So I had set my sights on Melbourne University's Juris Doctor program. But of course it was not so easy. As it says on the website, admission is based on three items: GPA, LSAT score and Personal Statement.
I was concerned that my GPA, whilst good, is not exactly going to knock anyone over. And the LSAT. I picked the only law school in Australia that will test me before I even get it. I actually believe this worked in my favour, as it was a test result that I can study for, and demonstrate that I will be a good candidate. Another thing in my favour is the fact that I graduated in 2004. Hopefully the intervening years of work and travel experience will make up for the slightly weak GPA. 2 out of the 3 criteria was within my control. My GPA may not wow them, but I certainly could try to wow them with my Statement and LSAT.
All this is on the website, nonetheless, I went along to an information session. It was an... interesting experience. Two particular individuals stick in my mind. The man who was obsessed with the acting and theatrics components (Someone has been watching too much Law and Order) and persistently asked questions about it, and the woman who didn't do enough research to learn that it was a full-time degree and left in a huff when she realised.
And I did learn a few new things that wasn't available on the website. I was able see for myself, how many other people were interested enough to go to the session. I found out exactly how many spots were available. Answer? Not many. This was made worse that the year I want to start, 2011, would also be the year the the first year to include the undergrads from Melbourne Uni who couldn't apply for an undergrad law degree. They compensated by increasing the number of places... by 50?
But the most valuable piece of information was hearing what the admissions team wanted to learn about their applicants. I may have already started looking at the LSAT and drafting a statement by the time I went to that information session, but it gave me direction and the work I put into my application became more focussed.
I started researching LSAT scores (annoyingly for applicants, Melbourne Uni won't release what the average LSAT score is) and reading examples of good personal statements. I brought books. I got my friends, from different areas and walk of life, to read my statement. I did almost every practice LSAT exam I could find. And I was grateful to not being doing it in the USA. The competition is so fierce there, applicants go to prep school to learn how to do the LSAT and 6 months of preparation is recommended. This was a good thing, as it meant that the expectations are lower here. And to be honest? Those LSAT questions are kind of fun, almost like doing trivia or puzzles.