So, you want to go to law school. What’s next?
There are three major requirements to apply to law school:
A Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited four-year institution.
Completion of the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT).
Application for admission / Credential Assembly Service (CAS) report.
Choosing your undergraduate major
Major in something you love.
Some people think that you should major in Pre-Law or Political Science in order to attend law school. While those majors will certainly help prepare you for law school, they are not the only ones to consider. In fact, recent students place Economics, Math, and Philosophy majors at the top of the list.
The best advice for choosing a major is to choose something you enjoy and that challenges you. Law schools do look at your major, but typically they look harder at your cumulative grade point average (GPA). By majoring in something you enjoy, chances are you will earn a good GPA. Do not pick a major that you dislike just because you think it’s your only option.
Law schools do look for well-rounded applicants. We recommend that you pick up classes outside your major as electives. Choose classes that help you strengthen your analytical and research skills, as well as your writing, time management, and communication skills.
When to take the LSAT
Take the LSAT early.
Many students wait until the middle of their last year of undergraduate studies to take the LSAT. While this may work out sometimes, it is not recommended. We suggest taking the LSAT exam in the summer before the year you plan to enroll in law school. At WVU Law, we use your highest LSAT score; by taking the exam early, you have time to retake it if you wish.
You can find LSAT test dates and registration information on LSAC’s website, www.lsac.org.
Preparing for the LSAT
Practice. Practice. Practice.
The LSAT exam is unlike any other standardized test you’ve taken. Preparation is key. There are a variety of ways you can prepare for the LSAT: self-study, LSAT prep course, tutors. You know your study style the best, so do what works best for you. WVU Law does not endorse any one method over another. We simply recommend that you practice, practice, practice!
The LSAT is a timed test, so make sure you take timed practice tests. The biggest complaint we hear from test-takers is that “time ran out”. The more you practice the test under timed conditions, the better prepared you will be. LSAC.org has some good resources to get you started on LSAT prep.
Completing your application for admission
A complete application for admission to WVU Law includes:
An application (found at www.lsac.org)
In an effort to be more environmentally friendly, WVU Law will only accept applications via the LSAC website. If you have questions about this, please contact the Admissions office at 304-293-5304 or email@example.com.
A personal statement
The only requirements for the personal statement is that it be no more than two pages long, typed and double-spaced with one inch margins. The topic is completely up to you! Some people have a story they want to tell. Some people choose to focus on why they want to attend law school. Some people will focus on something entirely different.
We are looking for evidence of a strong ability to write, which includes grammar and punctuation. So proofread! This is your chance to show off your strong writing ability to the committee and tell them what you want them to know about you. We do recommend, if space permits, briefly addressing why you want to attend WVU Law.
Your Credential Assembly Service (CAS) law school report.
This report will include your two letters of recommendation, your LSAT score, and your official undergraduate transcripts and it will be sent to all law schools to which you apply.
Letters of recommendation
WVU Law requires two letters of recommendation, at least one of which should be from a college professor if you graduated within the last five years. It's important to talk to your recommenders early so they have plenty of time to complete it. Also, follow up with your recommenders. They are likely busy people and it’s easy for a letter to get lost on someone’s desk. Lastly, don’t forget to thank them! They are vouching for your work ethic and character and their letter could be what gives the final push for you to be admitted.
You must send official copies of ALL transcripts to LSAC for evaluation and inclusion in your CAS report. If you attended more than one college, you must send a transcript from EACH school. LSAC will not request these transcripts for you; you must ask your college or university to send the transcripts directly to LSAC.
For more information regarding the law school admissions process, we encourage you to check out our Frequently Asked Questions section. If you have any specific questions or would like to set up a visit to the West Virginia University College of Law, please contact the Admissions office at 304-293-5304 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
What else you should know
Submit additional materials.
Perhaps one of the biggest myths of the law school admissions process is that you cannot add any supplemental material to your file. At WVU Law, we do accept addenda from our applicants. These can address any weaknesses in your file (a lower GPA or LSAT score) or be in the form of a resume. If you have great work experience or community involvement, it is highly recommended that you include a copy of your resume.
If anything in your file could be considered a “red flag” to the Committee, you should address it. Avoidance is not an option. Avoiding a weakness usually draws attention to it. You want to address it so that the Committee doesn’t assume something that is incorrect. This addendum should be brief and clear so as to not appear like you are making an excuse and, as always, end on a positive note.
If you are not sure whether to include something or address something in particular, just ask us!