10 Things to keep in mind on a pre-law track

As someone who’s known I wanted to be a lawyer since I was 13, I’ve researched a lot of tips about applying to law school. There are a ton of things to keep in mind as you go through undergrad (too many to all fit here) but here are ten of the most important. 

  1. 1. Pick a major you vibe with

    Law schools don’t have a big preference for what you major in (unless you’re going into patent law, in which case you should have some knowledge of whatever type of patents you’d like to do) so if you like philosophy, be a philosophy major. Poli-sci? Yeehaw, pick up that poli-sci degree, literally doesn’t have a big impact. However, what does is your GPA so picking

  2. 2. Study and study and study and study some more

    As said above, your GPA does have a big impact on your chances of going to law school and which schools you’ll be able to get into. So studying is really important so that you don’t end up with a 2.3 and graduate from Agnes without being able to go anywhere else-- that would be really bad. So sitting down, writing out all your assignments, getting them done (before the last minute), taking notes, reviewing said notes, and making sure you understand everything with check ins with your professors is a great way to stay on track. 

  3. 3. Save money

    This might seem like a big “no-duh” but it’s super important to start saving whenever you can. Taking the LSAT itself costs $200, then you have to register with the Credential Assembly Service in order for your scores to be sent to the law schools you’re applying to, that’s another $195. Next each time you send your score out there will be an additional fee of $45. That $440 to just have your LSAT scores for law schools is only a sliver of the application process, which comes with whole new fees. For example, there are application fees to the individual law school, which can range from $50-$150 just based on the schools I’m looking at (I don’t doubt some have higher fees) so saving money is really important. Don’t wait until your junior year to start because who knows; maybe there will be a global pandemic forcing you to leave your job so you have no income to save up and have to start signing up to take the LSAT soon with -$75.22 in your checking account. (pls send help: https://www.gofundme.com/f/lsat-and-law-school-application-fund)

     

  4. 4. Decide when you’re going to take the LSAT

    Deciding when is really an individual process, but you shouldn’t take it any later than summer/fall of the year you’re planning to apply. This will allow enough time for your score to come in and to apply early admissions. I’m planning to take it in August 2021 and I graduate May 2022, which will allow me to be on time for application season as well as have the summer to study.

  5. 5. Find a study program that works for you

    There are a TON of programs out there so you really have to shop around for what is best for you. I’m personally using the free Khan Academy program. It works directly with the LSAC and has questions from past LSAT tests. You also get 10 free practice tests with it which is great. However, some cons are that it doesn’t have enough material so you may get repeating questions, and even though 10 practice tests is a lot, it may not be enough. I’ve also heard good things about PowerScore Test Prep but really, try and look around for specifically what you need and which programs fit you the best. 

  6. 6. Study 4-8 months out from your test date

    MacBook Air on white desk beside gold-colored study lamp and spiral books

     

    The LSAT is a hard skill based test, this means that prep is really key. No one is going to just come out of the womb able to ace the LSAT. It really requires a different way of critical thinking than you’re used to in daily life, therefore, it’s really important to start studying early and train your brain to think that way. Depending on how well you tend to do at standardized tests you may be able to tweak that range but you should still study hard and take at least one practice test. 

  7. 7. Take days off studying

    That being said, if you make your whole life keeping your GPA up and studying for the LSAT you’re going to burn out. It is just as important to plan days off as it is to plan study time. 

  8. 8. Try to narrow down around 5 areas of practice you’d like to study

    Law school is expensive and tough, you really don’t want to be trying to discover yourself and what you like during it. So having a good idea of what you want to practice when you get your J.D is a good idea. You don’t have to know exactly but a good idea of like five things you could see yourself doing would help to have. 

  9. 9. Narrow down some of the schools you’d like to apply to

    The method you used to apply to college will really help here since it’s basically the same thing. Get yourself some dream, reach, attainable, and backup schools. Keep in mind the cost of application fees though and don’t let the number of  schools you're applying to get too out of hand.    

  10. 10. Develop strong bonds with people who can write you letters of recommendations

    For your application you’ll need to have letters of recommendation. Lucky for you Agnes Scott has a TON of really smart and well credited professors. Talking to them and trying to create a bond is a great idea, not necessarily with the intent of getting a recommendation but growing your list of friends never hurts and you can have some really great conversations!

I hope those ten things are able to help you in your future! Remember that law school isn’t the end all be all and there are tons of other careers out there so make sure that this is something that you really want to do, and try not to stress yourself out too much about it.