Most would-be law school applicants focus on what they’ll have to do once they start the law school application process. But what they don’t realize is that there is plenty they need to do before they even start the engine on the law-school-mobile.
Here are four things that any law school applicant absolutely should do before they embark on their professional school journey:
Determine Your “Why”
Why do you want to go to law school? What about law are you passionate about? Do you know where you want your career to go after you graduate? It’s not enough to apply just because your parents want to. Or because your friends are doing it! Or because you think a JD would be good to have. No, no, and no. These are not great reasons for attending law school. Your reasoning needs to be strongly rooted in your future career plans, your skill sets, and your own personal desire to practice law. After all, the only true reason to attend law school is to work in a field that requires that degree. Anything else is secondary. If those secondary reasons are your primary motivation, you should rethink you law school plan altogether.
Don’t wait until your senior year to start planning for law school! We talk to too many students that decided to start the law school application in their senior year. Let’s be clear: if you’re waiting until the fall of your senior year (or later) to get serious about your applications, you waited too long. The fall is when you should have everything complete and ready to submit. Hopefully you’re not in this position, currently worrying about taking the LSAT, finding recommenders, or writing a personal statement. If you find yourself in this pickle, don’t completely panic. Although you’re behind, you can still get on track and get into law school. Make this your priority and get your ducks in a row now.
Study for the LSAT
Do not take the LSAT cold. In case that wasn’t clear; do not take the LSAT cold. It’s also worth noting that you cannot study for the LSAT in just a few weeks, either. Plan to study for 2-3 months. Yes, that’s right, months. Plan to devote hours a day to it! The LSAT is not a test you can memorize, it’s one that has concepts you must learn and practice over and over again. Your performance can improve dramatically if you study for it! By doing so, you’re also drastically improving your chances of admission to law schools you might otherwise not have a chance. Even more, a higher LSAT score could open the door to financial offers! It’s the single most important numerical indicator in your application. Why is it so important? It’s considered the best indicator of your first-year law school performance. Treat it with respect and study for it diligently.
Understand the Process
Applying to law school is intense. It’s stressful. It will have bumps in the road and make you question your sanity and motivation at times. It’s not just about writing an essay and getting a professor to write you a letter. It’s an involved process–as well it should be, considering that you are essentially choosing to go down a career path that will likely determine the rest of your professional life. Be aware that, for the brief time when you will be studying and taking the LSAT, choosing and applying to law schools, and waiting for those fateful decision letters, other things in your life might take a back seat. And that’s okay. Expect that it will happen, prepare for what can be an all-encompassing process, and you’ll get through it without a problem.
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