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 must major in Pre-Law, Political Science, Criminal Justice, or History in order to attend law school. While those subjects will certainly help prepare you for a legal career, they are not the only majors to consider! The best piece of advice for choosing a major is to pick something that you will enjoy and that will challenge you. While law schools do look at the major you studied, they really look at your cumulative grade point average (GPA). By majoring in something that you enjoy, chances are that you will have a good GPA. Definitely do not major in something that you are not going to do well in just because you think it’s your only option.
With that said, we do recommend that you take a well-rounded course of study. Pick up some Political Science and History classes. Choose a Philosophy or writing intensive English course as an elective. Find classes that will help develop your analytical and research skills, as well as your writing, time management, and communication abilities.
When to Take the LSAT
Take the LSAT in June.
Many students wait until their last year of undergraduate studies to take the LSAT exam. While this may be okay (depending on application deadlines), this is definitely not recommended. We suggest taking the LSAT exam in June of the year before you would like to enroll in law school. So, if you are looking at attending law school in Fall 2013, you should aim to take the LSAT in June 2012. That exam date already passed? No need to worry just yet, but you do need to sign up to take the LSAT as soon as possible. Remember – the LSAT exam is only offered four times a year (February, June, September/October, & December).
Preparing for the LSAT
Practice with Real Tests Under Timed Conditions.
The LSAT exam is not like every other standardized test you’ve taken. You must prepare! Everyone has their own method for preparing for the LSAT. Some individuals prepare by purchasing LSAT books, others enroll in prep courses. At the WVU College of Law, we do not recommend one method over the other, nor do we recommend one company over the other.
If you are well-disciplined and can study on your own, then you may just want to buy a couple of books. We suggest going to your local bookstore or library and checking out a couple of different prep books. Find books that teach in a manner that best suits your learning style. We recommend that you get at least two books by different publishers so that you can receive the most thorough perspective.
If you think that you will learn more from a course that is taught to you or from a private tutor, you may want to sign up with a professional organization. Simply type “LSAT Prep” into any search engine and you will be presented with a myriad of options. Take a look at the various reviews that are written for each company and research the product that you would be purchasing. Find the best fit for YOU.
Perhaps the most cost-efficient way to prepare is to take as many practice LSAT exams as you can! Make sure that you recreate the testing environment and time yourself. The biggest complaint that we receive from individuals who did not test as well as they would have liked is that they ran out of time. You can help alleviate this worry by repeatedly taking the exam from start to finish.
Completing Your Application for Admission
A complete application for admission at the WVU College of Law includes:
✓ An application (available through LSAC),
✓ A Personal Statement, and
✓ Your Credential Assembly Service (CAS) law school report. This report
will need to include your two (2) letters of recommendation, score from
the LSAT exam, and official transcripts from your undergraduate institution(s).
In an effort to become more environmentally friendly, the College of Law will only accept applications via the LSAC website. If you require a paper application, please contact the Office of Admissions at 304-293-5304.
The only requirement for the personal statement is that it may only be a maximum of two pages, typed and double-spaced with one inch margins. The subject matter is completely up to you! We recommend that at some point in your statement that you include why you wish to pursue a legal education. Also, proofread, proofread, PROOFREAD! Writing is a large part of law school and the legal profession. This is your chance to prove that you have a strong writing ability.
Recommendation letters are a very important aspect of your application. The WVU College of Law requires that at least one letter be from a college professor unless you graduated more than five years ago. It’s important to start talking to your potential recommenders early. Once you ask someone for a letter, make sure that you give them plenty of time to complete it. Also, be sure to follow-up with your recommenders! It’s easy for a letter to get lost on someone’s desk! Lastly, don’t forget to send them a personal thank you. They are vouching for your work ethic and character, and their letter could be what gives the final push for you to be admitted. Thank them!
You must sign up for and use the CAS through LSAC. The CAS provides each law school with a report that includes the necessary components for application. Once you sign up for this service, you will have your two letters of recommendation and official transcripts sent there. LSAC will then distribute this information to the schools to which you apply.
Perhaps, one of the biggest myths of the law school admissions process is that you cannot add any additional materials to your application packet. At the WVU College of Law, we do accept addendum from our applicants. These addendum 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 you’re not sure whether to include something or address something in particular, just ask us!
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 Office of Admissions at 304-293-5304 or firstname.lastname@example.org.