The purpose going forward is to arm you with the skills and information you need to get into the best law school possible. This process begins with some general tips.
Start a Law School File
Organization is a required skill for law students and lawyers. You might as well develop it now. Start a law school file. In your file, you should keep everything relating to law school so that you don’t have to do the same work twice. You should create folders for your undergraduate information, for each law school you plan to apply to, and for general information relating to law school. Later on, you will add folders for your resume, your letters of recommendation, and any miscellaneous documentation that you need to keep.
You are going to stay plenty busy over the next few years. Creating this file is an example of working smart, not hard. I promise the few minutes it takes you to complete this task will save you countless hours of work.
Plus, keeping copies of everything will helps when you are applying to take the bar exam. Every state has a character and fitness evaluation that will ask questions similar to those on the character portion of the law school application. Having this information readily available—and perfectly consistent three years later—will save you a bunch of time and headache.
Stay on Track
Earlier, we discussed having discipline. This book is going to take you step-by-step through the process of getting accepted to a great law school. But, you need the discipline to stay on schedule. Procrastination affects work product. Not having enough time to complete a task might be the difference between acceptance and rejection. Don’t let it happen to you. If you lack discipline, begin developing it now by staying on schedule.
Concentrate on Your Undergraduate Grades
Your LSAT and undergraduate GPA matter more than virtually everything else to law school admissions committees. We will devote plenty of time to discussing the LSAT. But right now, from day one of college, you need to know that every grade counts.
Why is your GPA so important? Getting good grades demonstrates determination, intelligence, and willingness to work hard, all of which are required for success in law school. Moreover, getting good grades shows that you learned what you were taught. And, law schools are required to report the GPA’s of all accepted law students. These GPA’s factor into the law school’s ranking. Law schools care a great deal about their ranking and devote substantial time and resources to increasing it.
Once you complete a course it will be on your transcript forever. You need to make high marks. If you want to attend a Top 50 law school you need at least a 3.5 undergraduate GPA. The majority of students at the very top law schools have GPA’s above 3.75. We will discuss choosing your major and classes a little later. But, for right now, focus on making “A’s” in every class you take.
Focus on the Things You Can Control
Preparing for, and getting into, law school can be stressful enough without adding extra pressure. You will see statistics about your chances that scare you. You will be facing stiff competition. People will try to manage your expectations. All of these things are outside of your control. Just try to remember to focus on the things that you can control.
You control your grades, your LSAT prep, and your law school prep in general. You can’t control those other things. Remember that. Unlike you, most won’t do the work required to be accepted by a great law school. You will. Keep in mind that law schools are looking for determined, motivated, students with realistic expectations about being a lawyer. There will always be a spot somewhere for a student like this.