George Washington Law

Sophia Sim, Associate Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, George Washington Law




The Law School

What’s the single most exciting development, change, or event happening at your law school this coming year?

What’s the single most exciting development, change, or event happening at your law school this coming year?
Without a doubt, it was the overhaul of our 1L curriculum. The new curricular reform—Fundamentals of Lawyering—was a result of a two year study by a 14 member task force that evaluated feedback from students, alumni and employers as well as reviewing 1L curriculum at peer schools. It is a great example of how GW Law continually strives to improve and advance legal education. One of the courses focuses on lawyer client relationships and includes professional development aspects, which helps students become more self-sufficient and self-directed. The new curriculum focuses on more research and hands-on writing with the goal of making our students even more “practice ready.”

The Admissions Process

What does the admissions process consist of and how is an application rated?
There are three ways to apply at GW Law—binding Early Decision, binding Presidential and Regular. All three are rolling, so the earlier you apply, the better. Early Decision is designed to give you your best chance of admission and Presidential is designed for the most competitive candidates nationally (we pay for 100% of their legal education).  Our candidates are given a holistic review process.

Do you have an approximate hierarchy on what is most valuable for admissions: GPA, LSAT, etc?

We have a holistic review process that looks at a variety of factors. Our goal is to have as well-rounded a class as
possible. As that cycle continues into the spring and summer, spaces become more limited and it is more competitive. We suggest you apply early!

Beyond numbers, how does your school determine who are the “best fit” applicants?

We focus on areas of legal interest, like patent or international law.  We try to find students that will fit within our community—those that are passionate, active leaders who are well informed and have a voice.  In every sense, GW Law truly is a community. Students stand on the shoulders of each other and really see their fellow students as colleagues for life, not just for a few years. With our award-winning Student Bar Association and more than fifty student groups, students often share that their experience here is even better than their undergraduate experience. GW Law is a great fit for those who are resourceful and will take advantage of the many opportunities we offer.

Are students who apply early in the cycle at an advantage over applicants who apply later?



What is your view on multiple LSAT scores?

We currently take the highest score for admission. With the digital LSAT and 3 time restriction lifted, I’m not sure we will continue this practice if applicants start taking the LSAT 6-7 times. For scholarship consideration, we do look at how many times you’ve taken the LSAT.

Personal Statement

Could an applicant significantly improve his or her chances of admission by drafting a personal statement specifically for your school, as opposed to a general personal statement that briefly mentions your school, if at all?

Of course, it’s always nice to know that an applicant really wants to attend our school and showing a specific interest may stand out, but few students are able to do this successfully. Oftentimes, writing about our school tends to be a generic essay where one just repeats our brochure and website back at us. It adds little to the application and can come across a bit boring. I really want to know about you and your passion—what makes you tick and lights a fire within you!

Letters of Recommendation

Applicants often have difficulty choosing and approaching potential recommenders. Can you offer some general advice regarding letters of recommendation?

Applicants often try to balance their recommendations by submitting an employer and academic letter. Think more strategically: which recommender knows me best and will provide the strongest letter? If your academics are weak, get a strong letter from an academic. Think about what qualities the recommender would mention. As someone who reads and writes a ton of recommendations, I would encourage applicants to meet with the recommender, supply a copy of their resume and personal statement. If you do it right, it’s even a great idea to provide a list of bullet points.

Early Decision

Do applicants, especially those with numbers that fall below your law school’s medians, increase their chances of admission by applying Early Decision?

Of course! Applying Early Decision to a school gives you your best chance of consideration—it’s the only affirmative way of indicating that GW Law is your absolute top choice. Even if they aren’t admitted outright, I still give more favorable consideration when we pull from our waiting list since I know GW Law is their top choice.

The Waitlist

What is the typical size of the waitlist, and how deep do you usually go into the waitlist to admit students?

It varies from year to year, but we usually admit 50 students off the waitlist. Since we move very quickly on the waitlist, we tend to reach out to groups of 4-5 students to fill each space since we usually only wait 24 hours before extending an offer. We don’t have a set size on the waitlist. I make the decision based upon your application. We receive the second largest volume of applications—this year it was over 8,000 and only a few hundred made it onto the waitlist.