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Pre-Law Frequently Asked Questions.
1. What should your top priority be as a Pre-Law student?
Do well in your courses! Make sure you have adjusted to the demands of academic life before becoming too involved in extra-curricular activities. Do not be afraid to attend office hours and do take action at the first sign of problems in a class (anything below a B on your very first exam). Ask for help and get it. It is a sign of responsibility not weakness.
2. What should my major be?
Choose something that you like and in which you will excel. Law schools do not prefer one major over another. Law schools look for applicants with a broad college education that is not vocational. Select your major based on interests and alternate career ambitions, and focus on courses that will develop skills for the LSAT and for law school success. What is crucial is your GPA. Find a major that you enjoy and one in which you can do well.
3. What classes will help prepare me for law school?
Classes that emphasize the following will help develop essential skills for law school:
- Analytical/Problem solving
- Critical thinking and reading
- Writing and Oral communication
- Organization and time management
4. What is the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) and what do I need to know about it?
The LSAT is now administered seven times a year – January, February, March, April, June, July, September, October, and November. Generally, students take the test for the first time in June or July after their Junior year.
The exam lasts for half a day and the sections test Reading Comprehension, Analytical Reasoning and Logical Reasoning. There is a non- scored Writing Sample that is submitted to the law school as well.
Sign up early for the LSAT so you can take the exam at your preferred test location. If your preferred location is full you may have to drive at least an hour to another location for the test.
The LSAT, along with your GPA, are the two most important aspects of your law school application.
5. How do I prepare for the LSAT?
Begin at least three months (and preferably six months) before the test. Treat it like a job and commit to ten-fifteen hours a week. There are a number of commercial courses, both online and in person, available. The Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) has recently begun offering a free online class through Kahn Academy. You may register for the free class at lsac.org. There are also various printed and online materials available for purchase. Consider whether you are a student who does better with a lot of guidance and feedback when choosing which methods used to prepare.
Take at least five fully timed practice exams! Thoroughly review the answers and the reason for answering correctly or not. The review may take as long as the exam!
Study old tests. You may commercially purchase past tests from LSAC.
6. Can I retake the LSAT?
Yes, up to three times in a two year cycle. But be aware that law schools receive all of your scores, and may not simply “count” only the best one. Large improvements in test scores are possible but rare and law schools typically like a written explanation (in the form of an addendum to your law school application) as to why you believe the large increase occurred.
The best strategy is to approach as a one-time test, and devote the necessary time the first time.
7. Does your GPA matter?
Yes! Along with your LSAT, it is the most important part of your law school application. If you have issues with your GPA, particularly if you had a poor semester or had a major problem, consider writing an addendum to your law school application explaining the situation.
Your goal should be to get the highest GPA possible!
8. What if you replaced a bad grade by taking a class over; will the law schools know?
Yes. The LSAC calculates the grade point average for all applicants using the same formula. All grades for all classes are counted. For example; you receive an F in a class, retake and earn an A. Both grades will be included and the average is a C for the class.
9. How do you pay for law school?
Merit Based Scholarships are based on LSAT, GPA, Personal Statement, Letters of Recommendation and are offered on a rolling basis at most law schools.
Grants for need based scholarships often require a separate application. There are not nearly as many as there are for undergraduate education. For example, there are no Pell Grants for law students.
For Financial Aid, complete a FAFSA whether you need it or not. This is one method to quality for need based scholarships.
You need to consider how you will pay. Law school is expensive and many students pay by using loans. Some students are leaving law school with $150,000 –$ 200,000 in loans! This may limit career choices and paying for life’s necessities difficult!