College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences

Pre-Law Advising FAQ

  1. What major and/ or courses should I choose?
  2. What are the basic requirements for admission to law school?
  3. What is the LSAT?
  4. When do I take the LSAT?
  5. Where can I find more information about law schools?
  6. How many times should I take the LSAT?
  7. Where should I go to law school?

1. What major and/ or courses should I choose?

There are no required courses to take as a prerequisite for admission to law school.  The American Bar Association does not recommend a particular major, and law schools do not prefer a specific major.  Therefore, you should opt for a major and courses you enjoy, and in which you will excel.  This is a practical approach since such choices will generally result in a higher grade point average (a critically important criterion for admission to law school).  Your undergraduate work should be spent gaining experience and expertise in subjects that you find important.  This will be helpful for your personal statement and getting letters of recommendation.

Your transcript should reflect a broad educational background, and you should choose a major and courses that will sharpen your skills in reading, researching, writing, oral communication, and critical analysis.  Do not overload on classes with the word “law” in the title: although one or two classes such as Constitutional Law or Philosophical Issues in the Law can be a useful introduction.

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2. What are the basic requirements for admission to law school?

A bachelor’s degree without any qualification as to courses or major is all that is required.  You will have to take the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT).

However,  law school admissions is very competitive and you will need a high grade point average and a strong score on the LSAT.  Law schools will also consider, to a much lesser degree: the personal statement, letters of recommendation,* undergraduate institution, grade trends, difficulty of undergraduate courses, work experience, graduate degrees, extracurricular activities, and writing skill ( as exhibited by the personal statement and LSAT writing sample).

*It is essential that you establish ties with faculty members early in your academic career so that they can write strong letters of recommendation for you. 

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3. What is the LSAT?

The LSAT is a half-day standardized test required for admission to all law schools that are members of the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC).  The test is administered four times a year at hundreds of locations.  It is designed to measure reading and comprehension; the organization of information and the ability to draw reasonable inferences from it; the ability to reason critically; and the analysis and evaluation of arguments.

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4. When do I take the LSAT?

The test is offered four times a year, in February, June, September/October, and December. We recommend taking the June test between your junior and senior year or the Sept/Oct test at the start of your senior year.  See the Law School Admission Council’s web site at http://www.lsac.org for more information about the LSAT.

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5. Where can I find more information about law schools?

The most comprehensive single source of information is probably the ABA-LSAC Official Guide to ABA-Approved Law Schools. An online edition is at http://officialguide.lsac.org/.

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6. How many times should I take the LSAT?
In 2006 most law schools switched from averaging to taking the higher LSAT score. (Check with the law schools you are applying to about their policy.)  Therefore, if you believe your score is not representative, retake the test.  Be aware that you may not take the LSAT more than three times in a two-year period.  This applies even if you cancel your score or it is not otherwise reported.

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7. Where should I go to law school?

You should apply to law schools that have been accredited by the American Bar Association. You will want to concentrate on applying to law schools where you are likely to be admitted.  Comparing your GPA and LSAT scores to the median scores of recent admittees to specific law schools will give you a rough sense of your chances for admission.

Do your research.  Contact the various law schools that interest you to obtain their standard information and application materials.  Read the materials carefully.  If you are interested in a particular kind of law, see if any schools have centers or programs in that area.  Contacts made during law school are invaluable later.

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