ADVICE FOR PRE-LAW STUDENTS
Preparing yourself for law school may seem like a daunting task. The thought of mastering the LSAT, gathering the required information for applications, and securing recommendations and experience might overwhelm you at this stage in your undergraduate career. However, the process is one that many before you have completed. Here are some guidelines to help make the transition from a Bachelor’s degree to a Juris Doctorate.
Take Applicable Courses
In the American university system, there is no actual “Pre-Law” major. Pre-Law simply refers to a student who wishes to attend law school following graduation and usually takes courses pertinent to the legal field. Though any and all majors are accepted in the law school admissions process, it is very wise to select a major that pertains to law (i.e. the Legal Studies concentration for the Business Administration major). Taking such classes will provide a background for what law school courses will entail. Taking courses that focus on writing/reading proficiency as well as logical or ethical skills is also a good recommendation, as lawyers utilize those skills on a day-to-day basis. But simply enrolling in these courses is not enough. Strive to obtain an A in each class, as admissions officers look for competence in those specific areas. Balance the rest of your remaining coursework with at least one law-related class. Towson offers many interesting special courses in legal studies each semester! Diversify your schedule by taking classes in business law, real estate, family law, etc.
Excel on the LSAT
Along with taking the right curriculum, you must also prepare for the LSAT, the standardized assessment exam for law school. The LSAT measures reading comprehension, analytical skills, and logical reasoning. Start studying for the exam by the end of your sophomore year, and aim to take your first exam by the fall semester of your junior year. By the end of your junior year you should be done with the exam in time for law school applications. Utilize materials such as Kaplan Test Prep to maximize your score. Remember, the LSAT is only offered a few times a year, so plan accordingly and take each attempt seriously! You may not take the LSAT more than three times in a two year period.
Join Significant Organizations
The next important step is getting involved. Law school admissions officers want to see not just academic achievement but extracurricular achievement as well. Involvement in student organizations, and more importantly leadership in those organizations, shows that an applicant can properly balance school and other engagements. So join the Pre-Law Society, Phi Alpha Delta, or even a professional business fraternity to network with other pre-law students and participate in events.
Perfect Your Application Materials Ahead of Time
The final step is planning for your application. A law school application will consist of your transcript, LSAT scores, personal statement essay, resume and supporting documents, and recommendations. Advice for your transcript and LSAT were discussed above.
- Your essay should be well-written, personable, and original. It should convey the experiences that have led you to apply to law school. If you are having trouble articulating the structure of an essay, the CBE offers writing sessions with the Writing Proficiency Program. More information can be found here.
- Your law school application should display experience. Start perfecting your resume now. Apply for meaningful internships or summer programs that will give you the experience and knowledge you will need in the future. Working in a judicial internship, a law clerkship, an internship at a non-profit organization, or even your local District Attorney’s office are great ideas.
- Lastly, such employment can provide you with the necessary recommendations for your application. Manage a LinkedIn account, talk to alumni directors and professors, and members of local law associations. Don’t be just another face – make your presence meaningful and establish long-term connections that can aid you in the long run.
Click here to view a useful undergraduate timeline for pre-law students!
The law school application process may seem far away, or too close, for some. By following these tips paired with the appropriate planning, the process will fly by, and hopefully get you into the school of your choice!