Become a Successful Applicant
While law schools require that you have a bachelor's degree prior to the beginning of law classes, you do not need to major in any particular subject to apply to law school.
At GW, there is no pre-law major. When a student says they are “pre-law,” they are declaring an intention to attend law school. The GW Sociology Department does offer an interdisciplinary Law and Society minor, but you are encouraged to select a major that interests you and one in which you could envision establishing a career should your plans to attend law school change.
Law schools do not require prerequisites to apply to law school, but there are courses that may help with the logical and reasoning section of the LSAT and develop skills necessary for law school and the legal profession. Law schools are looking for courses that develop your analytic and problem-solving skills, critical reading and research abilities, and effective written and oral communication, as well as organization and time management skills.
The two main components the admission committee review is the applicant's undergraduate grade point average (GPA) and the LSAT (Law School Admission Test) score. In addition, letters of recommendation (academic), the personal statement, leadership and extra-curricular activities such as community service are considered. Thus, it's important to maintain a strong academic record and establish professional relationships with your professors and instructors early in your undergraduate studies.
Find a Law School
Applicants should consider a number of factors when choosing schools to which to apply, including location, cost, reputation and resources, class size, success of alumni in the job market and fit. Relying solely on prestige and/or rankings can lead applicants astray. If you only consider most selective law schools for your list, not only may you not receive any offers of admissions, but they may actually turn out to be a poor fit to your personal needs and professional goals.
After you’ve put together a list of all the schools you’re interested in based on the criteria above, you still have to decide which ones to apply to. You will want to make sure that you apply to schools in three categories:
- Reach schools (schools that you have a chance of getting into, but not a likelihood)
- Strike zone schools (schools that you will likely be admitted to)
- Safety schools (schools that you should definitely be admitted to)
Applicants can begin to categorize their list of schools using a tool on the LSAC website that predicts the probability of their admission to any given school based on their LSAT score and undergraduate GPA. Noodle also provides a helpful resource that helps students narrow down their list.
As a general rule, we usually recommend developing a list of at least 10-12 potential law schools as a starting point.
Meet with the Pre-Law Advisor
The pre-law advisor meets with students and alumni to discuss preparation plans for applying to law school. Juniors should plan to meet with the pre-law advisor in the spring(must have attended a pre-law information session), and then again in the senior year as needed. Students who have not yet attended an information session with the exception of seniors and alumni must do so to be eligible to schedule an appointment with the pre-law advisor. Information sessions are offered each fall and spring semester. Students should also join the pre-law listserv to receive e-mail communications from the office.