I have had a few people ask some questions about law school so I figured I would talk about it, but I'm going to break it up into three parts: applying, what it's like once you get there and bar exam stuff. I'll just go chronologically and start with the admissions process.
Law school admissions boards basically look to three basic things in deciding which applicants to admit.
This is pretty self explanatory really. Get the best grades you possibly can. It depends on the school how high your gpa needs to be to get in. You can get that information either from schools you apply to or from the Princeton Review. Keep in mind that gpa is only one factor they consider, a low gpa can be overcome by a really good LSAT score and strong extra curricular activities.
The LSAT is basically a test that requires no outside knowledge whatsoever. It primarily tests reasoning ability and reading comprehension. My advice for preparation is to take some type of course or to at least buy a prep book for at least on portion of the test, the "puzzles" portion. I did not prepare well enough for this part and I was lost during the exam. From what I've heard at a course they will teach you a proper approach to these questions, which would have helped me a lot. These questions are insane and without some kind of game plan you will just wind up confused, which I was. Luckily I still wound up with a good enough score to get in to a decent law school.
There is also an essay portion, however it is not part of your score. They do send it to the law schools you apply to though where they might use it as a "tie breaker".
Probably the worst part of the test for me came before any of the scored portions even started. Before the test they had a paragraph written out that basically said the test taker promises not to cheat and not to steal any of the test materials etc.... The problem was they wanted me to write the whole paragraph out, in cursive. I hadn't written cursive since elementary school. The only letters I really knew were the ones in my name. I was sweating and all stressed out. "Is she already finished? I don't even have a sentence written yet!!! I'm so screwed on this test!!!" I got through it ok though in the end, but that was not fun. They did it again to me at the bar exam by the way.
The information for what LSAT scores are usually acceptable to what schools is also available at the Princeton Review site I linked above, but again they take all the info together. There is no minimum for any of the criteria for each school.
Extra Curriculars/Admissions Essay
This is the only real area where you have all the control. GPA and LSAT depend on test taking ability and other factors. You can join as many clubs and other activities as you want. If you have a lower GPA and are having trouble with your LSAT score, this is the place you want to make up some ground. I included admissions essay in the heading because that is where you sell yourself to the schools. Tell them what you've done in school, tell them why you're unique, why you will succeed in law school, and why you would make a good attorney. Put a lot of work into the essay because you are not only selling yourself to them as a candidate, but you are also showing them your writing skills.
So if you want to get into law school, try to get the best grades you can, take an LSAT prep course and if you have weak extra curricular activities go find some more. Be realistic in where you apply based on your GPA and LSAT scores. Make sure you apply to a school or two where you know you can get in just to be safe. After that, all you lose is the application fee if you don't get in.
In a later blog, I'll talk about what law school is actually like. Then one more after that I'll talk about the bar exam. Speaking of which, on a personal note, I am getting to the point where I could get my bar exam results any day so I'm keeping my fingers crossed. I'll post a blog when I finally do find out.