** Before you crush this list, make sure you’ve registered for a Law School Forum **
As an undergraduate set on law school, you join an elite club of students who actually know their future path. Kudos to you. As you enter the realm of early morning LSAT courses and law office internships, you’ll need some help making your application shine. These ten expert tips complement your undergraduate career while securing coveted law school acceptance letters.
1. Make the Dean’s List
Point blank, GPAs matters. Your grades represent your ability to succeed in an academic setting. Unfortunately you’re dealing with the mystical curse of GPAs: they decrease easier than they increase. It’s time to reconsider sleeping in over your pesky 8 a.m. physics class.
Remember walking out of the SAT as a high school senior, glowing at the thought of escaping standardized tests for life? Well, the LSAT makes that just one more exam (aside from the Bar exam…but let’s not get ahead of ourselves). The LSAT score matters. Take it seriously, it’s that simple. Leave at least three months to study for the LSAT. Law School Admission Council’s (LSAC) Test Development Group recommended practicing under timed-conditions such as having a friend proctor your practice exam.
Every year, LSAC hosts Law School Forums across the country. This is the only place where you can hear directly from a member of the LSAT test development staff. That’s right, the LSAT masters. Learn more here.
3. Actually talk to your professors
Asking for letters of recommendation may feel daunting, but by fostering meaningful relationships with your professors, you’ll ease the awkwardness. Drop by Calc I office hours periodically to review class material. Then spark other conversations beyond derivatives and the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus. Get to know at least three professors and find an excuse to visit them often.
4. Get a professional mentor
You know the networking motto, “it’s all about who you know,” so who do you know? Perhaps Uncle Max works at a law firm or your next-door neighbor currently attends law school. Maybe one of those teachers you befriended has a law degree. The Internet can only get you so far—nothing beats a real life mentor. Mentors not only provide connections for internships and future opportunities, but they also ensure your law school application highlights your strengths. Someone who knows you and knows law is your golden ticket.
5. Snag a legal internship
The career center woman who raved about internships to your freshman class knew her stuff. Law experience shows law schools that you’re serious about a career in law. Talk to your career center faculty about prelaw internships and ditch the summer job of coffee concoctions and refilling hand sanitizer dispensers.
6. Unleash your inner storyteller
You only have a couple chances to show your personality amongst an otherwise number-driven application: one of these is the Personal Statement. Don’t rely on bragging about all of your achievements. Booooring. Instead, tell a story about you and your goals. Think of it less as an essay, and more as a work of personal art. In addition, more and more law schools are encouraging students to write Diversity Statements because they’re interested in cultivating a diverse class. Our best advice? Be creative. We all have something that makes us unique, so grab some cookies, blast some music and get to work.
7. Buckle down and write, write, write
As much as you want to give in to senioritis, don’t. Maintain momentum and end with a bang. Think of writing a standout paper such as an honors thesis as the finale to the fireworks show that was your undergraduate career. The process will build upon your research skills and strengthen your relationship with your professors. If writing is your forte, a thesis should be a piece of cake. And if it’s not, consider this a perfect time to improve.
8. Phone a friend
Think you don’t need help on your application? Think again. Don’t be the proud type when applying to law school; ask for help in as many ways as possible, especially on your personal statement. You may know yourself better than anyone, but you might miss a pesky grammar mistake that won’t fly past your English professor.
9. Be the leader of the pack
Law schools are looking for leaders. Were you the president of your fraternity? Did you get promoted at your job? Have you mentored other students or started your own volunteer group? Consider tying in your leadership experiences into your essay or actively integrate the word “led” into your resume.
10. Attend a Law School Forum
While this article is a good starting point, in person experiences will beat out online advice anytime. Attend one of LSAC’s Law School Forums and pose your questions directly to law school representatives. By speaking to somebody who may end up looking at your application, you will receive the information and advice that you need firsthand. In addition, all LSAC Law School Forums host exclusive workshops, including “Financing a Legal Education” and “What Do Lawyers Do?” All Forums are free, so find out when a Forum will be near your campus and crush your application.