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Making your junior year your best academic year is important because your acceptance into law school will depend a great deal on your academic record. If you hope to go immediately into law school, the grades you receive during your junior year will be the most recently completed and reported for admission purposes.
It's a good idea to wait on taking the LSAT until the fall of your senior year, but prepping for it is also a good idea. Continue reading publications about the legal profession and begin to investigate law schools.
This will be a three-year period of time of intensive study and certain things should be considered: location, size of the college, prestige, cost, any special programs offered by the school, student body and chance of admission. It's also a good idea to begin to give though to recommendations. Most law schools require two faculty letters of recommendation. Choose faculty that know you well and whom you have done your best work for. This will begin your law school career path. Academic advisors can usually assist with these and other areas of interest and concern.
There are several reporting agencies that determine each year, the top 100 law schools in the nation. US News is an example of such a reporting agency. Typically these agencies will report based on several factors and compile opinions from various groups.
Some of the ranking factors include:
* Overall score given by peers
* Overall assessment by judges and lawyers working in the profession; * Ratings based upon undergraduate students' opinions;
* LSAT scores achieved;
* Acceptance rate;
* Student to faculty ratio;
* Percentage of graduates employed after graduation;
* Percentage of students employed nine months after graduation;
* The school's bar passage rate by jurisdiction as well as overall passage rate.
It is important, too, to investigate the area of specialty if any, that you desire to practice in. Some schools are known for their area of expertise. Being at a top 100 law school may not be as important to you as finding the school that specializes in your area of interest.
Top law schools are competitive. A good candidate for a top law school must have a diverse and rich background of experiences and will demand of him or herself excellence in traditional and difficult coursework.
A bachelor's degree will be required to enter law school, but a specified or particular major is not required. Beyond having a bachelor's degree, top law schools will require a high grade point average and a strong LSAT or Law School Admission Test.
Also taken into consideration will be the candidate's comprehension and expression in words, the ability for deductive reasoning and analogy, and a strong sense of creative thinking. English is probably the most important area of strength as well as business law courses.
Your major needs to be based on your areas of interest. Selecting an area of law that interests you will be important in not only academic success but a career that you will enjoy. It stands to reason that you will make better grades in subjects that you enjoy.
Extra curricular activities, while not all-important in the admission process, also give you opportunities to develop valuable communication and logic skills. You should investigate the law school that you will be applying to for more suggestions and advice regarding what that particular school looks for in a candidate.
Focusing your energy on history, social science, mathematics and physical and biological sciences will give you a well rounded academic head-start in being accepted to a top 10 law school.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|