Welcome to another installment of 7Sage's weekly advice column, "Dear AO,” a "Dear Abby"-style column where you can ask any question to former law school admissions officers. Each week, we'll publish our answers to a couple of our favorite questions. Submit questions here.

Dear AO,

What is better: applying as a KJD with, say, a 3.49 or waiting till the next year and applying with, say, a 3.59?


Pondering Law School

Dear Pondering Law School,

First, thank you for your question!

In this case, higher is better. Although the GPA difference is one-tenth of a point, that means you had a much better year of mostly A’s or A-pluses in order to move the needle from a 3.49 to a 3.59. Law school admissions officers, and committees, will appreciate a strong finish in your coursework, especially those committees that have law school faculty on them. Not only that, it shows how you can and did improve, which will make a great GPA addendum as well.

I always inform applicants that law school will be there. If you can wait to improve your GPA, your LSAT score, or any other part of your application, it is better to be patient and take the time to put forth the very best application that you can, even if that means delaying your application—quality is most important.

Lastly, although we say to take the results of the 7Sage Law School Admissions Predictor with a grain of salt, you can plug in the 3.49 and then the 3.59 and see an uptick in your estimated chances of admission—no matter the LSAT score. That’s more proof that higher is better.

I hope this is helpful!


Dr. Riley

Dear AO,

I lost my job due to the COVID-19 pandemic 1.5 years ago and am continuing to look for full-time work. I've worked part-time since losing my full-time job, have volunteered extensively, and have been lucky to have more time to focus on the LSAT, but am very concerned about my admissions chances. I've been told that I'm locked out of the T14 schools due to my underemployment. However, as more and more people are impacted by layoffs and are looking at longer periods of job hunting, I struggle to believe that all of us are locked out of T14 schools forever.

How are you and your colleagues handling cases of people facing longer-term unemployment as you review their applications?


Handsome Dan XIX

Dear Handsome Dan XIX,

Thank you for your question! Difficulties finding employment following the start of the pandemic are not uncommon, and for some schools, they will either invite or require you to explain gaps in education and/or periods of unemployment that exceed the number of months specified by the school. Given unemployment, AOs are specifically looking to see whether a candidate has made productive use of their time in a way that continues to contribute to their prospects.

Here, you’ve volunteered extensively in addition to your LSAT study, and that volunteerism is an important addition to your résumé. Having a volunteerism or community involvement section enables you to highlight those experiences so that AOs get a sense of how you’ve dedicated time to these community activities. This involvement can help to build skills, including a stronger ability to connect with and empathize with others. An addendum for a gap in employment will provide context for your extended job search. Having the combination of these two sets of information––your résumé and your addendum––an AO is well equipped to help advocate on your behalf with an admissions committee. It becomes more difficult when application materials indicate that a candidate has only spent time studying for the LSAT or traveling.

I hope you find this helpful!