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 this next step in becoming a lawyer.
Choosing a Good Major
With law school in mind, there is no specific bachelor’s degree that can guarantee you an accepted application. There are, however, degrees that are seen as more favorable and can help you attain skill sets that are essential for future lawyers. For example, earning a degree in the field of humanities will be reading comprehension and writing intensive, helping you develop useful skills to study law as a future career.
Others 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 pursing patent law, a degree in the sciences or at least a large number of science credits is usually required for this field. It’s extremely important for each student to know what branch of law they’re interested in pursuing and make sure they know the requirements before applying to law school.
While many students believe the only option for future law students is to earn a degree in criminal justice or government studies, make sure to consider all your undergraduate degree options for your personal career aspirations as a lawyer to ensure your future success.
Keeping Up Your GPA
One thing that is generally agreed upon when applying to law school is that a good college GPA will help make you a more desirable applicant. It’s extremely important to keep your GPA up while completing your undergraduate degree to keep your application to law school competitive with others. In the top 10 law schools in the United States, the median GPA of accepted students is above a 3.8.*
Keeping up your GPA can get 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 additionally improve your chances of being accepted to law school when you apply. It’s important to utilize professors’ office hours when you can and participate in class discussions and activities. This will help you become more familiar with the material you are learning and more comfortable bringing up questions to the professor when you have one.
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 in law school studying, it’s important to start 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
Being involved in activities outside of your studies will make you a more competitive applicant for law school and can also help you build friendships and have fun while completing your degree. Finding internships or jobs relating to legal studies is one path that students take for extracurriculars, or you could 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, it will help you catch a glimpse of the profession at an early stage.
Studying for the LSAT
The Law School Admission Test (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 in bookstores and for free online, including practice exams. Take multiple practice exams to determine what your strengths and weaknesses are so you can better know how to 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 the next step in their careers with a wide range of undergraduate degrees in criminal justice and government. Click the Request Info button at the top of your page to learn more about the degree options available to you as a future law student.
*Retrieved from PublicLegal, 2020 Raw Data Law School Rankings in June 2021
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.