If you aspire to become a lawyer, you probably know that law school is challenging and requires long hours of study and legal research — not only during your time there, but before law school as well. However, many law students find that the rewards of a career in legal studies outweighs the challenges of law school.
When looking into law school, it’s important to do your research so you know what schools are an option for you and what to expect from your time in law school. In addition, there are some things you can do as an undergrad to prepare yourself for law school.
In This Article:
- Choosing a Good Major
- Prepare for Law School by Keeping Up Your GPA
- Purpose of the Law School Admission Test (LSAT)
Choosing a Good Major
If you already have a with law career in mind, there is no specific bachelor’s degree that can guarantee your admission to law school. There are, however, degrees that are seen as more favorable than others and can help you develop skill sets that are essential for future lawyers. For example, earning a degree in the field of humanities will emphasize reading comprehension and writing, both of which are valuable skills to prepare for law school and a career in law.
Others may choose to earn undergraduate degrees in business or even STEM subjects. Those who want to focus on environmental law in the future might choose an undergraduate degree in environmental science to become more informed about the issues they are passionate about and want to commit their career to in the future.
Another area of law that requires a specific focus is patent law. If a student is interested in pursuing patent law, a degree in the sciences — or at least a large number of science credits — is usually required for this field. Before applying to law school, it’s extremely important that each student know what branch of law they’re interested in pursuing as well as the requirements to do so.
Although many students believe the only option for future law students is to earn a degree in criminal justice or government studies, be sure to consider all of the other undergraduate degree options that may be relevant for your personal career aspirations as a lawyer to ensure your future success.
Prepare For Law School By Keeping Up Your GPA
It is generally agreed that when applying to law school, a good college GPA will help make you a more competitive applicant. It’s extremely important to keep up your GPA while completing your undergraduate degree to keep your law school application competitive with others. At the top 10 US law schools, the median GPA of accepted students is above 3.8.1
Keeping up your GPA can be challenging at some points throughout college, but there are a few things you can do that will ultimately benefit you and help you maintain your GPA.
Building Good Relationships With Your Professors
Building relationships with your professors as an undergrad can not only help you maintain your GPA but can also improve your chances of being accepted to law school when you apply. During law school prep, it's important to utilize professors’ office hours when you can — and make sure to participate in class discussions and activities. This will help you become more familiar with the material you are learning — and more comfortable asking your professor to answer questions when you have them.
Additionally, having a strong relationship with your professor means that you can turn to them for a recommendation letter when you apply to law school. Law schools often require a recommendation letter for acceptance, so getting support from a professor who knows you well will be a great addition to your application.
Developing Good Study and Work Habits
Because you will be spending long hours studying in law school, it’s important to begin developing good study and work habits now — so find a good system that works for you and stick with it. It’s also crucial to learn how to work amid distractions. Some students wear earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones to drown out noise, while others listen to instrumental music to help them focus.
Getting Involved in Extracurricular Activities
Getting involved in activities outside of your studies will make you a more competitive applicant for law school — plus, it can also help you build friendships and have fun while completing your degree. Finding internships or jobs related to legal studies is one path that students take for extracurriculars, or you might choose to participate in clubs on campus.
Getting involved in extracurricular activities, such as student government or debate team, can help you stand out among other law school applicants while exploring your personal interests and passions. Clubs such as a pre-law society club will not only boost your resume for law school, but will also help you catch an early glimpse of the profession.
Purpose of the Law School Admission Test (LSAT)
The LSAT determines whether prospective law school students are prepared to enter law school. If you decide to apply to law school, the LSAT will test your knowledge in several areas, each with a time limit of 35 minutes. These areas include the following:2
- Logic and reasoning: In this section, the LSAT tests whether you can understand other peoples’ reasoning by requiring you to respond to a series of passages.
- Reading comprehension: The LSAT tests your ability to understand written statements by requiring you to read a series of passages and either evaluate them or compare and contrast multiple passages.
- Logic games: This section tests your skills in logic, analysis and reasoning by asking you to read a series of passages and make logical conclusions about them.
- Writing: This section tests your writing skills by answering an essay prompt. Like all other sections of the test, you’ll have 35 minutes to complete the essay portion, but you may complete it online as early as eight days before the test.
- Experimental: You are not graded on this section. Rather, the test makers will use the results from this section's questions to use in future tests.
Prep for the LSAT
You can begin prepping for the LSAT by analyzing your preferred study methods. There are many practice questions and tests available, which you can use to study the best methods for completing the test. Then, you can practice these methods until you find the one that works best for you.
Next, you can use these methods to practice your speed at completing them. As you practice more, you can increase your speed until you can complete each section within the allotted time. Once you complete each section, you’ll be able to review your work and discern which answers were correct, what you have yet to learn and how you can improve your method.
The key to prepping for the LSAT is to allow yourself time to study. Studying early — at least a month in advance — prevents burnout and reduces stress, both leading up to the test and on the day of the test. You can also practice taking the test in a quiet environment, where you can practice sitting still for long periods of time. This will make the actual test easier to endure.
It is also helpful to practice studying for the test with the goal of thoroughly understanding the material. Many people focus only on getting a good score, which does not allow them to truly understand the test material. If you focus instead on learning the material and thoroughly understanding it, you’ll be prepared both for the test and for a future in law, which will also help to lower your stress and prevent burnout.3
Studying for the LSAT
The LSAT is the standardized exam used when applying to law school in the United States. This exam is known to be very challenging, so it’s important to begin preparing for the LSAT with enough time that you will feel confident with the material before the exam.
Even if you have only recently become an undergraduate student, there are still ways to prepare for the LSAT that can help ease the burden of intense studying later on. You can find LSAT preparation materials, including practice exams, in bookstores as well as for free online,. Take multiple practice exams to identify your strengths and weaknesses so you can better prepare yourself.
Additionally, the Law School Administration Council (LSAC), which administers the LSAT, has teamed up with Khan Academy to offer free LSAT prep materials online, including practice tests with official questions.
Grand Canyon University is committed to helping aspiring lawyers prepare for law school and take the next step in their careers with a wide range of undergraduate degrees in criminal justice and government. Request more information at the top of the page to learn more about the degree options available to you as a future law student.
1 PublicLegal, 2020 Raw Data Law School Rankings in June 2021.
2 Kaplan, What Is the LSAT? in January 2023.
3 Kaplan, Prep for the LSAT (With Limited Time) in January 2023.
Approved by faculty for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences on Feb. 7, 2023.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.