Prelaw Advising (Application Time Table for Law School)
- Make this your best year academically. Your acceptance to law school will depend to a great extent on your academic record. If you hope to go on immediately to law school after graduation, your junior year grades will be the most recently completed and thus reported.
- Usually it is not a good idea to take the LSAT prior to June, but start reviewing old copies of the test and exploring the option of enrolling in a commercial test preparation course. Sample tests are available in the LSAT registration packets (available in an advisor's office), or in LSAT prep books (such as Barron's).
- Do not write to law schools for catalogs and application forms until you return to school in August. Their printing deadlines for current year materials are late summer.
- Continue to explore and learn about the legal profession by: reading articles, pamphlets, and books, talking with and observing lawyers. taking part in the law-related activities on campus.
- Start investigating law schools. Think about where you want to spend three years of intensive study. There are a number of variables to consider: location, size, prestige, cost, special programs, student body, chances of admission, etc. Again, reading and talking with others can help. Most law schools request two faculty letters.
- Now is the time to correct any remaining weakness(es) in your academic skills. If you are a slow reader, have a weak vocabulary, or possess mediocre writing skills, you might explore courses in a community college in your home town during the summer or you might take an additional English course.
Summer Between Junior and Senior Years
- Pick up and LSAT/LSDAS Registration Packet (available in an advisor's office). Read the packet thoroughly to make sure you understand all phases of the application process. This is the single most important step.
- Register for the LSAT and LSDAS.
- Read the Official Guide to U.S. Law Schools, if you have not already. Begin to develop a list of 10-15 law schools which, given your GPA and LSAT scores, offer a reasonable chance of your gaining admission. A few should be longshots, but most should be in the "more likely" range.
- It's also nice to have one or two "safe" schools. Most applicants wind up sending applications to 6-10 schools.
- Prepare for and take the LSAT. The advantage of taking the June test is that you will know your score before August and can better select an appropriate range of law schools. You will also have time to register for and retake the test in the fall if your performance is not up to par. If the June test is not convenient, plan to take the October test.
- Develop a system for keeping track of all the registration and application details. Duplicate all forms, applications and correspondence for your own records.
- First request applications from law schools using the postcards in the LSAT/LSDAS packet.
- Make an appointment with the Pre-Law Advisor to discuss your plans.
- Pull together ideas for a personal statement or essay. Begin drafting and revising.
- Conclude arrangements for your letters of recommendation.
- Use the transcript matching forms in your LSAT/LSDAS packet to request that the Registrar send your transcript to LSDAS.
- Obtain financial aid applications (available from financial aid) if you intend to apply for financial aid.
- Investigate other financial aid possibilities.
- If you are uncertain about the strength of your credentials or the advisability of retaking the LSAT, make an appointment with the Pre-Law advisor.
- Finalize and send your applications (with the Law School Matching Forms in the LSAT/LSDAS Packet) to law schools before Thanksgiving, if possible.
- Double check everything. By mid-January, make sure the law schools received your applications, your LSDAS reports and all letters of recommendation.
- Wait and hope.
- Once admitted, send a deposit to reserve your space in the entering class.
- After hearing from all law schools, but before graduation, let the Pre-Law advisor know your results and decision. --Let your recommenders know of your application results.
- Arrange with the Registrar for a final copy of your transcript to be sent to the law school you will attend
What major should I choose in order to be admitted to law school?
No specific majors are required to carry out the purposes of prelaw study. However, the American Bar Association (ABA) does encourage undergraduates to develop basis skills such as language and communication, creative problem solving, a basic understanding of ethical theory and theories of justice, and critical thinking.
Since there is no "best" pre-law major, choose to concentrate in a discipline which holds genuine interest for you and in which you will be motivated to produce your best work. Seek breadth in your undergraduate program keeping in mind the need to hone your writing skills and your abilities of logical analysis.
What criteria do law schools consider to determine admission?
Although there are numerous criteria that law schools consider, such as extracurricular activities, and employment and/or internships, the primary factors are the applicant's Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) score and Grade Point Average (GPA). However, you must always keep in mind that your grades are much more important to your chances of admission to law school than your activities or employment. Therefore, the best advice is do not sacrifice your grades by becoming too bombarded with work or extracurricular activities.
In addition, all law school applicants are required to write a short essay, generally known as a "personal statement". Subjective factors such as faculty recommendations, extracurricular interests, and work experience are also considered by many law schools, but they are less important and typically do not compensate for mediocre academic performance.
To pad your GPA by taking easy courses at the expense of gaining a diverse and rigorous education and sharpening your analytical and writing skills will work to your disadvantage in scoring well on the LSAT and being prepared for the rigors of legal study.
For information on the LSAT, this site has been ranked number one with students: Law School Admission Council | http://www.lsac.org
How many of letters of recommendations do I need and from whom?
As you research your law schools, most will require two or three letters of recommendation. As to "who" should write your letter, refer first to the application for the school's preference. If no preference is given, choose references who are closely familiar with your academic work.
Since law schools are most interested in your ability to handle the intellectual rigor of law school, your professors are the best choice for recommendations. In contrast, a letter from a judge or an attorney will not benefit you unless the letter clearly indicates a strong familiarity with and personal knowledge of your intellect and work ethic.
When should I take the LSAT?
The LSAT should be taken either in June after your junior year or in the September/October test dates of your senior year. One advantage of signing up for the summer test is that you will have your results back in time to determine an appropriate range of schools to which to apply.
Shouldn't I take the LSAT once for practice?
No, definitely not. When you eventually apply to law schools, all of your test scores are reported. Since most schools average the scores or deduct points from the second score if it is higher, you should plan to take the test only once. If you do poorly, then take the test again - you have nothing to lose. You could, however, become familiar with the LSAT by reviewing copies of the old LSATs, in Barron's or LSDAS sample books. It's up to you to take the test under test-like conditions.
How can I finance my legal education?
Although a variety of resources are available to assist you in locating financial aid, your best source of information is at the law schools to which you apply.
Law Schools Attended by RIT Graduates
Cornell Law School
Stanford University Law School
University of San Francisco
George Washington University Law School
Berkeley School of Law
University of Maryland
University of Chicago
Boston College Law School
Boston University School of Law
Albany Law School
Franklin Pierce Law Center
SUNY at Buffalo School of Law
Syracuse University College of Law
University of Florida College of Law
Washington and Lee University School of Law
University of Detroit Law School
Cleveland Marshall College of Law
Tulane University Law School
New York University School of Law
Brooklyn Law School
Fordham University School of Law
Northeastern University School of Law
Emory University School of Law
Western New England College of Law
Mercer University School of Law
Benjamin Cardozo School of Law
Yeshiva University Chicago-Kent College of Law
Rutgers University School of Law- Newark
CUNY Law School at Queens College
New England School of Law
St. John's Law School
University of Baltimore School of Law
University of Toledo Law School
University of Denver Law School
Widener University School of Law