Getting into law school is a dream many students carry for years. But becoming a lawyer is no small feat, and it’s crucial to begin your preparations during the earliest years of your higher education. These four tips will help you cover all the ground you need, including LSAT exam prep and finding the perfect school for you.
- Focus on Your Undergrad
There are no defined majors for aspiring lawyers. Even though there is no designated major for law school, there are some fields that are recommended for pre-law students. You should explore your interests and choose a major that not only speaks to your heart but can build skills you’ll need to thrive later. Undergrad education can develop a framework for future legal specializations. Some of the top majors for pre-law students are:
- Political Science
- Criminal Justice
No matter what you major in during undergrad, make sure you show law schools that you are passionate about something.
- Participate in Extracurricular
Law schools evaluate candidates’ overall aptitude and lifestyle during admission. While having a good GPA is an indicator of a good law student, it’s essential that you demonstrate your interests outside of school. You could find a job in a law-related field, volunteer at a local law firm, or see if there are any internship opportunities. Besides finding a job or volunteer work, you will want to get involved with extracurricular activities that show you are a well-rounded student.
Some potential extracurricular activities to look into participating in include:
- Join the debate team: Excellent training ground for future lawyers because it helps you to develop strong communication skills, form decisive arguments, learn more to prove and present.
- Run for student government: Gain leadership skills, become respected by your peers, and show tangible results on your application.
- Join the Model United Nations or Student Congress: Help test your skills in diplomacy, the ability to negotiate and mediate disputes.
- See if your college has a pre-law society: Most colleges and universities have organizations that help students prepare for law school. Law-related activities on-campus might include mock trials, negotiation workshops, cross-examination exercises.
- Conduct research with a professor: Conducting research can help develop skills in data collection and analysis, learn more about fields you’re interested in, and is one of the strongest extracurricular for law school.
- Write for your school’s publications: Law school requires a lot of writing, and this will give you practice. Submit to your school’s pre-law or law review.
Whether you choose to get a job, find an internship, or participate in extracurricular activities on campus, make sure you find something that interests you and can showcase why you will make an excellent law student.
- Study, Prepare and Ace the LSAT
Once you’ve selected your schools, it’s time for LSAT exam prep. The Law School Admissions Test is a standardized exam that lasts for half a day. The test assesses applicants’ core competencies in the skills necessary to succeed in law school, which includes reading comprehension, analytical reasoning, and logical reasoning.
The LSAT is administered six times throughout the year, and it is recommended that you register up to a year in advance. Most law schools require students to take the LSAT by December for fall admission.
The LSAT consists of multiple-,choice sections that take 35-minutes each to complete. The test is broken down into the following sections:
- Reading Comprehension: This section requires you to read, analyze, and answer questions related to four passages of text, including one compare-and-contrast section. Scores will determine 27 percent of your final score.
- Logical Reasoning: Two sections that test your ability to evaluate and interpret arguments. Your responses will make up 50 percent of your LSAT score.
- Logical Games: This is worth 23 percent of your total score and tests your ability to draw conclusions from a set of statements, rules, or conditions. Your basic logic abilities will come into play the most here.
- Experimental Section: A random part of the test that is used to gauge how applicants will do on future LSATs.
- Writing sample (1 essay): This section is unscored but is sent to law schools along with your LSAT score. It is frequently used as a comparison tool to confirm your personal statement or help choose between two relatively equal candidates.
The best thing you can do is start preparing at least a year prior to the test. Start by investing in the best study guides. You could look into hiring an LSAT tutor to help you study for the exam. Or work with a study group and take as many practice tests as you can. Also, look into signing up for an LSAT prep course either online or in person. Make sure you utilize the tools you have to help you study for the test and take as many timed practice tests as you can to help giveyou an idea of what test day will be like.
Whether you study alone, in a group, or take a prep course, preparing for the LSAT requires you to master grammar and logic. Grammar is the language of law, and the LSATs will use it to try to confuse you. 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.
- Research and Apply to Law School
Before you apply to law school, you will want to research the law schools you are interested in. Some things to consider when applying to law school include:
- How much does the school cost?
- Do I have access to financial aid?
- What is the atmosphere of the school?
- What is student life?
- What is the faculty to student ratio?
- Are there research opportunities?
- Where will you like?
Remember, when you are looking at potential schools to apply to research your options thoroughly.
After researching the schools, make sure that you have also thoroughly studied their application processes and requirements. Law schools admit students on a rolling admissions process, so time is essential. You will want to make sure you get your application in early.
Most applications will require you to submit the application and pay an application fee, have your LSAT scores sent to the school, letters of recommendation, and a personal statement. You will also need to supply a resume, and you should incorporate all of the extracurricular and internships you participated in during your undergrad.
The Future Starts Now
Becoming a lawyer is one of the most significant challenges you will ever face. However, it will also be one of your proudest achievements. Remember to consider your happiness along with your degree; pick a school that will make you excited to be a part of it. These are just a few considerations to keep in mind that will help you achieve your dream.