Select a major and courses
There is no required major or program of study for law school preparation. It is recommended to select a major early on that you will enjoy, get a good GPA in, which could provide a foundation for a career or graduate study outside the law, should you change your mind. However, if you are interested in patent law or a field of law requiring content knowledge such as accounting, your choice of undergraduate degree matters.
Prepare for the LSAT
Allow four to six months to study for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). Free or low cost test preparation materials can be found on the Law School Admission Council ( LSAC) website. Knowing your learning style will help you choose the type of test prep program that will most benefit you and fit your learning style. Program costs can vary significantly. To get started, take a sample LSAT to get a baseline score. This will help you identify your strengths and weaknesses to determine what type of program is best for you.
Take the LSAT
The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is required by all ABA accredited law schools. Sign up for it on the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) webpage. The LSAT score is viewed as the most reliable predictor of law school performance.
The cycle for taking the exam goes from June through February during your senior year, unless you are applying to be admitted in an early start program (see 3+3 agreement with University of Idaho College of Law). By taking the exam early in the test cycle, you will be ready to submit your application for the early November deadline to gain an admission advantage.
Achieve a competitive GPA
Because many factors are considered when looking at your GPA, successful students show considerable GPA variation and come from a wide range of undergraduate institutions. Here's what they consider:
- Cumulative GPA as calculated by the Credential Assembly Service (CAS).
- GPA at your undergraduate degree institution.
- GPA within your major.
- Your percentile ranking in comparison to other law school candidates from your school.
- Your academic honors, the rigor of your program, trends in your academic performance, and the academic quality of the degree-conferring institution.
Seek letters of recommendation
Seek out professors, employers and supervisors who can speak enthusiastically to your unique characteristics or skills that relate to your ability to perform in an academic or professional setting, and who have an awareness of how you perform in comparison with your peers.
Start early to build these relationships.
Meet regularly with recommenders to share your interests, motivations and accomplishments. This ensures a commitment on their part to give you a strong letter of recommendation. This can make the difference in getting an offer to the school of your choice.
Write a personal statement
Written in the personal narrative form, the personal statement/essay shows your personal attributes, characteristics, and interest in practicing law. Allow sufficient time to have your initial draft reviewed by people who know you well, and to revise necessary changes.
Build your résumé
Educational experiences bear equal, if not more weight than professional experience on the résumé for law school. General areas of experience include education, professional work, volunteer work, leadership roles, research, languages, and honors/awards. Supply enough detail to provide context for each event or accomplishment. Don't forget to follow any instructions in the application package. For basic help with formatting and content, schedule a career prep appointment for résumé help with Career Services.
Attend the Pre-Law Society
Join the Pre-Law Society to get to know students who have similar interests and goals in the law, and to develop your leadership skills in helping other students achieve their goals.
Recommended Year by Year Plan
- Take a Type Focus career assessment.
- Do an informational interview with a JD faculty mentor.
- Job shadow an attorney.
- Volunteer in public service work.
- Establish a good academic foundation for a competitive GPA.
- Build strong relationships with professors for letters of recommendation.
- Create a grad plan, keeping in mind early grad school programs and requirements.
- Visit the college advising center to get your plan approved.
- Prepare for LSAT.
- Create résumé.
- Research law school programs.
- Seek leadership opportunities in the Pre-Law Society.
- Meet with a prelaw faculty mentor.
- Do a practice interview.
- Attend law school recruiting events.
- Take practice tests.
- Take the LSAT.
- Apply for early application deadline.
- Write personal statement.
- Attend a law fair or forum.
- Refine résumé.
- Visit law schools of choice.
- Have a work meeting with faculty mentor.
- Network with professional contacts.
- Submit your application to LSAC-CAS.
- Interview with targeted law schools.
- Get some work experience in the legal field.
- Pay off undergrad debt.