How to Prepare for and Apply to Law School
If you are passionate about law and justice, love learning about the workings of the legal system, and possess skills in critical thinking, clear communication, and investigation, a career in the legal field may be a good fit for you. Although many law-related careers do not require the rigorous postgraduate study that takes place in law school, students who wish to receive the most thorough education in legal studies and work toward a career as a lawyer or attorney will likely choose to follow this path. The question that remains, therefore, is – how does one prepare for law school?
At Concordia University, Nebraska, students who wish to enter careers in the legal field can choose to declare any academic major. As most law schools prefer that students receive a well-rounded liberal arts education as opposed to a predetermined sequence of undergraduate courses, the options for pre-law students are numerous. Common majors for students considering law include history, English, journalism and public relations and more.
Students can also choose to take courses that Concordia designates as “pre-law” courses and that cover a wide range of topics, from criminal justice to reporting and communication. The primary objective of taking these courses is, for undergraduates preparing for law school, to expose them to topics common to the legal system and to build their skills in necessary areas.
Attorneys and lawyers are the two most common “job titles” for students who graduate law school, but within these careers, there exists a far greater number of more specialized fields in which to practice law. Some examples of these specialties include family law, corporate law, environmental law, international law and more. For pre-law students who are intrigued by one of these more niche fields, Concordia offers many applicable minors, such as environmental science, world and intercultural studies and business.
While completing their undergraduate studies, students interested in attending law school should connect with pre-law academic advisors, both to guide them through the graduate school application process and to assist them in finding opportunities for law-related experience during college. Students who use their available resources to find internships, job fairs and other activities as undergraduates gain a more competitive edge once they begin applying for law school.
However, for pre-law students, grades and a high Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) score are also of great importance. Most law schools require students to submit LSAT scores with their application, so students must take the test so that they may receive their score before their chosen schools’ admission deadlines. According to the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC), the LSAT should be taken between June and December of the year before one wishes to begin law school – for example, a potential matriculant for the fall 2025 semester should take the LSAT between June and December of 2024.
The LSAT undoubtedly requires a lot of studying, usually beginning three months or more before one’s test date. Fortunately, the LSAC provides a comprehensive list of available study resources for the test on its website. The website also acts as a single location where pre-law students can create an account to keep track of undergraduate extracurriculars, academic achievements, internships, jobs and more.
The LSAC also operates the Credential Assembly Service (CAS), where law school applicants can send one application – as well as transcripts and letters of recommendation – to multiple schools at once. Most law schools require use of the CAS application, as it simplifies the process for both students and the schools to which they apply. It also allows students to use their existing LSAC online account to apply to their chosen schools.
With the submission of their CAS application, the law school preparation process is near completion for prospective law students. Although some schools require in-person interviews or further submitted materials, many do not. However, this does not mean that the pre-law process itself has ended. Students interested in attending – and succeeding in – law school must continuously develop their reasoning, critical thinking and writing skills. According to Indeed, these skills are some of the most crucial ones that a law student can possess. Therefore, both undergraduate students and those having already applied to law school should focus on honing their abilities in these areas.
Law school admissions are competitive, but career outcomes are equally rewarding. On average, lawyers and attorneys earn $135,000 annually, although rates vary between specialties and the scope of one’s practice. The benefits go beyond the monetary realm, however; attorneys and lawyers are generally satisfied with their jobs, and although they tend to work longer hours with higher stress, many enjoy their work because of their ability to assist in carrying out justice.
So if the legal system fascinates you, and you possess a strong work ethic and desire to further justice in whatever community you might serve, a career as a lawyer might be the perfect choice for you. Preparing for law school takes time and commitment, so starting while you are an undergraduate student is the path to follow for future success in the field.
Interested in Concordia’s pre-law program? Learn more here.