What Do Law Schools Look for in Applicants?

Young prospective law school student

Do you have great attention to detail and strong communication skills? If so, you might consider pursuing a career in the legal field. If you aspire to go to law school after earning a bachelor’s degree, you likely have some questions like, What do law schools look for? and What do I need to get into law school?

Every law school is a little different, but they are all generally on the lookout for exceptionally strong candidates. Given the competitive application process, it is important to know how to stand out as a potential candidate. Here’s a look at the various factors that law school admissions consider when choosing which candidates to admit.

In This Article:

Academic Record and LSAT Score

It goes without saying that law school admission councils prefer to admit students who have a strong academic record during their undergraduate years. The admissions staff will carefully examine your official college transcripts, including your undergraduate GPA and, if applicable, your academic performance at each educational institution you attended. They’ll also look beyond GPA to consider how difficult your course load was and identify trends in your undergraduate performance.1

What do you need to get into law school besides a good GPA? You’ll also need to take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). Your LSAT score is based on how many questions you answered correctly — your raw score — which is then converted into an LSAT scale between 120 and 180.1

Extracurricular Involvement

Beyond academics and standardized test scores, law schools try to get a sense of who you are as a person and what your character is like. In order to assess these intangible qualities, they consider your extracurricular activities and work experience. Participating in extracurriculars can indicate that you may be a good team player and an active member of a community.1

In your law school application, you can include a personal statement to help demonstrate how qualified you are beyond your test scores and grades. Your personal statement essay should include:1

  • Noteworthy personal experiences 
  • Past accomplishments
  • Valuable extracurriculars

Writing Skills

Law schools expect that their applicants, who already hold bachelor’s degrees, will already have well-developed communication skills. The ability to be clear and concise in your writing helps ensure you are understood as a lawyer when communicating with other lawyers, judges and clients. Well-practiced writing can be considered an indispensable tool for all lawyers.2

If possible, try to include mentions of communications-related activities on your law school application or resume. For example, you might mention that you wrote for the school newspaper or that you contributed to a blog in your spare time.


Many law school admissions will request multiple letters of recommendation. It’s important to include strong letters of recommendation in your law school application, preferably from former professors and supervisors. If a former professor — who has probably taught hundreds if not thousands of students — is able to remember your contributions to the class, then this speaks volumes about your academic achievements.

What Do You Need To Get Into Law School? Important Qualities

Now that you know what is required to get into law school in terms of academics and letters of recommendation, let’s take a look at the intangible qualities. You’ll have opportunities to showcase these qualities in your personal statement or essay, as well as other components of your application. Law schools look for a range of personal qualities, like passion and love of learning.


Having a passion for law is a key factor in preparing for a career in a legal profession. Even when challenges arise, individuals who are passionate about their work may be able to better overcome difficulties.

If you are interested in law, earning an undergraduate degree in legal studies can allow you to develop a foundation for law school and demonstrate your passion for the field to law schools and future employers. 

Love of Learning

Having a desire to learn is essential for any student; however, it is especially important for law school applicants. While your test scores and GPA show that you are qualified, law schools look for candidates who are eager to add to their body of knowledge.

Successful applicants know there is always something new to learn, and they incorporate this attitude of curiosity into their careers. Consider pursuing a relevant internship, which can help you gain practical experience and demonstrate your commitment to pursuing a career in law.


In preparing for law school, you can choose from a variety of undergraduate degrees in order to gain a well-versed education.

For example, earning a bachelor’s degree in history may be a great option for pre-law students who want to explore the history behind the laws we abide by today. Or, earning a justice studies degree can teach you valuable knowledge about law enforcement and the justice system.

Good Communication Skills

In law, it is extremely important to be able to communicate effectively.2 For example, individuals who work in the field must be able to draft well-written legal documents and know how to express themselves by developing persuasive arguments.

Earning a communications degree can provide a strong foundation for law school applicants. As writing is another form of communication used in law, a professional writing degree can also serve as a starting point for students who are interested in applying for law school.

Ethical Responsibility

No matter what kind of law career you pursue, it is extremely important to hold yourself to a high ethical standard. For example, if you are looking to become a lawyer, you must abide by an ethical code of conduct, such as the requirement to maintain client confidentiality. Therefore, law schools and employers look for individuals who are ethically responsible.


Professionals who work in law often face challenging situations. Rather than becoming discouraged, however, successful lawyers are willing to face challenges and do what it takes to overcome them. Therefore, it is necessary for law school applicants to demonstrate perseverance. In addition, they must adopt a positive attitude and never give up, even when facing tough circumstances.

Law school can provide a gateway to a career you are passionate about. While applying for law school can be competitive, it may be rewarding when your hard work pays off.

Grand Canyon University’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences mission is to cultivate leaders in various fields of study through critical thinking and applied experience. Enjoy the opportunity to build a strong foundation for law school by applying to the Bachelor of Arts in Government with an Emphasis in Legal Studies degree program. Fill out the form on this page to learn more about joining our learning community.

1 LSAC. (n.d.). Applying to Law School. Retrieved April 4, 2024.

2 Cooney, M. & Kimble, J. (n.d.). Why Writing Well Is Essential To Your Legal Career. Cooley Law School. Retrieved April 4, 2024. 

Approved by the assistant dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences on April 15, 2024.

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.