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REQUIREMENTS FOR ADMITTANCE TO LAW SCHOOL
Virtually all law schools require applicants to have an undergraduate college or university degree and to take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). Whether or not the applicant is admitted to a law school depends largely, if not almost entirely, on the school's evaluation of the applicant's undergraduate grades and LSAT score.
Strong undergraduate preparation is therefore needed, as there continues to be stiff competition for law school admission. In order to have a reasonable chance of admission, the applicant should probably have a grade average well above "B" and rank in the upper half of those taking the LSAT. These admission criteria vary from law school to law school. The legal studies advisor at ISU has data available on admission policies at almost all of the law schools in the United States.
Information about law schools (admissions criteria, etc.) can also be found on the Political Science Department's Web Page under the category "Resources".
Preparation for Law School
The Association of American Law Schools has stated that its members seek students well qualified in oral comprehension and expression, critical understanding of the human institutions and values with which the law deals, and creative power in thinking. The Association expressly noted that development of these qualities is not the exclusive monopoly of any academic discipline.
The Prelaw Committee of the Law School Admission Council, the Association of American Law Schools, and the American Bar Association recommend only that college students intending to apply to law school pursue interesting and challenging educational programs which, in the classical sense, are both broad and liberal.
As these statements indicate, few if any law schools require a specific major or specific courses for their applicants. However, some law schools may specify that a substantial majority of an applicant's courses must have contained significant theoretical or intellectual content. Recent evidence shows that the single most popular major for a prelaw student is government or political science.
The Department of Political Science at Indiana State University offers two major tracks. There is a conventional department major track and a relatively unique prelaw major track. The prelaw track includes relevant course options from several other departments throughout the University. It is also quite possible to couple a political science major (regular or prelaw) with a second major or a minor in a related field of interest, or in a field (such as English or communication) which stresses strong writing, speaking, and/or analytical skills. The Department would also like to call attention to the University's International Studies minor, which improves a student's chances of being "up to speed" for the challenges and opportunities of the next century.
It must be remembered, however, that no specific major and no specific courses can guarantee a student's acceptance into law school or success after admission.
Advisement and Counseling
The Legal Studies advisor is also Director of the School Information Office, which maintains a comprehensive collection of law school catalogs and files of additional information.
The Pre Law advisor's main responsibility is to discuss with prelaw students not only their undergraduate programs, but also their career plans. In addition, the Legal Studies advisor is prepared to assist students in selecting the law schools to which they apply and in discussing their applications. All students who are considering the study of law are urged to consult the Legal Studies advisor.
Other Features of the ISU Program
Indiana State University does not have a law school; however, its library has an extensive collection of law materials and the computerized WestLaw legal research program is now available to all students at no cost. The Legal Studies advisor, in addition to advisement duties, teaches courses in constitutional law, civil rights and liberties, judicial process, and administrative law. In these classes students have the opportunity to learn and exercise many of the skills needed in law school. These and other political science courses makes use of legal materials found in courses make use of legal materials found in the Indiana State University library and the legal dimensions of the University's highly developed computer resources (e.g., WestLaw and access to the Internet). The Legal Studies advisor can also suggest useful courses in other disciplines.