With an average lawyer’s salary hovering around $130,000 a year, choosing a career in the legal industry is a great investment in your future. The first step to a great career is getting into law school. With the right plan and some preparation, you can get into any school you want.
Choosing between schools needs to entail thinking about location, price, and reputation. When you first start your career, people will judge you based on the school you went to. If you go to a middle-tier school, you’ll save money and perhaps not have to travel, so it’s important to weigh your options.
If you’re wondering how to go about getting into law school, you should know that you have some preparation to do. Follow these 10 steps and you’ll be prepared for a bright future.
1. Load Up As An Undergrad
Taking a demanding courseload during your undergraduate studies shows prospective admissions staff that you work well under pressure. Think about the kinds of things that are covered in the LSAT and focus on a course load pointed in that direction.
Even if you don’t retain everything, gaining some familiarity with basic terms and concepts will make them easier to grasp when you encounter them later.
You should take courses that require you to read and write vigorously, as part of forming a case is building a strong argument based on facts. Taking a few philosophy courses can provide a foundation for thinking critically about social or cultural issues that arise in a law career. If you are interested in travel, make sure to check out a study abroad program offered by CEA.
Step outside the box of the humanities and social sciences to show admissions that you have broad intellectual interests.
2. Don’t Rely On Retakes
While you can retake the LSAT several times, taking it just once can streamline the process of applying and getting accepted. Take a few practice tests, get acquainted with the scoring system and try to prepare for every possible outcome.
Getting a strong score your first time should be the aim. Even though you can retake it and have your score go up a few points, it’s not always worth it. A few points can make a big difference, so get to know what range you should shoot for.
3. Create A Plan
With the application process, you’ll have several deadlines to meet. Every school will be slightly different but you should be prepared to apply for them all on the earliest due date.
If you need to have a resume, ask for letters of recommendation, or send in transcripts, have that process completed far in advance.
Asking your mentors to write letters of recommendation a week before the application is due can be inconvenient for them. Think about their time as well as yours when you’re interested in getting into law school.
4. Speaking Of Letters
By creating strong relationships with your professional colleagues and academic advisors, you will make it easy for them to write about you.
Don’t build relationships just for this purpose, but make sure they know who you are. A letter that talks about some of your personal qualities is much more effective than one focused on academic accomplishments found in your transcript.
5. Don’t Try To Play Every Position
Just because you can speak a little bit of Spanish or play a little bit of guitar, it shouldn’t go in your application. If you’re a better writer than a speaker, don’t try to show off your faulty speaking skills. Let your writing shine.
If you’ve had leadership positions in the past, let the admissions staff know through a well-written explanation. Focus on your strengths.6. Personal Statements Are About You
Don’t be that boring person at the party describing who you are by running through your resume. Use your personal statement to tell your story, why your approach is unique, or how your life was changed through an experience.
Admissions officers want to know something interesting about you.
6. Get Honest Feedback
Find someone who isn’t close to you to give you honest feedback on your application. If there’s a writing services center that you have access to, ask them to edit your writing and look for issues.
Find an editor who knows you well and can give you feedback on the content. Use a second editor, from a writing center or career services center, to look at your writing for technical issues.8. Don’t Procrastinate
Lots of programs will have x-number of spots and a rolling admissions policy. As soon as they get an application that fits what they’re looking for, they’ll fill that spot. While they have a posted deadline, there could be 3 spots and 500 applicants rushing for it.
Get your materials in order and submit as soon as possible.
7. Don’t Apply To Schools That Don’t Fit
If you’re interested in getting into law school for a particular type of law, go to the school with a program for that. The “top rated” schools don’t all have the best environmental law or sports law program that you’re looking for.
Read some law blogs to learn about different paths other lawyers have taken. For an example, click here.
Find a school that fits what you’re interested in and plan to be studying. It’s a waste of time, money, and energy to apply to a school just because you feel like you should.
8. Talk To Them
If you find a school that you want to be your number one choice, let them know. Even if they can’t offer you the best package, let them know you have a “targeted interest”. They’ll take this into consideration when looking at your application.
Getting Into Law School Requires Passion
If you’re excited about getting into a particular type of law, that can take you very far. In your personal statements, interviews, and conversations with admissions officers, your determination and honesty will show that you care.
Schools will appreciate your commitment to taking your future seriously and will reward you in return.
If you’re ready to start the process of finding the right path, contact us today for more tips and information.