Click here for part one of this series: How to Apply to Law, Med and Business School (At the Same Time).
So you either haven’t made up your mind on what to do after your undergrad degree or you just want to keep your options open.
Luckily for you, applying (and getting accepted) to vastly different fields such as medicine, law, and business at the same time is not impossible, it just requires good planning and a decent amount of luck.
This is the most important piece of your application and the goal should always be to keep this high as possible. What most people misunderstand, however, is that a perfect 4.0 GPA carries less weight if it means that you did nothing except bury your head in a textbook for the entire duration of your undergraduate degree.
Rather, keep your GPA as high as you can and pay close attention to what the GPA cut-offs are for various programs and schools. This brings me onto my next point…
Premeds are notorious for majoring in the life sciences (biology, biochemistry). What’s unfortunate is that a not insignificant number of premed majors actually don’t enjoy the subject matter. Additionally, this lack of interest is usually reflected in your GPA.
The reality is that most business/medical/law programs don’t have a required subject that you need to major in. My med school classmates include former lawyers, investment bankers, and statisticians. Yes, a large portion of them are life sciences majors but I want to emphasize that what you major in does not matter as much as your GPA.
Yes, you may have an easier time of in during first year if you did a full-on physiology major for undergrad, but by the end of your professional school degree, everyone’s knowledge is more or less equal — regardless of what you majored in during undergrad.
Another way to increase the odds of gaining admission to be practical about your chances of getting admitted. For example, if you only apply to Yale Law School, Harvard Business School, and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, there is a very large chance that you’re not getting at anyone of these, let alone all three of them. Sure, if you feel that you have a strong application, it wouldn’t hurt to apply but also be realistic. When you’re deciding on which program to apply to, it helps to make a list of reach/match/safety schools.
Reach schools are those ranking at the top 10-20 in their fields such as the ones mentioned earlier. Match schools are ones where your stats (GPA/test scores/undergrad pedigree, etc.) fall within 25-75th percentile range of who they normally accept. Safety schools are those that you feel that you have a strong chance of getting accepted to.
For example, if the law program you’re looking at has an average LSAT score of 150 and a 3.2 GPA and you’re holding onto a score of 170 with a 4.0, you have a very large chance of gaining admission.
Luckily, most programs will have listed on their websites the average statistics of each year’s entering classes. If not, then forums, alumni, and career advisers are also good resources to have in order to get a good impression of how competitive of an applicant you may be.
Some applicants make the mistake of only looking at the prestige of a program without considering important factors such as the financial cost of such programs. For those relying on government or bank loans, the amount you’re paying by the time you graduate can really pile up over time to the tune of 200K-400K in some cases.
I’ve known people that have turned down admissions to more prestigious programs in favor of in-state schools or lower-ranked programs that offered them a large scholarship. It’s also worth having a good think about how you’re going to pay back said loans. Law school is expensive but the law graduates job market salary rates are definitely not keeping up.
Likewise, location is also something you should factor in when applying. For example those applying to overseas programs may find themselves having to recover from significant culture shock in addition to keeping up with their studies.
Then there’s also where you intend to practice after graduation. Here I want to emphasize that you should always study where you intend to eventually practice. If you’re looking to work as a lawyer in Canada, then go to a Canadian law school. If you’re looking to work in investment banking in New York, then you should pick a school on the east coast with a wide alumni network in the area — so if you’re deciding between Haas and Stern, you should probably go with Stern.
Lastly, I just want to say that deep down most of us already know which field is our number one choice. Applying across different fields merely gives you more time and incentive to reflect on which ones suits you best. I hope this guide has been useful and I wish you all the best of luck with your applications!