Preparing for Law School
Robert Pikowsky, JD
Director, Pre-Law Program and Adjunct Professor of Public Policy
As you would expect, the top-tier law schools are highly selective in their admissions decisions. However, there is no required undergraduate major. A law school admissions committee wants to see that applicants have successfully completed a rigorous curriculum and have demonstrated the potential to excel at the professional school level. Whether students major in science, engineering, management, or liberal arts, they can become competitive for admission to highly regarded law schools.
Some general considerations for anyone contemplating law school:
* Visit the Georgia Tech School of Public Policy pre-law website at www.prelaw.gatech.edu. It contains an overview of the pre-law program and the law school application process. Students and parents are also invited to subscribe to the pre-law newsletter to stay up to date on various matters related to pre-law and law school. Click here for subscription instructions.
* Take some pre-law classes at Georgia Tech. The Law, Science, & Technology minor or a pre-law certificate helps students make a more informed decision about whether law school is right for them.
* Take at least two classes that will require a 10 to 15 page research paper. Effective writing skills are critical to success in law school and law practice.
* Engage in extra-curricular activities such as a mock trial competition, which also helps students make a more informed decision about law school. Mock trials are fun, teach fundamental skills, and look good on a resume. Be advised, however, that the mock trial team requires a serious commitment, so students should not expect to get by with minimal effort just to fill out their resumes.
* Get to know some of your professors from whom you may want to ask for letters of recommendation. Ask for recommendations well before you need them. Don't expect a professor to complete a letter within a week after you ask for it.
Some specific considerations for students as the application season approaches:
* Become familiar with the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC/LSDAS) website. The site contains critical information regarding the LSAT and the application process. Most students apply to law school through the CAS, formerly known as the LSDAS.
* Start working on your personal statement well before you intend to submit your application package. You can find a lot of information about writing the personal statement if you enter "personal statement law school" into an Internet search engine. However, always consider the credibility of the websites you find.
* Register for a commercial LSAT preparation course. They cost about $1,300, but itâs considered a good investment. Kaplan and Princeton Review have the biggest presence on campus, although there are others as well.
* Take the LSAT in June prior to the start of your senior year if at all possible. Otherwise, take the test in September of your senior year. I strongly discourage students from waiting until December of their senior year, and even more strongly discourage them from waiting until February of their senior year.
* The application season starts in October. Students should submit the completed application package in October if possible. Early applications have an advantage in the rolling admissions process. In any event, submit your application prior to the end of the fall semester.
I encourage parents and students to contact me at email@example.com or 404.385.7222 if you have any questions.