So, you want to go to law school? 7 steps you should know

Are you an undergraduate interested in law school? Then this is the article for you! I am a junior at Texas A&M University studying journalism with a minor in communications and business. I have been preparing for the past several months for my application to law school; down below are some important steps I have learned along the way and that I'm currently taking. Everyone's journey to law is unique, however. While some advice may work for others, some might not work for you! The most important thing is to follow your passion with as much gumption and focus as possible. You are capable of this-I know it! 

This is my first law school prep article. More will come on how to apply, taking the actual LSAT, and writing the personal statement! 

  1. 1. GPA-Get It Up There!

    If you are interested in law school, and are currently attending undergraduate or graduate school, your GPA is incredibly important. While most schools will look at your resume hollistically (meaning they evaluate everything, not just numbers), your GPA and LSAT will open doors for you as an applicant. While planning on touring campuses or attending law school forums is so much fun, don't get too caught up and forget your current assignments. Many law schools first determine if your GPA and LSAT score are admissible; then they evaluate your resume and personal statement. Additionally, a higher GPA can mean more scholarship opportunities, and we all know how expensive law school is! So get your grades up, girl. 

  2. 2. LSAT-Study Time

    Yes, I know you're dreading it. It's a scary test! But the LSAT is more manageable than it appears, especially with the numerous amount of free tutoring and study guides now provided. Today, more than ever, organizations across America want to see every student have the opportunity to attend law school. So, online resources like Kaplan and Khan Academy have teamed up with the Law School Admission Council to create amazing, free LSAT study courses. 

    Many students are tempted to pay for pricey LSAT-prep courses, which is totally fine. However, they are not needed to succeed on this test. All of the advisors I have spoken to thus far have recomended to find what suits your study habits the best--do you thrive at online courses? Or do you prefer self-pacing? It's all up to you! Personally, I have found Khan Academy's free online courses to be amazing so far. They create a study schedule acording to your needs, and their information is easy to comprehend. 

    I recomend taking a practice LSAT test as soon as possible, just to gauge where you're at and where you need to go. Using this base score, you can track your imporovement as well as your chances at recieving admission. The GRE is also accepted as a replacement for the LSAT at many schools. Key word, many, not all. Make sure the schools you're intending on applying to are accepting the GRE! 

  3. 3. Talk To Your Advisor...Like, Now

    If you haven't already, make an appointment with your school's law school advisor ASAP! They will become one of your best sources of advice, intel, and counseling. 

    In your first meeting, they will likely ask for your pre-LSAT score, and if you're planning on attending right out of college or later on. Then, they're an open book! Ask them any and every question that comes to mind. I have been meeting with my advisor recently to discuss summer internships and steps I need to be taking now as a junior. She was also incredible at easing my fears of my capabilities. Later on, your advisors will be crucial with helping on your personal statement, application, and decisions. Start building y'all's relationship now!  

     

  4. 4. Resume Building-Explore Your Passions

    Many law schools will examine your application from a hollistic approach. They will be reviewing your resume, personal statement, letters of recommendation, and other optional essays. However, don't panic! Just because you're interested in law school does not mean you need to suddenly join every pre-law society available. In fact, many law schools are searching for diversity in their students' talents and hobbies. 

    If you are already a member in an organization, build this up! Try out for leadership positions, or focus on being an active member. Of course, many students work and do not have the time to join organizations. This is totally fine; in fact, it's great! The transferable skills you are gaining from working while in college are incredible. Law schools acknowledge this, and these students are viewed as dedicated hard-workers. 

    From talking to advisors and admission counselors thus far, I have realized that law schools often like candidates who have a clear passion and drive. This comes in many different forms: sororities, campus organizations, hobbies, work, etc. Find something you're passionate about, and pursue it! 

  5. 5. Law School Forums/Virtual Meetings-ATTEND!

    Another important task to be enaging in right now is attending law school forums or informational webinars. Many, if not all, are online over Zoom. They are meetings to answer questions or give virtual tours for prospective students. They are great ways to introduce yourself and your interest in a particular law school. 

    Even if you have set your heart on a particular school, it is crucial to attend other schools' meetings as well. The different advisors may have advice you haven't heard yet, or there might be a really neat aspect of the school you didn't know beforehand. These sessions discuss everything from the school's admission process to their location by an ice cream shop. You can find these sessions through the schools' websites in the prospective students section. RSVP, and dress to impress!

  6. 6. Research Law Schools-No Matter Your Current Plan!

    Sometimes, you get so wrapped up in your admittance to law school, you forget to even think about where you want to go! Websites like XploreJD offer great solutons to this problem. On XploreJD, you can enter in information about yourself (like GPA and LSAT), as well as answer a series of questions about what you're interested in. They will generate a list of schools that match your critieria, and give you the chance of admission (don't get too hung up on this part though-this is not taking into account your resume/personal statement). 

    It's important to remember that lists like U.S. News are not exactly accurate to who you are as a student. Your current circumstance may mean that a nearby school is best, versus one across the state. Culture, diversity, location, scholarship, unique programs and career opportunities are all aspects one will need to take into account when researching schools. 

    Piece of advice my advisor gave me: call their Career Centers! If you have a question about where graduates are placed, how they help alumni find jobs, etc., the Career Center can answer these and give you insight to the school. 

  7. 7. Letters Of Recommendation-Build Your Relationships Now 

    Due to the current situation of the pandemic, many courses have turned completely virtual. This is causing students to panick about letters of recommendation; it is much harder to build a solid foundation/relationship with a professor over Zoom than it is in person. Yet, it's not impossible! If you are still unsure about who will be writing your recomendation letters, make sure you are building relationships with your teachers by attending office hours and working hard in your classes. Aspects like class participation and hard-work do not go unnoticed by professors, even over Zoom. 

    Keep in mind, though, these relationships are not just for one-time letters! You should be networking and gaining insight from anyone you can. Your teachers care about your success; therefore, they care about you! Focus on building a foundation that will last years down the road. 

I hope this article has helped you in any way in your preparation for law school. Drop a comment below if you have any questions and/or advice for this future lawyer!