There’s an adage, a truism in its self-evidence really, that it’s never too early to start studying for the LSAT. So compelling and pervasive is this advice that high school seniors often ask how to start their law school journey. Most probably agree with me that it’s a bit premature to start seriously investing energy into hardcore LSAT prep. But, college freshman and sophomores are near enough to test day that it warrants some legitimate consideration.
In light of this, here is a comprehensive set of recommendations for those in the early stages of their college careers. This should make the transition into more diligent, dedicated LSAT study far more manageable. Follow these pointers and you’ll position yourself perfectly to tackle all things LSAT.
Excel in Undergrad
Your first two years of undergrad should have one focus—your grades. Establishing a solid GPA is paramount. There are no do-overs when it comes to getting as close to a 4.0 as possible. You can’t afford to sacrifice your grades for other pursuits if you’re serious about attending a top-tier law school. So, use your first two years primarily to lay academic bedrock. Leave the LSAT heavy lifting for your junior year. This is typically the earliest you’ll want to start gearing up for the exam. This is especially true if you’re looking to begin law school immediately after graduating.
That said, there’s a degree of LSAT fluency that high scorers universally achieve! There’s no harm in taking steps in that direction immediately. Part of that will naturally occur as you delve deeper into academia. Your reading and reasoning skills are going to improve significantly by simply being in college. To that end, there are some additional LSAT-centric moves you can also make in the short term. I suggest beginning to incorporate the following into your routine.
GPA is King
Your GPA can make or break your law school application. The early college years largely anchor it. For one, freshman and sophomore curricula often include gen ed courses that can be onerous. Work hard to secure As where your peers may stumble. Keep in mind that a high GPA in a less rigorous major is generally preferable to a more prestigious course of study you don’t do well in. Don’t let that dissuade you from pursuing a degree you’re passionate about! But if you’re on the fence and one academic path is more likely to produce more favorable credentials, take it. Law school is, in every sense, a numbers game. Your grades factor above very-nearly all else. But what if you have a bad semester? Try not to, but we have advice for you if you do.
Start Thinking About LORs
While we’re still talking academics, consider letters of recommendation early. Develop relationships with your professors in your first years at university and maintain them. Law schools want to hear from faculty that you have long, good-standing relationships with you. The sooner you can begin to forge those bonds the better. You need to establish a forward-looking network, as you see as you continue to read this post.
Join a Pre-Law Group
Involve yourself with like-minded individuals and join a pre-law group like Phi Alpha Delta! It’s hard to underestimate the value in immersing yourself in a community that has the same goals as you. You’ll experience camaraderie and a shared adventure as you all set sail towards a common destination. These are invaluable, but the more tangible benefits deserve a mention too. Membership in pre-law societies often grants you significant discounts on prep courses! For example, we’ve been working with pre-law societies like PAD for over a decade. Most pre-law groups also maintain a small library of LSAT books for you to use free of charge. The list goes on, so get in early and participate often.
Subscribe to LSAT Blogs
Start to familiarize yourself with not only the test, but the companies who can help you get ready for it. Subscribing to their blogs build a level of trust and comfort as you journey deeper into the industry’s ecosystems. This will help you make a more informed decision down the road when your attention turns to serious prepping. Since you already found your way here, I strongly recommend subscribing to us! In addition, maybe do some digging on some blogs from other companies as well.
Follow Industry Heavyweights
Following some of the industry’s top personas on twitter will keep you abreast of LSAT news and development. Truth is, things change in the LSAT world fairly often so the more aware you are of the ebb and flow, the clearer various decisions will be when the time comes to make them. Shameless plug for Dave Killoran and myself, here. Dave is one of the most popular and active out there, but you’ll see me on there as well.
Other LSAT Communities
In the same vein as following Twitter accounts, immerse yourself in several online LSAT communities. My personal favorite is our very own LSAT Forum. Here you can engage with our instructors and fellow test-takers to ask anything LSAT. Another really great one is the subreddit, r/LSAT. Both are well-populated and hugely informative. The objective in all of this is that you find a dynamic background, a steady thrum really, to keep your goals in view and your pathway to achieving them close at hand.
Challenge Your Brain
Become, or remain, an active daily reader. I can’t stress this enough. Try to read something fairly dense and academic every day, or at least as often as possible. Articles in the Economist, Nature, the Wall Street Journal, Scientific American, and more, for example. It will make you more comfortable when facing challenging Reading Comprehension passages. Many of which are actually drawn from those sources! It also makes the reading volume in law school feel more manageable. Here is a more comprehensive list of recommended reading.
Find some logic puzzle exercises that you enjoy and can try solving on a regular basis. Sudoku, games on sites like Brain Matrix and Addicting Games, etc. The more familiar you are with analytical reasoning puzzles, the easier the LSAT Logic Games section will be. This is especially big since the LG section is the most unique and inarguable strange component of the test for most people.
Start Financially Preparing
Start putting aside funds for LSAT prep and law school admissions now. It can be expensive, but if done right, it’s one of the best investments you’ll ever make. As an example, our average course improvement is about 12 points. This translates into tens, even hundreds, of thousands of dollars in scholarships and post-grad opportunities. You’ll want to afford the prep option that best suits you and will likely produce the most profound results, without feeling overly-constrained by your budget. Even if you plan to prep using free resources, don’t forget the cost of the LSAT and law school application fees.
With this early of a start, you have an opportunity to successfully pre-prep. Don’t squander it! Follow the tips above and you’re well on your way to the law school of your dreams.