Though the admissions requirements will vary slightly from school to school, there are some standard prerequisites. If you’re planning on applying to law school, you’ll need to start at least a year in advance in order to complete everything you need. Here are 5 of the most common requirements to get into law school.
Undergraduate Degree from an Accredited College or University
It’s not necessary to have your undergraduate degree in hand before applying to law school, but you’ll need to have completed the degree prior to your first term. Most students apply to law school late fall or early spring during their senior year.
Law schools are interested in students from many backgrounds, so the field of study for your bachelor’s degree is flexible. Traditionally, many pre-law students choose degrees in political science, international studies or English. However, law school admissions boards are usually less interested in the particular degree you chose and more interested in seeing that you took rigorous classes and performed well.
Your transcript is included as part of the law school application, and it will get close scrutiny. A high undergraduate GPA is very important (most law schools have a minimum GPA requirement of around 3.5, but the average GPA for accepted students is much, much higher).
The Law School Admission Test is a standardized test that everyone who wishes to apply for law school must take. Your score on this test is critical—low scoring applicants should re-take the test if at all possible.
Start studying for your LSAT well in advance of taking it. Most students begin a study program during their junior year and take the test the summer before their senior year. If you need to re-take the test, you can do so in October or November, during fall semester of your senior year.
Letters of Recommendation
You’ll need at least one letter of recommendation to accompany your law school applications. Your past and current professors will write these for you, provided that you’ve been a good student. Make sure to form some working relationships with professors during your undergraduate studies; working for a professor as an assistant is a great way for him to see your strengths and talents in addition to the coursework you complete for his class.
The personal statement portion of your law school application is where you list your achievements (both academic and personal) and talk about why you’re a great candidate for law school. The quality and tone of this statement is very important; it’s the one piece of your application that allows the admissions board to see your personality.
Get Started Early
If you’re thinking that law school is in your future, get an early start to prepare. Law programs are rigorous, and the number of law students a school can accommodate are limited, so admissions boards want to make sure that you’re able to handle course work.
Talk to a guidance counselor at your university or college and get started on the right path.