Frequently Asked Questions:
- What grade point average do I need to get into law school?
Law Schools look at the kind of courses taken as well as the numbers. A 2.05 in Physics may be more impressive than a 4.00 in basket weaving. Overall, however, the best way to determine what your GPA needs to look like is by looking at the schools. The Law School Admission Council (LSAC) has done most of the work for you! Using their Law School Search feature, prospective law students can look at in-depth information sheets provided by both the American Bar Association (ABA) and LSAC, complete with median GPAs, LSAT scores, and Bar passage rate of graduates.
- What should I major in to get into law school?
Despite what some may say, there is no one major that will assure acceptance into law school. In fact, law schools accept students from a wide variety of academic backgrounds. Law schools look for students who can read, write, and who have superior critical thinking skills. As such, many students who have majored in Philosophy, English, or Political Science have successfully attended law school. Any major that emphasizes critical thinking and extensive writing is a good starting point.
- What courses should I take to get into law school?
As stated above, it is in the student’s best interest to take a variety of classes that require extensive reading, writing, and critical thinking. Law schools look for students with a broad and varied background, especially those who are capable of dealing with complex problems logically. Don’t be afraid to take classes outside of your major – courses in philosophy, religion, women’s studies, and language, among others, can only help you, regardless of whether you choose to pursue law. (However, if you do not want to spend the rest of your life reading difficult books and laws, do not be a lawyer.)
- How can I find out about the LSAT?
Your best resource for the LSAT and for law school in general is the Law School Admission Council. LSAC administers the LSAT, and any and all questions can be answered by them. Some important things to remember about the LSAT:
It is offered four times a year in February, June, October, and December. Many Law Schools have application deadlines in February or March for the Fall term, so many recommend that prospective students take the LSAT in October or December. Students with financial need can apply to have their test fee waived, and those who qualify can also waive their law school application fees through the same system. Students with fee waivers are also provided with a free copy of the LSAT SuperPrep book, which contains a number of previously given tests for studying. VSU is an official test site for the LSAT.
- Can I prep for the LSAT?
You certainly can! LSAC provides a number of previous tests to work from, as the best way to study for the LSAT has often been to review and take past tests. LSAC sells old tests on their website for very reasonable prices, and many of the test prep books you can purchase at your local bookstore also contain practice tests. LSAC recommends that prospective law students practice the test under simulated test conditions.
The Department of Political Science here at VSU also has a number of preparation tools for students. Beyond practice tests and “LSAT for Dummies,” the best way to prepare for the LSAT and for law school is by taking courses with a heavy focus on critical thinking and argumentation. PHIL 2020 (Logic and Argumentation), is recommended of all students interested in pursuing law, along with upper-division courses above the 3000 level which make you express reasons for your conclusions in writing. LSAC’s main recommendation for LSAT preparation, beyond reviewing past tests and honing critical thinking skills, is to get a good night’s sleep before the test and to eat a good, but not heavy, breakfast. The VSU Bookstore also carries books to help you prepare. Keep in mind, however, that no book will help you prepare if you’re not willing to sit down and read it and if you don’t follow the directions.
- Would it help if (insert the name of any official) writes me a letter of recommendation?
If that official is familiar with you and your work, then yes. If not, you are better off finding someone else. If the person does not know you well, the letter is useless. Letters of recommendation should be written by people who are familiar with your abilities to read, write, and critically analyze. If you lack a strong academic recommendation, many law schools will accept a personal recommendation from an individual who is familiar with your character and abilities outside of an academic setting. A strong personal recommendation is better than a weak recommendation from a college Dean.
- What should I write in my letter to the law school?
The best way to write your letter is to read the instructions for what they’re looking for carefully. Some will say the talk about why you want to attend law school, and others will simply tell you to write whatever you want. Ultimately, the personal statement serves 2 functions: to give you a chance to stand out and to demonstrate your writing ability. In the case of the generic question, imagine you are standing in front of the admissions committee and they have given you five minutes to convince them to let you into law school. How would you persuade them without pleading, bribery, or threatening? You can say essentially anything you want, but what would you say to make them want to accept you out of all the other applicants? What makes you special and what can you bring to their program? Many of these statements can only be 2 pages, while some allow you up to 4. The Political Science Department has the Southern Association of Pre-Law Advisors Handbook on permanent reserve, which contains suggestions for statement writing as well as sample letters.
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