Freshman and Sophomore years:
- Maintain a strong GPA. Ideally, your GPA should be above 3.3 by the time you are ready to apply to law school.
- Take courses that will help you to develop the many skills that you will need during your career. Most lawyers will say that WRITING is the most important skill that a lawyer needs. Critical thinking is also very important. See the discussion of pre-law coursework.
- Join Phi Alpha Delta or Mock Trial so that you can interact with other legal-minded peers.
- Take the time to read some of the many books that can give you insight into what you are proposing to do with your life. See the list of recommended books.
- Maintain a excellent credit rating. This will be important when you later need to borrow money to attend law school.
- Read voraciously and write, write, write.
- Keep your GPA high by earning excellent grades in all of your courses.
- See your Pre-Law advisor to develop a study plan for the LSAT.
- Register to take the LSAT — ideally in the June following your Junior year.
- Do an internship with a lawyer or volunteer to work in a local law office. Keep in mind that you can earn credit for an internship and it may fulfill an
- Experiential Learning Requirement (ELR).
- Begin thinking about which law schools you might want to attend.
- Maintain your excellent GPA.
- If you did not take the LSAT right after your Junior year — or if you and your Pre-Law advisor agree that you should re-take the LSAT — register for the October exam.
- Identify two faculty members who will write letters of recommendation for you. Faculty members should be contacted at the start of the semester so that they have at least two months to write your letters.
- Write drafts of your personal statement and résumé, and ask your Pre-Law advisor for feedback. Also, seek guidance from the Student Professional
- Development Center and the Writing Center.
- Plan on having all of your applications in the mail by the end of October. Most law schools use a “rolling” admissions process, which means that they start reviewing applications as they receive them. The earlier you have your materials in, the better chance you have of being admitted.
- Take a variety of liberal arts courses to develop a well-rounded, interdisciplinary perspective.
- Learn to pay close attention to instructions and detail.
- Work on developing professional communication skills.
- Develop good work-management strategies. Learn to use your calendar and avoid procrastinating. Personal discipline is essential to success in law school.
- Take as many writing courses as you can.
- Familiarize yourself with legal documents by reading U.S. Supreme Court cases and legal briefs. You can find these online at sites such as Findlaw.com and Oyez.org.