What are the requirements to get into Law School?
I would like to know, what are the general requirements to get into law school? I’m coming up on my senior year at the Uni, I’m a psych major, and I want to go to law school after i graduate. I want to know if there are any ways to find out on how I can better myself to get ready for the LSAT? and what other requirements are there to get into law school? Thank you.
In essence, there are two things you MUST have in order to apply to law school in the U.S.:
1. An undergraduate degree.
2. An LSAT score.
There are no prerequisites you have to take in college. All you need is a four-year degree and an LSAT score.
You mentioned you want to go to school after you graduate next year. I’m assuming, then, that you want to start in the fall of 2012. If so, then you need apply this admissions cycle, and the earlier you submit your applications, the better. This also means that you need to start preparing for the LSAT as soon as possible, and consider taking it in December. Although many schools accept the results of the February LSAT, taking it that late is NOT a good move; December is really the last test date you want to consider.
You also need to pick the law schools to which you will apply. You can take a look at all of the ABA-approved law schools in the U.S. on LSAC’s Official Guide to ABA-Approved Law Schools, here: http://officialguide.lsac.org . If you’re aiming to apply for a fall 2012 start, you need to get the applications for these schools, and start working on them. They will all vary slightly, but as a general rule, they’ll ask you for the following:
► A personal statement. This is the creative essay you will write and include with your application. Many students write about why they want to attend law school; while this is definitely a worthwhile topic, it is not necessarily what you must write about. The personal statement is the one part of the application that you have complete control over, which is why it is also one the most important after your numerical indicators. It shows law schools your writing abilities, judgment in selecting a topic, and ability to engage an audience. The University of Chicago Law School has some great tips on what they look for and what to watch out for an avoid in a personal statement: http://www.law.uchicago.edu/node/1451
► Letters of recommendation: The LORs allow law schools to hear others talk about your academic, personal, and extracurricular achievements and abilities. AdComs can tell a lot from your letters, what is written in them, and who wrote them for you. If it is obvious that you chose someone that doesn’t know you at all, simply for the sake of having someone with an impressive title write your letter, then that speaks very poorly of you. If you chose someone who knows you extensively and wrote a glowingly positive letter filled with personal anecdotes, then that speaks highly of your choice. If you (God forbid) chose someone who writes a negative letter, then it calls into question your judgment. As you can see, it is not just about what’s in the letter, but also what can be surmised from it that matters. A good letter should be lengthy, overwhelmingly positive, and filled with stories that only someone you have worked with closely would be able to write.
► A résumé: This will tell law schools a number of things – What you were/are involved in, what you chose to showcase, how far you’ve risen within the leadership of any groups you are in, what you’ve done for employment, etc. It essentially tells the story of your life outside of the classroom. This is why it is important–it lets them have a glimpse into an area of your life that may not be addressed elsewhere (unless you choose to discuss a previous job or activity in your personal statement).
► Transcripts from all undergrads you’ve attended: Although your GPA will be the primary element that will be gleaned from your transcript, a number of other things can be surmised as well: Your major (and the relative difficulty of it), your grade trends (did they go up consistently? Did they start high and continue to stay elevated? Did they go down as you went through school?), and your course selection (is your transcript filled with elementary and introductory classes? Did you choose high-level courses?).
Some may also request additional supplemental essays or addenda. You will want to start working on your apps as soon as possible if you’re applying this year, so that you can have them done and ready to submit by the time your LSAT scores come out in late December/early January.
When it comes to how to study for the LSAT, there are a many different ways: You can take a class, do in-person tutoring, or use study guides. There isn’t one method that is better than the other–it all depends on how you study best. Start by checking out this guide (http://www.accepted.com/law/LSATPrep.pdf ) which breaks down all of the major players in the LSAT prep world–that’ll give you a good starting point.
I hope that gave you some of the guidance you were looking for! Best of luck, and please let me know if I can of further assistance.