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Start Early for a Successful Law School Application

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Start Early for a Successful Law School Application
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If you're considering law school but aren't sure, don’t take a wait-and-see approach. Law school admission is highly competitive. You can’t afford to put off preparing for law school. If you have the tiniest inkling that you may want to become a lawyer, take steps to ensure that you don’t squelch your chances for admission. Should you decide not to apply you haven’t lost anything by preparing. On the contrary you have become a more well-rounded (and employable) student. So, how do you prepare to apply to law school?

Determine if law school is for you.
It sounds good on paper – becoming a lawyer – but a career in law is not for everyone. Consider common reasons for going to law school. and bad reasons for going to law school. Take time to evaluate your abilities and determine if it is for you.

Become informed about the application process.
What are the parts of the law school application? What experiences must you have in order to be competitive? When are applications due? What should you do during college in order to be on track to apply to law school?

Consult with a faculty advisor.
Seek a professor who can advise and guide you in choosing courses and experiences to round out your law school application. Look for professors who are lawyers. You can find them in law and criminal justice departments and often political science and history departments. Take their courses to ensure that they know you and are familiar with your abilities so that they can provide advice that is geared to your situation and needs.

Take varied and challenging coursework.
You don’t need to be a prelaw major to apply to law school. In fact, any major can be a springboard to law school if you prepare well if you take a variety of challenging courses in different fields. Your coursework should provide you with a well-rounded and rigorous education. Don’t just take classes that are easy A’s. Challenge yourself. Admissions committees pay attention to your GPA but also the overall difficulty of courses. Look for classes that emphasize critical thinking, writing, and public speaking in a variety of disciplines such as history, political science, law and criminal justice, psychology, English, and more.

Earn excellent grades.
Your grade point average is a critical piece of your law school application. Virtually all applicants are exceptional students. Distinguish yourself by earning excellent grades in challenging courses.

Prepare rigorously for the LSAT
Your score on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is even more important than your GPA Learn about the LSAT well before you must take it. Prepare by taking practice exams, using LSAT prep books, and perhaps even taking a prep course

Choose well
Choose a range of law schools to which to apply. Some should match your qualifications well. A few should be reaches or a little bit beyond your qualifications (dream schools). The final set of schools should be safety schools, or those whose qualifications you exceed.

Prepare to write a stellar essay.
Know yourself, your strengths and weaknesses, before you write your law school admissions essay.  Line up faculty and peers who can read and provide constructive feedback on your admissions essay.

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