Law Admissions Lowdown

Top Law Coach advice for aspiring lawyers, published by U.S. News & World Report

The arms race among various LSAT test preparation options can make it seem like every LSAT-taker must pay through the nose for courses and study materials. Certainly, there are programs that applicants have found to be worthwhile investments, particularly for those who need help keeping their study plans on track. However, self-motivated test-takers can get along fine with free and low-cost resources, including real practice tests provided by the Law School Admissions Council, or LSAC, which administers the LSAT.

All extracurricular activities are important because they show a commitment to a community or discipline beyond yourself, whether that means volunteering for a political campaign, joining an intramural ultimate Frisbee team or practicing a demanding art. However, some extracurricular activities stand out more than others on a law school application.

If you are starting school this year, you must have a lot on your mind. Besides adjusting to the rigors of legal education, from deciphering cases to handling cold calls, you confront the unprecedented impact of a pandemic that wholly disrupted campus life. Thus, give your current school a fair shot before giving serious thought to transferring law schools. By spring, you will have a firmer grasp of what you appreciate and want to change about your legal education.

The law school admissions process can take several months, and most applicants scramble to prepare for the LSAT and put together application materials in time. Clearly, college sophomores who set their sights on law school are already ahead of the game. How can aspiring lawyers in their first or second year of college best set themselves up for success? Let’s break it down year by year, from first to senior year.

American law schools, typically traditionalist and resistant to change, have adapted with rare urgency to the continuing coronavirus pandemic. Last spring, most law schools – like other educational institutions – moved classes online, canceled campus activities and events, and restricted libraries and other facilities. Many allowed their students to take classes on a pass-fail basis. The majority of law schools are trying to blend online and in-person instruction to allow students to come to campus this fall, but some with an early start to the term are already facing hard tradeoffs as campus residents receive positive coronavirus diagnoses.

You've got the LSAT in your sights. You’ve bought the books. You’ve made a study plan. You’ve blocked off your calendar. You’ve booked a test date and a back-up. You have a good handle on what you need to do. But what should you make sure not to do? Here are six LSAT prep pitfalls that snag many law school applicants each year.

There are plenty of reasons to stress out about your law school applications. Retaking the LSAT is not one of them. There is a lot of misinformation about this because policies have changed. Back in the olden days before 2006, law schools reported to the Law School Admissions Council, or LSAC, the average LSAT score of their incoming students, which was a weighty factor in law school rankings. To keep their rankings high, law schools generally averaged each applicant’s LSAT scores in their admissions decisions.