Fewer and fewer law schools these days offer interviews as part of their admissions processes, but notables that still do include Harvard, the University of Chicago, and Northwestern. Law school admissions interviews at Harvard and Chicago are conducted by Skype, and these schools extend interviews to candidates on an invitation-only basis. Northwestern gives applicants the option to request an interview, either in person (on-campus or off-campus) or via video.
1. Find a suitable environment
If you’re speaking with an admissions representative on Skype, they’ll be able to see (and hear) where you’re interviewing from. Make sure to choose a quiet location indoors with a plain background – that way the focus will be on you, not on your Chihuahua’s barks from the kitchen or on a blaring television set. The place should also allow you to speak up, clearly and loudly, so the main hall of the library is probably not your best bet.
2. Dress professionally
Just because admissions officers can only see you from your shoulders up doesn’t give you leeway to wear a Halloween costume to your interview. Dress for success – even if interviewers can’t see your slacks, you’ll take your own interview more seriously if you feel appropriately dressed.
3. Brainstorm responses
Prepare responses to some of the most common questions – questions like “Why Northwestern?” or “What interests you about law?” or “Tell me about a time when you demonstrated leadership.” However, don’t memorize notes from your brainstorming session. You should be able to adapt to any question an interviewer throws at you, so memorizing a strictly formulaic response can backfire.
4. Review your application materials
It doesn’t work in your favor when an admissions officer asks you about your involvement in fantasy football and you draw a blank before realizing that’s a whole section on your resume. Know your application materials well and review your resume to ensure you can speak to each bullet.
5. Prepare questions
Toward the end of the interview, the admissions representative will likely ask whether you have any questions that he or she can help answer for you. Take advantage of the opportunity to get to know the school and its culture better. Prepare a list of smart questions – ones that you can’t find answers for readily online. If you have nothing to ask at the end of the interview, you might appear to be disinterested, or like you didn’t think too much about the interview beforehand.
6. Be specific
If you give vague answers, don’t be surprised if admissions officers walk away with only a vague idea of who you are as a candidate. Be as detailed as you can when giving your responses. For example, if asked about how you demonstrated leadership, don’t just respond that you exhibited this quality through clubs. Exactly how did you motivate and lead your fellow students?
Looking for more tips on how to navigate law school admissions? Check out our top 10 tips for getting into law school.