Katrin Hussmann Schroll
Assistant Dean of Admissions
University of Miami School of Law
What are your best tips for asking for an application fee waiver?
If you are asking for the application fee waiver in writing, make sure the e-mail is professional, well-written and outlines your interest in the program. If you are asking for the application fee waiver in person, wait until the end of the conversation to ask for the application fee waiver. It should never be a conversation starter!
Honestly, what is “yield protection” and does it really exist?
Yield protection is an enrollment management practice, in which applicants meet admissions considerations but are not admitted because they have a low probability of enrollment. We do not engage in this practice at Maryland Carey Law.
Our admissions policy focuses on the academic potential of applicants coupled with a flexible assessment of applicants' talents, experiences and potential to contribute to the learning of those around them. Each applicant is evaluated on the basis of all the information available in their file, including a personal statement, letters of recommendation, and resume.
Understanding that all schools may have different procedures, but generally, if an applicant doesn’t get accepted to a school when they applied ED, do they automatically get rolled over to regular decision or is it possible that you can be rejected directly from ED?
ED programs and their policies vary greatly. Therefore, it is important for applicants to fully evaluate ED agreements prior to committing to such programs. At Maryland Carey Law, ED applicants could be rolled over to our regular decision process, or in some cases, we are not in a position to offer admission.
Understanding that all schools may have different procedures, but generally, what is the latest you would recommend a student taking the LSAT if they wanted to apply to law school during a given admissions cycle?
Generally, the most competitive time to submit an application is before January 31. Therefore, I would encourage students to plan to take the LSAT before then. However, if an applicant reasonably believes they can improve their score, I would suggest taking the LSAT again, even if it is later in the cycle.
Will K-JDs need to submit to LSAC another copy of their transcript after the fall semester and/or spring semester of their senior year? And, be honest, how much does a POST-admission GPA really matter to an admissions committee?
If the applicant has a strong academic record in their last semesters, and their GPA improves, I would encourage submitting an updated transcript to LSAC. Any information submitted post-admission, may be included in scholarship considerations.
The Law School Application
In your view, what is the biggest impact that can be had by hiring a law school admissions consultant?
An admissions consultant can provide individualized attention and help an applicant better navigate the application process. A consultant with law school experience, can steer applicants in the right direction, and provide guidance in a way that an admissions officer might not be able to out of fairness for other applicants.
When reviewing an applicant's file, where do you typically start and what part do you tend to spend the most time (and why)?
When reviewing an applicant’s file, I evaluate the application form first – it gives me a strong foundation for the rest of the file. I spend the most time in the personal statement. It is the most critical component of the application. It allows a reviewer to evaluate an applicant’s writing, desire to become a lawyer, character and judgement.
Aside from typos, or naming the wrong law school, what are the other two biggest mistakes that far too many students make in their personal statements?
Too many applicants use the personal statement as another opportunity to outline all of their professional experience. The personal statement is one of the best opportunities to stand out in the application process and repeating the information available in the resume does not provide reviewers with any new information. The personal statement is intended to give an applicant the opportunity to present information and perspectives regarding their background, experience, special circumstances, and interests.
The second common mistake is using quotes – rarely do they work in a personal statement. The personal statement is intended to give you a chance to show who you are as an applicant and the voice that you bring to a law school classroom. Don’t use someone else’s words, show reviewers that you are the law student they want in their class.
The best personal statements I’ve read always contain:
A compelling first sentence.
If a law school has a page limit for their personal statement but does not list a font size min/max, what do you recommend?
12 point font, double spaced. Personal statements should be easy to read.
Name TWO things that all applicants need to consider when asking for a letter of recommendation.
(1) Confirm that the recommender supports your decision to go to law school. (2)Provide the recommender with some direction as to what skills, and talents they should highlight, that would be helpful to your application.
A resumé is a resumé, however, aside from typos, what are TWO things you've seen included on a resumé that can totally sink an applicant?
Poorly written objective sections. An objective section is not necessary for a law school application. We know the objective -- be admitted to law school.
Too many typos. We want applicants who pay attention to detail and are serious about the application process. Law school is a big commitment and we want to make sure you are taking it seriously.
Character & Fitness
What is the impact of failing to disclose something on the Character & Fitness section of the application?
It depends on the information that was not disclosed. In the event that the information disclosed would have prevented your admission, the school could revoke their admission decision.
What’s your best advice for students wrestling whether to disclose unflattering periods in their past?
Talk to an admissions representative and seek their input about to how to best handle disclosures. Depending on the questions for each school, there may be information that you don’t have to disclose, and some that you are required to disclose.
The Admissions Review
What is the best way to prepare for an admissions interview, either online or in person?
Review the application that you submitted to the school, and make sure you know why you applied to that law school.
What is the one thing a student does NOT want to do during their interview?
Applicants that talk about their interest in programs that the school does not offer.
What are TWO things you hope you leave an admissions interview knowing about the candidate?
After every interview, we hope to learn why does the applicant want to join the legal profession, and why they find our program to be the right fit for them.
What is the best question a candidate ever asked YOU during an admissions interview?
How do you think your programs and services will help me achieve my dream law job?
The Dreaded Waitlist
For waitlisted candidates who would immediately accept an offer of admission, how would you recommend that they convey that enthusiasm with your admissions team (and how often)?
Waitlisted candidates that are ready to commit to a program, should submit a continued interest statement prior to the first commitment deadline (typically early April), and once more after the second commitment deadline (typically mid-June).
When you do go to your waitlist, what piece of information most significantly impacts your decision to extend an offer of admission?
It depends on the time of the year. Strong academic performance, work experience, and genuine interest in the program always helps applicants stand out in the waitlist process.
Aside from an outright denial of your offer, what is the most frustrating thing a student can do after being offered a spot from the waitlist?
Applicants who email and call continuously to check for updates on their file.
Social Media & Internet Forums
What role, if any, does an applicant’s social media presence play in the admission decision (LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram)?
Social media presence is not part of the admission decision. The Admissions Committee only reviews information provided by the applicant.
Do you, or members of your admission team, review Internet forums that discuss the law school admissions process (e.g., r/lawschooladmissions, LawSchoolNumbers) and, if so, what information do you typically learn or seek to learn?
Yes. It is helpful to assess how applicants feel about navigating our admissions process.
If you review internet admissions forums, in your estimation, what percent of the time are references to your law school or the procedures followed in your admission office INACCURATE.
It depends on the forum. Generally, I find a lot of misinformation.
Have you ever tried to identify an Internet forum poster in your applicant pool and, if so, were you successful?
Yes, and we were successful.
Visits & Admitted Students Days
If you were a prospective student visiting a law school, name TWO things you would do and/or look out for during the campus tour.
(1) Sit in a class – it gives you a good sense of the student body. (2) Meet with a current 2L or 3L – they can answer questions about the law school experience that websites and admissions officer may not be able to.
If you were a prospective student visiting a law school, what TWO questions you would ask current students?
(1) How does the career development office help students obtain internships and post-graduation employment? (2) How engaged is the alumni network with the student body? What type of opportunities are available to students to network with alumni?
If you were a prospective student visiting a law school, what TWO questions you would ask law school administrators or faculty?
1) What do you like best about working for the law school?
2) What opportunities are available for faculty members to mentor law students?