What Do You Need To Know To Get Into Law School?
9 Steps To Go To Law School
Law School FAQs
You’re considering going to law school. That’s great!
Now you just have to compete with thousands of other students who have that same idea.
Each year, over 60,000 students apply to attend law school. Many of these students apply to several law schools just in case they’re not accepted to their first choice.
So, how do you improve your chances to get into law school?
We’ll go over what you need to do, recommend steps, and answer common questions.
What Do You Need To Know To Get Into Law School?
A common perception of law school, especially prestigious schools, is that getting in depends on your LSAT (Law School Admission Test) score. While it’s true that your LSAT score is important, there are many other factors that law schools consider when choosing quality students.
Most law schools now look at students from a holistic lens. They consider who each student is as a person and what they have to offer, in addition to grades and test scores.
Law schools do tend to look at similar factors when evaluating who would fit best in their programs.
Law schools look at:
By knowing these factors early on, you can prepare personally and academically for your law school application process and improve your chances of getting in. Our step-by-step guide will make sure you’re prepared for acceptance into the law school of your choosing.
9 Steps To Go To Law School
1. Complete an Undergraduate Degree
Having an undergraduate degree is necessary when applying to law school, but you don’t need a specific degree.
Pre-law programs do an excellent job of getting students ready for law school. A pre-law program is an academic track for students planning to attend law school or pursue a legal career. These programs develop critical thinking, analytical reasoning, and communication skills.
Pre-law courses can include:
Many colleges and universities offer pre-law programs as a major, minor, or concentration. Though not mandatory for law school, they help aspiring lawyers gain valuable background knowledge and develop important skills.
Remember that there have been many successful lawyers who majored in English, psychology, sociology, history, and other disciplines.
Having a passion for what you’re learning in school is just as important as hard work. Take different courses that interest you, and work with your pre-law advisor to make sure you’re on the right track.
2. Train in Necessary Lawyer Skills
Lawyers have a unique skill set they can apply in many areas of life and in numerous careers.
These skills include:
While taking coursework, make sure you’re focusing on the necessary skills of being a lawyer. This can be done through a combination of school, work experience, and internships.
3. Gain Real-World Experience
A quality law school application will include some real-world experience using the skills needed to be a lawyer. Getting a college job of any kind shows you are organized and have the discipline it takes to manage your busy schedule.
By finding a part-time job or internship during school in a law-related field, you will gain tons of experience to put on your application. You can also begin to build connections for future recommendations for law school.
4. Find a Mentor
While not a requirement of any law school application, having a mentor who works as a lawyer would be a great asset to your own learning and to your law school application.
Start by reaching out to different law firms in town to see if you could find out more about what they do. Explain you’re thinking about becoming a lawyer and see what develops. Perhaps you could shadow for a day. Maybe you could help with a case as a volunteer.
Check with your school to see if mentorship programs exist in your community. Talk to people you know to see if anyone knows a lawyer you could talk to about a possible career.
The more contact you have with people practicing law, the better connected you will be in the future. Take some risks to reach out and see what happens.
Once you’re accepted into law school, you can join the American Bar Association for free. This membership allows you to network and learn from people in the legal profession throughout the country.
5. Pass the Law School Admission Test (LSAT)
Even though the LSAT is not the only requirement on a law school application, it is still crucial to being accepted.
Many LSAT prep courses are available to enroll in. You’d get essential information about the LSAT and how to study. These may help you get an edge on how to answer questions on the test.
The best way to study for the exam is to take lots of time to do it and take as many practice tests as you can. By answering tons of practice questions, you will get comfortable taking the test and learn information on a wide range of topics.
6. Get Quality Letters of Recommendation
Letters of recommendation show you have what it takes to be successful in law school. These letters should come from professionals who can attest to your knowledge in areas related to being a lawyer.
Consider people who can speak clearly to your skills:
Current and former employers
Current and former coworkers
Leaders of volunteer organizations
Current or retired lawyers
When thinking about professional letters of recommendation, you want to choose people who aren’t family or friends. Stick to those that know you in some type of professional setting.
7. Create a Solid Personal Statement
The personal statement part of your application is a chance for you to discuss what sets you apart from other applicants. This is why you should take your time writing it.
A well-crafted personal statement discusses the skills you have that make you a good law student and future lawyer. Set yourself apart with a personal story that demonstrates your attributes.
It’s crucial to have several people read your personal statement and provide feedback. Make sure those you ask can offer honest feedback with a professional lens.
8. Apply to Several Law Schools
Getting into your first choice for law school is a great accomplishment you should strive for, but always have a backup plan.
U.S. News & World Report recommends applying to at least a dozen different law schools—5 top law schools, 5 mid-range schools, and 2 safety schools. Keep in mind any of these schools will give you the legal education you need to become a lawyer.
You can always turn down a school in the future, but by applying to several schools, you increase your chances of pursuing your chosen career path.
9. Prepare for Your Interview
The interview can be extremely stressful for law school candidates, especially when you want to show up as your best self.
To prepare for your interviews, work with a mentor or someone familiar with professional interviews. Many universities offer mock interviews as part of their career guidance programs. This is a great way to practice and learn in a safe environment.
It’s important not to go into any interview like a robot reading a script. While some interview questions can be predictable, you don’t want to memorize answers. Instead, practice using your own words with a calm presence.
Being relaxed and able to articulate yourself will impress law school admissions officers more than saying specific words.
Law School FAQs
How hard is it to get into law school?
It’s not easy to get into law school, but it’s also not an impossible feat. The average acceptance rate of LSAC (Law School Admission Council) schools is around 40% each year.
While many of the highest ranking law schools in the country have a low acceptance rate, others accept a much larger percentage of applicants. Applying to multiple schools and following the steps above will improve your chances of getting accepted.
How many years does it take to become a lawyer?
Most law school programs take about 3 years to complete when going to school full-time. Some students take 4 years to complete their law school coursework and internship. You will need to take the bar exam as well, and studying for it can be time-consuming.
Of course, this is all in addition to the 4 years it takes on average to complete an undergrad degree prior to law school.
What should I major in to become a lawyer?
Completing undergraduate coursework in pre-law is a great idea. Pre-law is not often a major, but a collection of courses recommended for people who want to go into a legal field.
Students can graduate with an undergraduate degree in just about any field and then go into law school. The most common undergraduate majors for lawyers include criminal justice, political science, English, psychology, sociology, and history.
How do I pay for law school?
Students can get both federal and private loans to help pay for law school. This financial aid will need to be paid back with interest in the future.
Students interested in law school should consider researching and applying for scholarship opportunities that give them free money to pay for school. Many scholarships require you to write a high-quality personal essay.
Is going to law school worth it?
The average total cost of law school is currently $205,744 for the 3 years of school. While this number is extremely high, the return on going to law school is high when you consider what a legal career has to offer.
On average, law school graduates make around $80,000 in the first year they practice law. Grads from the top 16% of law schools pulled in around $190,000 in their first year. This depends on the type of law you go into.
Of course, this is all considering the cost of education with the return.
If being a lawyer is something you want to pursue, go for it.
A career in law takes the right person with an internal drive.
Once you get into a school, you’re that much closer to making a difference in the world.
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