As you plan to apply to law school, these five tips will help you succeed. Your preparation begins during your college days, and you must continue by studying for the LSAT, taking the test, and applying to your preferred schools. Apply these tips to your current schooling plan so that you can enjoy the future law career you want.
- Start Preparing During Your Undergrad
As you get ready for the LSAT, you need to make sure you take the appropriate classes during undergrad. While there are no defined majors, if you want to go to law school, you should focus on taking courses in writing and reasoning.
You want to find a field that fits your interests and want to pursue further. Some recommended majors if you’re going to pursue a law career include:
- Political Science
- Business Administration
- Criminal Justice
No matter what degree you pursue in college, make sure you do so with perseverance and show law schools that you are passionate about something.
- Spend Time Doing Outside Class Activities
When you are in college, you should try to do as many extracurricular activities as possible. Anything you do outside of class will help prepare you for law school. Plus, adding these outside class activities to your resume will make you more attractive to prospective schools.
You could find a job in the law-related field. You could work at a law firm as a legal assistant and gain a perspective of what it’s like to work in the law field. Also, you have the opportunity to make connections in the field. Look into volunteer work at a local law firm or in a law-related place. See if there are internships available. Intern at a law firm or if you’re new a major city or see if you can work with local politicians.
Join extracurricular activities either on or off-campus. Show you are a well-rounded student by participating in:
- Debate team: Excellent training ground for future lawyers. Help develop strong communication skills, form decisive arguments, learn more to prove and present.
- Pre-law society: Most colleges and universities have organizations that help students prepare for law school — Law-related activities on campus, mock trials, negotiation workshops, cross-examination exercises.
- Model United Nations or Student Congress: help test your skills in diplomacy, ability to negotiate and mediate disputes.
- Student government: Help leadership skills, respected by peers, show tangible results on your application.
- Research: Conducting research can help develop skills in data collection and analysis, learn more about fields you’re interested in (one of the strongest extracurricular activities for law school).
- Publications: Law school requires a lot of writing, and this will give you practice. Submit to your school’s pre-law or law review.
- Know What to Expect On the LSAT
Before you get into law, you have to do well on the LSAT (Law School Admissions Test).
The LSAT is required for admission into law school and is explicitly designed to assess key skills needed for success in law school. These skills include reading comprehension, analytical reasoning, and logical Reasoning.
The LSAT is administered six times a year, and it is recommended that you register at least ten to twelve months before the test. Many law schools require that the LSAT be taken by December for admission the following fall. LSAT registration can do done early, so you have enough time to study. So it is advised that you take the test early, in June or September.
The LSAT consists of multiple-choice sections that take 35-minutes each with one unscored experimental part. The sections of the LSAT include:
- Logical Reasoning (2 sections): Tests your ability to analyze and evaluate arguments. You will read short passages and answer a question about each one.
- Reading Comprehension: Tests your ability to make sense of dense, unfamiliar prose. You need to understand the passages’ structure, purpose, and various points of view, rather than the facts. You will see four passages, each with 5-8 questions to answer. One of the passages will be “paired passages” with questions asking you to compare and contrast the two.
- Logic Games: Tests you on basic logic, systems of order, and outcomes. Analytical reasoning questions ask you to make deductions from a set of statements, rules, or conditions.
- Experimental Section: This is a wild card and used by the test maker to see how questions will perform on future LSATs.
- Writing sample (1 essay): Isn’t scored but is sent to law schools along with your LSAT score and is frequently used as a comparison tool to confirm your personal statement or help choose between two relatively equal candidates.
- Study and Prepare for the LSAT
If law school is in your future, you know how important it is to do well on the LSAT. Start by purchasing study materials and study guides to help you prepare. Look into signing up for a prep course. LSAT prep courses will help you learn how to read the questions on the test, the best way to answer them, and what to expect of the test. Or you could find a study group or partner to help you get ready for the LSAT.
When preparing for the LSAT, you will want to focus on mastering grammar and logic.
Grammar is the language of law, and the LSATs will use it to try to intentionally confuse you on the test. The LSAT tests your ability to analyze and decipher complicated sentences. Once you understand what the questions and answers say, you will need logic to understand how things play out — concepts like validity, conditional statements, and premises.
Take as many practice tests as you can. Make sure to do real ones that are timed to give you an idea of what test day will be like. When you are taking practice tests, you will want to review your answers. Before grading your practice test, do a “blind review.” As you take your practice test, make sure to circle the questions you are unsure of. Once you’re done, take your time and go over each question without looking at the answer. Then when you mark your test, you will have your real score and your blind score. If your blind review score is low, then you need to work on your grammar and logic. If your blind review score is high, then you need to work on your speed.
- Research and Apply to Law Schools
Before you apply to law school, it is essential that you research the schools you are interested in. Some things to keep in mind when looking at schools includes:
- What is the cost, how much will you owe, and is there access to financial aid?
- What is the atmosphere of the school? Is it calm and collaborative? Or cut-throat and competitive?
- What is student life like? You could talk to current students (remember, you will be spending at least the next four years at this school).
Some other things to consider when researching law schools include:
- Faculty to student ratio: teaching quality-ask current students
- Does the school offer research opportunities?
- Where will you be living? What is the climate and culture of the school?
Once you have chosen the schools you want to apply to, you will start the application process. When you send in your application is important because law schools admit students on a rolling admissions process. Your application will include:
- Completed application forms and application fee
- Letters of Recommendation
- Personal Statement
- Work history/resume
- Extracurricular activities/volunteer work/anything that pertains to law school
- LSAT score
Your undergraduate GPA and LSAT score are the most predictive for success in law school and essential to the admissions process.