What you need to know 


Are you committed to a legal education?


If you are not sure you want to go to law school, you are sure that you do not want to go.


What are the minimum requirements for law school?


A Bachelors Degree from an accredited college or university

Acceptance by the Admissions Committee which relies primarily on:

What major should I choose if I wish to attend law school?


Law schools do not favor any one major over another. They are interested in having students with diverse backgrounds and will consider all applicants regardless of major. That said, however, there are some things you should consider when choosing a major and courses.

Read the official statement of the American Bar Association on Pre-law Preparation at http://www.abanet.org/legaled/prelaw/prep.html. 



What factors do law schools take into account in their admissions decision?


Law school entry is highly competitive and law schools take the best students they can get. The two chief criteria in their decision are a high GPA and a good score on the LSAT (Law School Admissions Test). These are considered together so that a high GPA will be undermined by a low LSAT score and vice versa.

From year to year law schools consistently accept students within a certain range of LSAT scores and GPAs. For a number of reasons, they may admit students outside these ranges but this is rare. The Official Guide to U.S. Law Schools provides a complete breakdown of the LSAT and GPA scores of students admitted in the previous year for every US law school. The Boston College Law School Locator (http://www.bc.edu/offices/careers/gradschool/law/lawlocator) provides a quick and easy-to-use  index of the same information. You should consult these early on so that you have a realistic idea of what is required to get into the schools you are considering.



What is the LSAT?


The LSAT is a standardized test (similar to the SAT, but differing in content) aimed at testing the kind of skills mentioned above. It is scored on a scale of 120 to 180. The LSAT is administered by the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC). You must be registered with the LSAC to take the test. The LSAC records your scores and reports them directly to the law schools you nominate.  For details on registering, consult the LSAC website at http://www.lsac.org. The LSAC website offers a different sample LSAT question every day, as well as a description of the different parts of the exam.



When should I take the LSAT?


The LSAT is administered four times a year: June, October, December and February. Most advisors recommend taking the LSAT in the June following your junior year or in the October of your senior year. If you take the exam in February of your senior year your scores will not be submitted in time for admission the year immediately following graduation.   The June test has the advantage that, if necessary, you can take the exam again in October and still submit your scores in time. The disadvantage with the June exam is that your preparation is likely to overlap with the university exam period.  



What can I do to prepare for the LSAT?


Because your LSAT score is so important for getting into law school you should try to perform to the best of your ability. Some students are good at standardized testing and others are not, but all students can benefit from preparation. If you take the test more than once all your scores will be reported and most law schools will average the scores. Ideally, then, you should take the test only once and only when your are fully prepared.

There are a number of things you can do to prepare.


Other factors in the admissions decision


There are two other components that law schools consider in making their admissions decisions:


Is it best to apply straight out of college or can I take some time off?


Law schools give no preference to applications from students still in college. A large proportion of admissions every year are from non-seniors. It is important, however, that if you take time off you do something constructive that will support your application. More important than a law-related job is a job that shows you are responsible disciplined, organized, and hard-working.  



Resources and further information