APPLYING TO LAW SCHOOL
This begins with building a record of academic success. Your undergraduate GPA - generally as it stands at the beginning of the senior year after only 3 years of classes for traditional applicants - is a crucial piece of the law school application. As a pre-law student, you must understand the importance of your grades from the beginning of your undergraduate career (including transfer credits from other colleges). Additionally, upward trends in grades are evaluated favorably so you should strive to improve upon whatever baseline of grades you achieve during your first year. If you struggle academically at the beginning of college, it might be advisable to defer law school applications for a year in order to use senior year grades to demonstrate academic aptitude and continue an upward trend in performance.
Transcripts are evaluated holistically, so you should select rigorous classes while maintaining an academic load that allows for academic success. In order to do this, you should take advantage of academic support resources available in the Paul L. Foster Success Center as well as in the Writing Center. Law schools also look favorably on students who take courses across a number of disciplines.
Another critically important part of the pre-law experience is preparation for the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT). The LSAT is the single most important factor in law school admissions as well an in the determination of financial aid. Students should begin thinking about this test early because it tests skills that can be intentionally developed as part of a well-rounded pre-law curriculum. You should take a practice test early, ideally in the beginning of the sophomore year, to assess your skill level and determine where additional development is necessary. In addition to long-term skill building, the LSAT also requires a concentrated period of study in the junior year. You should account for this committment when forming a long-term plan. It is imperative that you prepare for the LSAT between 10-15 hours per week from January through June of your Junior year, through a commercial preparation course, individual study, or, ideally, a combination of both. The LSAT is a learnable test and you should be aware of both its importance and the significant time investment required to maximize your LSAT score.
You should also look for opportunities for out-of-the-classroom academic pursuits (such as research or directed reading) and focus on building relationships with faculty members. Non-academic extracurricular involvement is less important in law school admissions then in some other admissions processes, but a strong record of long-term involvement, public service, and progressive leadership is a plus (and at some very competitive law schools is quite important).