’t hurt them, but it’s not going to take the place of an academic letter.

The last mistake that applicants make with alarming frequency is lying on their application. And this is pretty bad. What I tell students is, “If it’s bad enough to keep you out of law school, it’s probably going to keep you from practicing law, so you might as well know now.” But the truth is I’ve very rarely seen something that’s so bad that would keep them from either getting into a law school or from entering the profession. But what can keep you from doing both is lying about anything, even the most minor thing. A lack of candor indicates a serious character issue. And we are admitting people into a profession, and character and fitness, including integrity and honesty and the ability to represent clients and being held to the highest standards are a part of the application process and students need to demonstrate that when they apply.

Asha Rangappa, Associate Dean for Admissions & Financial Aid, cautions against making common errors. Read more tips in Asha's blog entries Bad Idea Jeans: Setting Your Pants on Fire, Bad Idea Jeans: The biggest mistake you can make in your Yale Law School application, and Bad Idea…Trousers?