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How to Get Into Law School

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By Edited Feb 14, 2014 0 0

Applying and going to law school is not an adventure for the faint of heart. There are currently 199 law schools in the United States that are accredited by the American Bar Association. Most of these schools accept between 100 and 200 students each year to compose a first year class. More than 100,000 students apply to law school each year and there are only about 30,000 positions. Those are not great odds. However, all is not lost. If you want one of the 30,000 students that are welcomed into next years 1-L law school class, there are a few steps that you must take.

1. Graduate from college with a better-than-average grade point average (GPA). This means 3.0 or higher. Ideally, you should shoot for 3.75 and above if you have any hopes of getting into a Top 100 law school. Curiously enough, your undergraduate major has very little weight when applying to law school. In reality, law school admissions officers tend look more favorably on degrees that have nothing to do with the practice of law such as Engineering, Chemistry, or Spanish. If you bought into the myth that you needed a political science or criminal justice degree to get into law school, don't panic, you are in good company. Unfortunately, this does mean that you will need to work harder to distinguish yourself from the other 70,000 applicants who also majored in political science.

2. Ace the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT). This is by far the most important step in the law school application process. Your LSAT score is given far more weight than your undergraduate GPA. The best way to increase your LSAT score is by practicing LSAT questions. There is no real way to "study" for this exam in the sense that there is no set information that you can merely memorize and regurgitate. However, you can get familiar with the format and expectations of the exam. In all honesty, most people do not find that the LSAT questions are incredibly difficult in and of themselves- it is a timing factor. If you regularly take timed practice exams, you should have no problem completing your exam on test day and achieving a high score. If you have a difficult time studying on your own, take an LSAT course or find an LSAT tutor.

3. Decide which schools to apply to. It is fine to dream big, but remember that you are only one student out of thousands of highly qualified applicants. The higher a law school is ranked, the more competition there will be. Ideally you should apply to 3 to 4 "wish list" schools, 6 to 8 "competitive" schools and 3 to 4 "safety" schools. "Wish list" schools are law schools that you have a slim chance of getting accepted to but that you would really like to attend- hey, it COULD happen. "Competitive" schools are those in which your GPA and LSAT score fall within the school's average admittance rates- you should have a decent chance of getting accepted at these schools. "Safety" schools are those in which your GPA and LSAT score are significantly higher than the school's admittance percentages.

4. Sign up for the Law School Admission Council (LSAC). LSAC is a service that compiles all of your records, transcripts, LSAT scores and letters of recommendation and send them to the law schools that you apply to. Make sure that LSAC has all of the necessary documents before you begin applying to law schools.

5. Apply to law school. This is pretty self explanatory. Obtain paper or electronic applications for the schools that you wish to apply to and fill them out. You will need to provide personal information about yourself and answer questions such as "Have you ever been arrested?" Answer these questions truthfully and honestly. If you lie on your application, you may be prevented from sitting for your state bar. Prepare a personal statement to accompany your application. The personal statement is your chance to persuade the admissions council why you should be accepted to their particular law school. Avoid creating one generic letter and using it for all law schools that you apply to. Tell the committee about yourself and why you are a good fit for their particular school.



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