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You want to hold off making your official list of schools you want to apply to on your LSAC account until after August. The reason for this is that it purges school lists in August to make room for new applications. This does not mean you should not make your own personal list however. You also want to sort your schools using a method known as “reach, target and safety”. What this does is allow you to apply to a number of different schools, increasing you chances of being accepted. The following is an explanation of the “reach, target and safety” method you can use to target and organize your list of schools and how to use the Law School Predictor to help you create this list:
Schools that fall into the “reach” category are schools that have higher standards for admission than you actually have. They might require a higher GPA or higher LSAT score than you have attained. Using the Law School Prediction scale, these schools may be classified as a “deny” or “weak consider”. This means that you may not be accepted into these schools, but even if your GPA or LSAT score is not high enough, a compelling personal statement and excellent personal recommendations may add weight to the balance in your favor and you may be accepted.
Schools in the “target” category are ones that your LSAT scores and GPA fit into their range of acceptance. You may be on the high or low end of the range, but with a well-written personal statement and good recommendations, you more than likely will have no issues with being accepted. Using the criteria of the Law School Prediction scale, these would fall into the “consider” or “strong consider” category. Depending on where you stand on your scores, it will gauge how much you need to put into your personal statement.
Schools in the “safety” category are schools that have criteria that your scores exceed. These schools you will probably be accepted to with an average personal statement and average letters of recommendation. Using the Law School Prediction scale, these would be schools that fall into the “admit” category.
You are probably wondering why, knowing you will probably not be accepted, you should apply to schools that you know are possibly out of your league. Doing this allows you to apply to schools that you have dreamed of going to, but have not been able to attain the grades and scores they are looking for. It eliminates the “what if”, as there may be a small chance that the quality of your personal statement or letters of recommendation catch the attention of the hiring committee, and you may end up getting into your dream school.