Pre-Law Frequently Asked Questions

 

What courses should I take to prepare for applying to school?

View a listing of suggested courses, certificates and minors for pre-law students

There are no set prerequisites or "best" major 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, according to the American Bar Association, 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. 

You should choose a major that interests you and in which you will perform well academically. Also consider minors and certificates to complement your interests and your major. Do not be afraid to explore courses that will stretch your mental capacity, and take classes from excellent professors. Admission to law school is competitive and so maintaining a strong grade point average is extremely important. 

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. It is important to achieve strong and consistent grades early on; avoid C's and W's. Learn how to study and learn effectively and be honest when evaluating your academic strengths and areas that need improvement. 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. It is also important to 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. See our Timeline for Pre-Law Students for even more suggestions. 

What do law schools consider when evaluating applicants?

Pre-Law students should have strong Experience, Attributes and Metrics. Law schools will consider any factors that bear on your potential as a law student. Demontrating stong grades, academic skills and LSAT scores are of primary importance as admission is competitive. 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 Admission 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.

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 Admission 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. Become familiar with reading, comprehending and analyzing factual material. 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.

When should I take the LSAT?

The LSAT is offered four times per year. If you are prepared, consider taking the LSAT in the June or July prior to your senior year so that you may begin to narrow your focus to appropriate schools early on. If necessary, taking the LSAT in the fall of your senior year is 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. Therefore, try to take it when you are as prepared as possible. Starting with the September 2019 test administration, test takers will be permitted to take the LSAT: Three times in a single testing year (the testing year goes from June 1 to May 31); Five times within the current and five past testing years (the period in which LSAC reports scores to law schools); A total of seven times over a lifetime.

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?

If you wish to begin law school in the fall immediately following your undergraduate graduation, register with the LSAC Credential Assembly Service (CAS) by the summer before your senior year and apply during the early months of your senior year, which is one year before you would enter. Law schools usually begin accepting applications on or around September 1, and schools vary in terms of application deadlines. Regardless of deadline, we encourage you to have your applications submitted no later than Thanksgiving. 

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 will also complete and submit individual law school applications. The Pre-Professional Advising Center staff can assist you throughout the application process, including offering our Law School Application Workshop.

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.

Is financial aid available?

Yes. The Law School Admission Council provides comprehensive information regarding financial aid. AccessLex Institute is a great organization with great tools and financial resources and information for pre-law and law students.  

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. Many students also may borrow students loan to help fund their legal education. 

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. 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 in certain approved majors within UC's College of Arts & Sciences the oportunity to apply to earn both a bachelor's degree and law degree in just six years. High performing students must meet with their A&S advisor who can verify and customize a path that allows the student to complete major requirments and A&S core before beginning law school, if applicable. More information is available through the UC College of Law.

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 including course selection, experience-building and reflection, information on individual schools, admissions test preparation advice, parallel planning advice, and more. Explore our website for a suggested Timeline for Pre-Law StudentsPre-Law Resources, Special Events, Workshops & Appointments, and more! 

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