Pre-Law Frequently Asked Questions

 

What is the best major for pre-law students?

"Pre-law" is not a major but rather an advising track. There is no "best" major for students who plan to attend law school. You should choose a major that interests you and in which you feel you will perform well academically. Consider what career you would like to pursue in the event that you do not attend law school. No matter what major you choose, you should use your four years as an undergraduate to develop strong writing and problem solving skills. Admission to law school is competitive and so maintaining a strong grade point average is extremely important.

The Legal Studies Certificate (LSC) is offered effective Fall 2016 by the Political Science Department in partnership with the College of Law. It involves 18 credits and is highly recommended for pre-law students and those who want to pursue a legal career. Students need to complete POL 1090 Law Politics and Society (offered in the Fall), LAW 1010 Introduction to Law & the Legal Profession (offered in spring 2017) and four more courses (12 credits) from the Political Science and/or the Interdisciplinary Pathways.

What courses should I take to prepare for, or gain admission to, law school?

There are no set prerequisites for admission to law school, however, there are courses you can take that will help you develop the skill sets that are useful to a law student and a lawyer, including:

  • Problem solving
  • Relationship-building
  • Research
  • Critical reading and writing
  • Background knowledge
  • Organization and management
  • Oral communication and listening
  • Exposure to the law
  • Public service and promotion of justice 

Click here for suggested courses for pre-law students and read below for more suggestions.

Use your undergraduate years as an opportunity to develop a broad base for your education. Do not be afraid to explore courses that will stretch your mental capacity. Take classes from excellent teachers in any discipline, as this will make you a better student. Consider minors and certificates to complement your interests and your major. 

Learn more about UC certificates in Legal Studies and Business, Law and Ethics

Being a well-educated person will help you be a successful lawyer. The study and practice of law touches almost every aspect of society. Read outside of the classroom to enhance your general knowledge.

What can I do now to help me reach my goal of attending law school?

What you accomplish early on will be an asset to you when the time comes to apply to law school. Be honest when evaluating your academic strengths and areas that need improvement. Take classes that challenge you to enhance a variety of skills. Be sure to learn how to study effectively and to be invested in learning and understanding. It is important to achieve strong and consistent grades early on; C's and W's do not constitute strong and consistent. It is also important that you explore what law school and a law career are all about to be sure this is truly a good fit for you. Finally, without overextending yourself, actively engage in extracurricular activities that interest you. Extracurricular activities include employment, student organizations, community service, internship or co-op, and hobbies.

What is the LSAT?

The Law School Admissions Test is a standardized exam designed to evaluate abilities necessary to study law. It is not a measure of knowledge; rather, its purpose is to measure your ability to think analytically and critically. Reading comprehension and writing skills are also tested. To learn more about the LSAT, visit the Law School Admissions Council.

What can I do to prepare for the LSAT?

It isn’t too early to start preparing yourself for the LSAT. There are no specific college classes that will directly prepare you in terms of content. However, courses that develop analytical skills, logical reasoning, reading comprehension and writing ability will help you. Purchase LSAT prep materials to become familiar with the test format and proficient in answering the questions quickly. Buy a book of logic games from a book store or supermarket. And read, read, read! Become familiar with reading, comprehending and analyzing factual material. Working with copies of past exams is extremely beneficial; by the time you take the LSAT, you should have taken multiple full-length practice tests under timed conditions. If you are proactive and begin preparation early enough, you will be able to better assess your need to enroll in a prep course. The Pre-Professional Advising Center can help you develop a preparation strategy for the LSAT.

What are the Double Bearcat Direct Admissions and 3+3 Law School admissions programs at UC College of Law?

The University of Cincinnati College of Law has a long history of producing well-prepared double Bearcats into the practice of law.

  • The Double Bearcat Direct Admissions for UC Undergraduate Students allows a limited number of highly qualified UC undergraduate students to enroll without taking the LSAT. Only UC undergraduate students who have earned the 85th percentile or above on the ACT or SAT and achieved a 3.6 GPA or higher after at least six semesters are eligible. Students who have taken the LSAT are not eligible. Meeting these criteria does not guarantee admission. 

Aside from the LSAT requirement, all other admission requirements must be met. Additionally, an original copy of your ACT or SAT score must be forwarded directly to the College of Law. Questions can be directed to the College of Law Admissions Office at 513.556.0078 or admissions@law.uc.edu.

  • The University of Cincinnati 3+3 Law School admissions program provides eligible undergraduate students within UC's McMicken College of Arts & Sciences the oportunity to apply to earn both a bachelor's degree and law degree in just six years.Currently, eligible majors are History, English, Philosophy, Communication, Classics, Political Science and International Affairs. High performing students who can complete their major and A&S core degree requirements in 3 years may be eligible for this program. More information is available through the UC College of Law.

 

When should I take the LSAT?

The LSAT is offered four times per year. If you are prepared, consider taking the LSAT in June prior to your senior year so that you may begin to narrow your focus to appropriate schools early on. We understand that this may be difficult because this particular date often coincides with exam week. If necessary, taking the LSAT in the fall of your senior year is perfectly acceptable. We recommend no later than October of your senior year (or the year before you plan to begin law school).

We do not encourage you to plan on taking the LSAT mulitple times. The maximum number of examinations one may take the LSAT is three times in a two year period. While many schools will accept the highest of multiple scores, others will consider the average of multiple scores. Therefore, try to take it when you are as prepared as possible. If you have questions about whether retaking the exam is in your best interest, feel free to consult a Pre-Professional Advisor.

When should I apply to law school?

Consider registering through the LSAC – Credential Assembly Service(CAS) by the summer before your senior year. The LSAC-CAS is a clearinghouse of your information (transcripts, LSAT score and letters of recommendation) that law schools will have access to once they have received your application. You can also complete and submit individual law school applications through the LSAC website. Law schools begin accepting applications early in the fall, one year before you plan to enter. Schools vary in terms of application deadlines. Regardless of deadline, we encourage you to have your applications submitted no later than Thanksgiving. The Pre-Professional Advising Center staff can assist you throughout the application process.

So will I need letters of recommendation?

Yes. Most law schools require two faculty letters of recommendation and usually accept no more than three. The most valuable letters come from evaluators who know you well. Get to know some of your professors. Take some classes that require participation, research papers and essay exams. Those faculty will be better equipped to write a meaningful evaluation of your academic abilities. In some cases it may be appropriate to secure a recommendation from a non-professor. Personal recommendations are never acceptable. If you have been out of school for several years, professional recommendations are appropriate.

What do law schools consider when evaluating applicants?

Law schools will consider any factors that bear on your potential as a law student. Grades and LSAT scores are of primary importance as admission is competitive. The mean GPA of accepted applicants was a 3.25. You will need to demonstrate strong and consistent academic skills. In addition, admissions panels consider course load, employment, leadership roles, maturity and responsibility. It is very important that you examine your reasons for wanting to enter the profession and educate yourself about law school and the legal profession. Law schools want to be sure that you have explored the profession enough so that you are knowledgable about why it is a good fit for you. The Law School Admissions Council and the American Bar Association are two great resources for career exploration.

Law schools are looking for students who have been successful in balancing academics and extracurricular activities. Do not load your schedule so heavily with coursework that you have no time for real life. Conversely, do not allow your grades to suffer because you are over extending yourself in some other area. Your personal statement is extremely important, as are letters of recommendation.

Is financial aid available?

Yes. The Law School Admissions Council provides comprehensive information regarding financial aid.

Financial aid starts as early as fee-waivers toward law school applications, for those who meet the creteria. Most law schools also offer scholarship, mostly merit-based and some on need.

How can the Pre-Professional Advising Center help me?

Preparing for admission to law school requires careful long-range planning and accurate information. The Pre-Professional Advising Center (PPAC) specializes in providing you with necessary information and helping you develop good planning skills. The staff of the PPAC provides you with help through each step of the way. Course selection, time management tips, information on individual schools, admissions test preparation advice, help finding alternative careers in or out of the law profession and links to ways to get experience in legal settings are some of the services provided.

You probably have more questions. Please contact us to schedule an appointment. It is never too early to start planning.