If you’re like the thousands of other pre-law students, you are probably passionate about fighting for justice, helping people overcome legal problems, and using the judicial system to help better society.
However, having a heart for justice and equity is not enough for you to get admitted to law school and make strides toward a law career.
If you want to get into law school, there are certain steps you need to take during your undergraduate career. Without following these steps, you won’t actually be a “pre-law” student because you will not have fulfilled the requirements necessary to get into a law school.
This guide will explain what it means to be pre-law and show you how to improve your chances of being admitted into law school. Using this guide and taking advantage of our admissions consulting services will help you make sure you are on the right track if you plan on being a pre-law student during undergrad.
What does “pre-law” mean?
There are many misconceptions about what it means to be pre-law.
Some people believe that students who are “pre-law” have already been pre-accepted to law school or are automatically on track to attend law school. Others believe that pre-law students must have a pre-law major.
In reality, a pre-law student is one who is taking courses designed to prepare them for law school. While some colleges and universities do offer a specific Pre-Law major, many schools do not. However, because you can major in just about anything and still get into a lawyer, you can still be pre-law without obtaining this specific major.
What courses should pre-law students take?
Unlike pre-med, there are not any specific prerequisite courses that students have to take in order to attend law school.
For one, regardless of your major and classes, you will have to take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) to show that you are prepared for law school. Furthermore, there are so many different facets of law that students can specialize in that law schools want their students to reflect a variety of academic backgrounds rather than just one major.
In fact, according to research showing the top ten most common majors for law school applicants, “other” is the second most popular option (other top options include political science, psychology, criminal justice, English, history, economics, philosophy, arts and humanities, and sociology.
Ultimately, being pre-law has less to do with the major you choose and more to do with how you prepare for law school as an undergraduate.
Preparing for law school
Whether you are an English major, a Biology major, or anything in between, there are steps you will need to take to prepare for law school:
Start preparing early
Reading this guide is a good first step! If you know you want to go to law school after undergrad, the time to start thinking about getting into law school is right now!
If you wait until your senior year to start looking up what you need to do to get into law school, you will miss out on valuable experiences, LSAT study time, and classes that will improve your chances of getting into the law school of your dreams.
Start meeting with academic advisors, looking at statistics for the incoming classes at various law schools, and learning about the LSAT sooner rather than later.
Earn good grades
Law schools are well-known for being highly competitive. If law school is in your future, you need to maintain a high GPA during all four years of undergrad.
Again, the benefit of preparing early is that you will know not to slack off your first semester freshman year or at the end of your senior year. If you’re not earning mostly A’s, you will have an incredibly slim chance of getting into law school.
Here is the average GPA for accepted applicants at some of the most prestigious law schools in the nation:
|University of Chicago||3.89|
|University of California-Berkeley||3.8|
|New York University||3.79|
Pre-law students who want to attend one of these ten law schools need to have a GPA that is at least as high as these median scores, otherwise their chances for admission are unlikely.
Look up the average GPA for the colleges on your list. Make this GPA your target, and try your hardest to meet this goal throughout your undergraduate career.
Study for the LSAT
While there isn’t really “passing” and “failing” when it comes to the LSAT, only about one-third of LSAT takers earn a score that falls within the average range for accepted law school applicants.
This test has a tough reputation for a reason.
If you are serious about being pre-law and getting into law school, you will need to study for at least 200-300 hours spread out over several months.
There are many ways to prepare for the LSAT:
- Take official practice tests under standard testing conditions
- Use LSAT prep books to study
- Take LSAT prep courses
- Answer and review practice questions from LSAT study guides
- Familiarize yourself with the test and its time limits
The LSAT score scale ranges from 120-180, but you will need to be on the higher end of this range to have a good chance of getting into law school.
Here are the average LSAT scores for accepted applicants at the top law schools mentioned earlier:
|Average LSAT Score|
|University of Chicago||171|
|University of California-Berkeley||168|
|New York University||170|
As a pre-law student, earning a high LSAT score is one of the most integral steps you can take to get into law school.
Take rigorous courses
As we mentioned earlier, there are not specific prerequisite courses pre-law students need to take to get into law school. However, law school admissions officers do want to see that students are challenging themselves.
If you only take “easy” courses or lower-level throughout undergrad, your application will not be impressive.
Demonstrate that you have what it takes to handle the rigor of law school by taking challenging courses within your major and earning good grades in these courses.
When selecting your courses, try to take some that will give you the skills you’ll need to be successful in law school.
For instance, intensive writing courses will help you improve your written communication skills and prepare you to answer essay questions for your law school application. Public speaking courses will teach you how to effectively argue and articulate an idea in a concise and effective manner. Upper level science and history courses will sharpen your research abilities. Advanced math courses will improve your critical thinking and problem solving skills.
Take a variety of challenging courses so that you will be more well-rounded and prepared for law school.
Get involved on campus
Law school admissions officers want to see that you did more in your four years of undergrad than just take courses. They want to see that you took initiative and exercised leadership skills in different organizations and clubs on your campus.
It always looks better to showcase your depth of involvement in a couple of activities than to be barely involved in several activities.
For this reason, it is important that you find organizations to get involved with as soon as possible. It will be a lot easier for you to get a leadership position within an organization and to truly learn and grow from your experience working with an organization if you are involved during all four years of your undergraduate career than if you join during your junior or senior year.
Connect with your professors
Most law schools will require at least one letter of recommendation. Although you may have had an incredible bond with some of your high school teachers, those letters of recommendation will not serve you well after you finish your undergraduate degree.
This means that you will need to build relationships with some of your professors so that you can reach out to them for strong letters of recommendation when it is time for you to apply for law school.
Connecting with professors early and staying in touch with them throughout all four years of college will not only help you receive better, more accurate recommendation letters, but it will also give you the chance to learn from accomplished professionals who can provide you with mentorship and guidance.
How Prep Expert can help
Before you can declare yourself “pre-law,” you have to get into college and complete your undergraduate degree.
Prep Expert offers private tutoring for a variety of subject areas and standardized tests as well as ACT and SAT prep courses that can make your application stand out from the pool of other applicants at your top schools.
Get into a great college, learn strong study habits that will help you maintain a good GPA throughout undergrad, discover time management skills that will improve your test taking ability when you enlist our services at Prep Expert.
Learn more about Prep Expert and how we can help you become a pre-law student when you visit our website.