Law schools want students who can think critically, write well, have some understanding of the human experience, and who value faithfully serving others while promoting justice. To be a strong candidate for law school, we recommend selecting a major that you’re genuinely interested in and that develops your intellectual skills—particularly your skills in writing, research, problem solving, and analysis. Taking a diverse range of difficult courses from demanding instructors is excellent preparation for a legal education.
The American Bar Association (ABA) does not recommend any particular undergraduate majors or courses to prepare for a legal education. Indeed, according to the ABA, there is no true pre-law curriculum. Students are admitted to law school from almost every academic discipline. You may choose to study subjects that are considered to be traditional in preparation for law school, such as political science, philosophy, history, English, or business. However, you can also focus your undergraduate studies in areas as diverse as art, science and mathematics, engineering, or education. Generally, a broad-based education that is challenging and that stresses analytical and verbal communication skills will be useful.
- PSci101 Introduction to Politics and Governance
- PSci201 American Government and Politics
- PSci/Phil 220 Political Thought
- Bus351 Business Law
- Comm105/205 Public Speaking
Any Writing-Intensive Courses Philosophy
- Phil101 Critical Thinking
- Phil102 Introduction to Philosophy
- Phil111 Introduction to Moral Philosophy
- Phil/PSci220 Political Thought
- Begin preparation for the LSAT as soon as possible. Research the available study courses and materials for self study.
- Take challenging classes in your major as well as general electives.
- Dedicate yourself to achievement in whatever class you take.
- See each class assignment as an opportunity to hone your skills and move one step closer to you goal: academic achievement and entrance into the law school of your choice!
- Confer with your major academic advisor to ensure on-time progress toward graduation.
Freshmen and Sophomores
- Select a major that you enjoy and not one that you think will look good for law schools. Make sure it is a major that allows you to also pursue other paths besides law school in case you decide not to apply for law school.
- Begin researching the various careers in law through the internet, interviewing and shadowing attorneys, visiting law schools, and through workshops.
- Get to know your professors. Go to their office hours and participate in class discussions. Build relationships with professors so that you can ask for meaningful letter of recommendation for law school.
- Get involved! Join student organizations, study abroad, do research with faculty, and/or volunteer in your community. You should get involved in leadership activities and organizations that you are interested in and not necessarily just law related organizations.
- Take some of the pre-law track suggested courses .
- Set up an appointment with the pre-law advisorand begin discussing a plan to prepare you for law school and the timeline for the application process.
- Keep on exploring the various careers in law to know your options.
- Maintain a high GPA! A competitive GPA for law school is a 3.40 and above.
- Try to gain a leadership position within the organizations that you are participating in.
- Continue to meet with the pre-law advisor to remain on track and begin targeting specific law schools.
- Begin preparing for the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) by taking a full length practice test. Once you have taken a practice exam and received a score, you will be able to gauge how much preparation you need for the real exam. It is highly recommended that students take a LSAT prep course and learn the strategies for success on the LSAT.
- Begin visiting law schools that you are interested in attending. Set up on-campus tours and meetings with admission councilors.
- Every year there are Law School Forums where various law schools from all across the United States attend. It is a good way to talk with law school representatives in one location. This is a free event and you can visit the LSAC.org website to find the dates and locations and registration information.
- If you cannot make it to a law school forum, the “Official Guide to ABA-Approved Law Schools” is also a good resource to start researching schools:
- Start thinking about faculty and other professionals that you want to ask for letters of recommendation for law schools.
Summer before Senior Year
- Keep on studying for the LSAT. Ideally students should prepare for the June exam. However, if you are not prepared, then sign up for the September exam.
- Register for the LSAC’s Credential Assembly Service. Make sure you do this at least six weeks before you plan to submit you first law school application. This will give you time to make sure your profile is complete.
- Begin to write your personal statement. You can create a generic document and then work on formatting it according to the individual law school’s specifications. You will need to review each school’s website to determine what that law school wants to see in the personal statement. If there is something in your academic record that you would like to further explain, consider writing an addendum to your personal statement.
- Research financial aid options for law schools: http://www.lsac.org/jd/financing-law-school/financial-aid-overview. It is important to note that scholarships are available at some law schools for very competitive applicants, however, most law students utilize student loans. Other useful financial aid information for law school can be found at: http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/, http://www.finaid.org/ and www.accessgroup.org.
Fourth Year Students
- Meet with a pre-law advisor again to discuss your law school questions.
- Request all your official transcripts to be sent to LSAC’s Credential Assembly Service (CAS) from the registrar’s office of each institution you have attended.
- Set up appointments with your recommendation letter writers and give them a copy of your personal statement, the Letter of Recommendation form (found on your LSAC account), and any other material that will help them to write a more thorough letter. Give your recommenders a minimum of a month to write your letters and remember to give them a deadline and send them thank you notes.
- Apply to your target law school(s) as soon as their applications are available. Apply as early as possible (most applications are open in October). Make sure to apply by December 31st to have a competitive advantage and this is also the scholarship deadline for most schools. Once the law schools receive your completed applications, they will contact the LSAC Credential Assembly Service to have your law school report sent to them which will include your transcripts and letters of recommendation.
- It is recommended that you take the LSAT only once, but if you think you can get a better score, then the last LSAT opportunity would be the December exam. You can go ahead and apply before December 31st.
Dr. D. Gregory Rose Associate Professor of History and Political Science BA, Bryn Athyn College MA, U.S. Naval Postgraduate School PhD, University of Pittsburgh Dr. Rose teaches history, political science, and a religion course on Islam. Formerly a Middle East specialist for the U.S. Air Force and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Dr. Rose’s research interests are Islamism and democratization. More about faculty