First-year and Sophomore Students
First-year and sophomore students who are interested in pursuing a legal career should contact the Pre-law Advisor, Dr. Erin McAdams at firstname.lastname@example.org or (864) 833-8347 to schedule an appointment to discuss your interests and career goals (you may also stop by her office at 305 Harrington-Peachtree). The Pre-law Advisor can assist you in selecting possible elective courses to enrich your curricular needs, and she can help to answer any specific questions which you might have related to your chosen post-graduate academic goals.
In addition, the following are recommended for first-year and sophomore students:
- Select a major in a field that both interests you and allows you to excel.
- Begin to form relationships with your professors so that they will know your work well enough to write strong letters of recommendation for you in the future.
- Expand your education by seeking summer jobs or internships in fields of interest.
- Consider declaring a Pre-law Studies Minor, or taking courses from the Pre-law Studies Minor curriculum to enhance your legal studies skills
With graduation only one year away, juniors face some critical choices, the most prominent of which is when to take the LSAT. For the student facing this choice, the earliest optimal date would be June between the Junior and Senior year (specific date for each year’s test is located on the Pre-law bulletin board, available in the Political Science Department). October and December are the next possible test date options, but under few, if any, circumstances should the student delay taking the LSAT until February of his or her senior year. In determining when to take the LSAT, students may wish to consider the following factors: (a) which date will allow me optimal time to prepare? (b) on which test dates will the test be given near the campus? (c) even though I plan to only take the LSAT once, will the date selected give me an opportunity to retake it if it is necessary?
In addition to determining when you plan to take the LSAT, the following are recommended for students in their junior year:
- Meet with the Pre-law Advisor to assess your academic, extracurricular and work experiences
- Begin preparing for the LSAT; if you are ready, register for the June test date.
- Secure a summer job or internship, if possible, in a law-related field.
- Research law schools and compile a list of tentative schools.
If the LSAT was not taken in June prior to the beginning of the Fall Semester, seniors should immediately prepare for the exam and TAKE THE LSAT by October. The Fall Semester should also be spent selecting the law schools to which you wish to apply, requesting the admissions information/catalogs, completing the application forms and mailing them, and making contact with individuals whom you wish to have written letters of recommendation. You should also register for an account with the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) as well as its Credential Assembly Service (CAS) which receives, analyzes and forwards individual transcripts to the schools selected by the applicant. Be certain that you also complete a transcript request form (found in the LSAT Bulletin), take it to the Registrar’s office and request that your current transcript be forwarded to CAS. (NOTE: You will need to do this again following your graduation. Without it, the Law School will cancel your admission.)
The following checklist is designed to help students in their senior year (or the year before they plan to enter law school) in the application process:
- In the late summer or early fall, call or write law schools to request catalogs and application materials.
- Make arrangements to have dean’s letters sent to schools which require them.
- Register for LSAC’s Credential Assembly Service, and have transcripts from all undergraduate institutions you have attended sent to CAS after you verify their accuracy.
- Attend law school fairs in the region or the Career Fair sponsored by PC to personally meet with law school representatives.
- Ask potential recommendation writers if they would be willing to write letters on your behalf. Provide them with forms and sufficient information for detailed letters. (Our Recommendation Letters page provides additional tips for obtaining strong letters of recommendation.)
- Take the October LSAT if you did not take the test in June.
- Begin drafting and revising your personal statement.
- Meet with the Pre-law Advisor who will help you to assess the strength of your application in relation to schools you are considering. Bring a draft of your personal statement for critiquing.
- Take the December LSAT if you did not take it previously.
- Complete and submit all application materials no later than January 1 (regardless of the deadlines listed in the schools’ catalogs). Check with each school within one week to make sure that your files are complete.
- Complete the FAFSA and any institutional financial aid applications as soon after January 1 as possible.
- Send transcripts to all schools to which you are applying.
- Meet with the Pre-law Advisor or your major advisor in the spring (usually March to April) as schools respond to your applications to assess your options.
- Take appropriate action on acceptances, wait-list status, and financial aid packages. Once you accept admission at a law school, SEND YOUR DEPOSIT TO THE SCHOOL OF YOUR CHOICE. Send a thank-you note to each of the other schools to which you applied and tell them of your decision to accept admission to at another school. This is only fair to both the school and to other candidates who are also anxious to gain admission.
- Write a letter or note to each of the individuals who wrote recommendation letters on your behalf, thanking them for their letters and informing them of your decision.
Before leaving campus, have a final transcript sent to the law school you plan to attend and/or to any schools still considering your application.