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How to Prepare for Law School as a Freshman

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Hi! I am a college freshman hoping to go to law school! What should I be doing?

Best,
Has-their-life-together-college-freshman

My first reaction to questions like the above is a simple, “Wow.” While most college freshman are worrying about who they’ll sit with in the dining hall, some nerds pre-law freshman are worrying about LAW SCHOOL. Ugh.

Don’t worry, the purpose of this post won’t be to just make fun of ahead-of-the game college freshman. Being over-prepared isn’t a bad thing! With all the time in the world, there are definitely some things you can do now to ensure you’re sufficiently prepaared for a life of the law. Here are our best tips for college freshman on how to prepare for law school:

1. FOCUS ON YOUR GRADES: We cannot emphasize this enough! You can always retake the LSAT, or postpone your test date until you’re ready, but you can NEVER re-do your GPA.

2. Choose a major you actually like: Unlike pre-med, there is no list of acceptable pre-law majors. Literally, anything goes! Do you like theater? Sing and act your heart out for four years! Also, going back to the grades thing, if you’re taking classes for a major you actually enjoy, your grades are likely to be higher. Time to declare that Fashion Merchandising major!

3. Get involved in your community: Join extra-curricular activities (yes, they’re not just for high schoolers) and take advantage of volunteer opportunities. Build up your resume with things that will impress law school admissions committees and give you good content for your personal statement.

4. Figure out what lawyers actually do: We hate to break it to you, but not all lawyers are Atticus Finch or Erin Brockovich. (Do all of you born-in-2001 college freshman know who Erin Brockovich is, or are we seriously exposing our age here?). Being a lawyer can mean a ton of different things! A federal prosecutor is not the same as a tax attorney at a big law firm. Perhaps research what lawyers actually do before committing to $300,000 of debt. Once you find an area of the law you like, you can get some valuable experience and bolster your application (see tip #3) by interning or volunteering in that field.

5. Build relationships with some professors: Since you’re eventually going to need a couple of letters of recommendation when you apply to law school, it makes sense to start scoping out some potential references now. It never hurts to get started early, especially if you go to a large university. Start forming some relationships with professors now, so you can get a personal, positive reference later on. A little bit goes a long ways! Stay after class to ask some questions and attend a few office hours, and you’ll make an impression that pays off later — and who knows, you might make a real personal connection while you’re at it!

Notice that studying for the LSAT is not on this list. As an LSAT tutor, it’s extremely strange to give this advice, but you should probably not study for the LSAT as a college freshman. Unless you’re strangely gifted at solving the current format of the Logic Games and can’t bear the thought of any potential change in four years (read more on that here), there is really no benefit to studying for or taking the LSAT now. An LSAT score is only good for five years, and who knows if you’ll even be applying within five years? So, focus on those grades and extra-curricular activities and check back in a few years! We’ll definitely still be here for you!

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