Though many students choose to attend law school directly after graduating from college, other individuals wait one or more years before pursuing post-graduate training in the law. Students who delay legal education do not damage their chances of attending law school. People postpone legal education for any number of understandable reasons, whether for financial reasons, a desire to learn more about legal careers, or a need to step away temporarily from the academic routine.
When students begin the law school application process, they must register with the Law School Admission Council (LSAC). The LSAC is a nonprofit corporation that administers the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) and processes academic credentials for law school applicants. The law school application includes the following items:
- Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) – The LSAT is a standardized, multiple-choice test that is administered four times a year at designated testing centers throughout the world. The LSAT does not test substantive knowledge of the law. Rather, it assesses an applicant’s reading comprehension, analytical reasoning, and logical reasoning. Since some law schools take an average of multiple LSAT scores, students should be familiar with the exam before they take it for the first time.
- Transcript – Applicants will need to submit to the LSAC a transcript from each undergraduate and graduate institution they attended.
- Resume – The law school application should include a resume, which summarizes a student’s educational background, academic honors, community service, and extra-curricular activities.
- Personal Statement – An applicant’s personal statement should be a concise, well-written narrative that demonstrates thoughtfulness regarding the decision to attend law school, provides an indication of the steps taken to prepare for the rigors of legal education, and contains an account of his or her uniqueness and likely contributions to the entering law school class.
- Letters of Recommendation – Applicants are usually asked to provide two letters of recommendation from professors who can comment in some detail on an applicant’s academic performance, work ethic, and character. Non-academic references may be included, but should only supplement an application.
The American Bar Association gives advice on how to prepare for law school as an undergraduate student. Learn more.
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