The LSAT carries tremendous weight in the Law School admissions process, so preparing for law school should begin with LSAT prep about 18 months before you want to start school.
Law schools receive such an overwhelming NUMBER of applications that many applications are initially judged purely on the quantitative factors – Cumulative Undergraduate GPA and LSAT score. Once the pool of acceptable applicants is pared down to a more manageable level, then other factors are used in the consideration of candidates. So, in order to get your foot into the door of the school you are interested in, you must apply to schools where you GPA does not exclude you from consideration and then work to improve the other facets of your application, such as essays, LSAT score and recommendations. Remember: you cannot change your undergraduate institution or GPA. Your LSAT score is the variable most within your control, so master it!
Before any criteria for law school can be discussed, you must become familiar with the process of applying to law school, which is different from that of most of universities.
LSDASThe Law School Data Assembly Service (LSDAS) centralizes the components of the law school application. Nearly all ABA-approved law schools (and some non-ABA-approved schools) require that their applicants register for the LSDAS. The LSDAS prepares a report for each law school to which you apply. The report contains:
- An undergraduate academic summary
- Copies of all undergraduate, graduate, and law/professional school transcripts
- LSAT scores and writing sample copies
- Copies of Letters of Recommendation
Thus to apply to law school you must register and pay for not only the LSAT but also the LSDAS. Once your LSDAS file is complete and you submit applications, schools will directly request your file from LSDAS.
Click here to learn more about the LSDAS.
Your LSDAS registration also includes access to electronic applications for all ABA-approved law schools.
Your LSDAS period will extend for five years from your registration date. If you register for a Law School Admission. Test (LSAT) at any time during your LSDAS period, the LSDAS period will be extended five years from your latest LSAT registration.
To find more information about the LSDAS please visit: LSAC
In addition to completing your LSDAS file in a timely fashion you must understand how each component of your application reflects on you and how that will factor into your consideration for admissions. Below are the major factors in school admissions.
Your Undergraduate Grade Point Average (GPA) is one of the major factors that is used in the consideration of your application. However, unless you are currently a college student, your GPA is unchangeable. Though having a mediocre GPA does not necessarily mean that you are not admittable, it does mean that the other aspects of your applications must make you REMARKABLE. This means your selection of law schools is very important. Choose schools where your GPA does not exclude you from consideration.
The Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) is a standardized test administered by the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC). The results of the tests are an important tool law schools use to determine which applicants are admitted. Generally, the exam measures the test-taker's ability to read critically and think logically. Unlike other standardized tests, such as the SAT, GRE, or GMAT, the LSAT does not measure what a person knows, but rather how someone analyzes information.
Click here to learn more about the LSAT.Structure of the LSAT
The LSAT consists of six sections structured as shown below:
Section Time - Number of Questions Topics Tested Reading Comprehension About 27 questions
Ability to draw inferences based on text
Ability to determine main ideas of passages
Ability to find relevant information within a text
Ability to understand a dense, scholarly text
Logical Reasoning (Arguments) 2 sections each:
About 25 questions
Ability to determine main points of arguments
Ability to apply logic to abstract concepts
Ability to find relevant information within a text
Ability to analyze and evaluate arguments
Analytical Reasoning (Games) About 25 questions
Ability to understand effects of rules on decisions and outcomes
Ability to determine relationships between concepts
Ability to analyze situations and draw conclusions based on set guidelines
Ability to apply logic to ambiguous or complex situations
Essay 1 essay
Ability to form an argument based on given facts
Ability to support an argument
Ability to use written English to express an idea
Experimental About 25 questions
The experimental section is used to test questions for future LSAT exams.
Click here to learn more about the Bell Curves preparation options.
Most schools require at least one personal statement. Be sure to put sufficient time into your statement. Some schools allow you to write about a topic of your choice, others require you to answer a specific question. You want your essay to reveal something about you that makes you different from other students, why you want to attend law school, and what interesting experience you have.
Letters of Recommendation
Other time-consuming requirements of the law school application include letters of recommendation, often from undergraduate instructors. Getting a letter from a recent employer is also recommended if you've been out of school for a few years. Schools also generally require transcripts, and some require dean's letters, which are generally just forms attesting to the fact that you did in fact graduate from your undergraduate institution.
Application requirements other than the LSAT can be different for different schools. You can check the individual school web site or you can peruse the LSAC web site at www.lsac.org.
Once your application is received by the school, often a number will be assigned to you that combines your LSAT score with your undergraduate GPA. This number will then place you in the "definitely in" pile, the "to be considered" pile, or the "definitely out" pile. If you are in the "to be considered" pile, your references, experience, and personal interests will make all the difference, so do not overlook the importance of these aspects of your application.