Why Is the Interview Important?
Prospective law students should seek an interview because it is one of the few ways to set an application apart from the growing number of law school hopefuls whose test scores, undergraduate transcripts, and recommendations are all remarkable. Even what were once thought to be more competitive advantages, like work experience in a professional setting, are becoming more commonplace, and interviews can sometimes be weighted as high as 20 percent in the formula used to rank enrollees.
Also, since no one is perfect, the interview is a chance to explain face to face any breaks, lapses, or other questionable marks on your academic or work histories. Many law programs will forgo an impeccable history for potential excellence, but without the opportunity to meet you in person, they will never know your value.
What's in an Interview?
Many law schools pay traveling representatives to interview prospective students in lieu of an on-campus meeting. However, depending on your level of interest in a program, a school visit might be just the thing you need to fully commit. A school visit is a great opportunity to meet other students who have chosen the program, as well as the faculty members with whom you will work closely. Commit enough time to the interview to explore the campus, classrooms, and student service facilities.
After you have confirmed the date and time of your interview, you should be sure that you have accurate directions and that you know exactly who you will be speaking with and their professional title. (Also, be sure you know the number of people you will be talking to, since speaking to a crowd requires a different approach than one-on-one conversation.) Send copies of your résumé to each person you'll be meeting with, and bring additional copies along with you. You'll want to treat your law school admissions interview much like you would treat an important job interview: Wear appropriate clothing, be sure to speak clearly and concisely, and emphasize the attributes of your personality and academic history that will be most valuable in getting accepted to your program. Reading up on the school beforehand will give you a good idea of the institution's goals and expectations from students.
Again, placing as much importance as possible on this interview will ensure a more successful outcome. When speaking, ask questions that will prompt information that you actually find valuable—not just conversational “filler.” A good way to stave off nervousness is to listen carefully to what each speaker is saying and anticipate questions. Be conscious of your tone; with some practice you can avoid sounding pretentious or meek. While some of the interviewer's questions will be designed to catch you off guard, be assured that the purpose of this interview is not to trick you—law schools just want to find the best and brightest among incoming candidates.By Hannah Roberts