Is law school right for you?

Should you consider going to law school after you earn a bachelor’s degree? Here’s how to tell if a law school or legal career is for you

Is law school right for you?
Depictions of law school in the media (cough: “Legally Blonde”) are totally deceiving. But this isn’t to say that attending law school isn’t fun, enriching and fascinating. Law school comes after you earn a bachelor’s degree. You’ll apply to law school as a college student, not as a high school student. However, admission to a prestigious law school is tough, and for a reason. Read on to see ifa graduate degree program at a law school would be a good fit for you.

Next Step Magazine: What kind of student does best in law school?
Anne Richard, associate dean for admissions and financial aid at the George Washington University Law School:
The people who come to GW are strong students who want to be at a large national law school and take part in all the opportunities.

NSM: Average GPA needed?
Between a 3.65 and 3.7. The average LSAT scores are 167-168.

NSM: What is the admissions process like for a graduate degree program?
Very competitive. You fill in an application, provide a personal statement and take the LSAT, which requires some time commitment and preparation. Students must use the Law School Data Assembly Service, which compiles all this information, plus transcripts and recommendations, and sends it to schools.

We accept under 20 percent of applicants. Most potential law students apply to between seven and 12 law schools. The trend is that people are applying to more because it’s become much more competitive for top schools.

NSM: What’s unique about law school graduate degree programs?
It’s very dense. It’s a whole new way of studying and learning, and it’s a different way of instruction. You don’t go into a class and have a teacher tell you what you need to know; you read cases, and the faculty member will call on you and ask you questions about the case… It’s learning by questioning. It’s completely different from anything that students have been through. In your first month of law school, 10 pages of reading will take three hours because you’ll be looking up terms you’ve never heard before. You are typically graded upon one final exam in every course. There is no feedback as you’re going along, and there is no way to cram, because so much material is covered that you have to keep up.

NSM: What are the best classes to take?
Our best classes are in the fields of international law, environmental law, intellectual property and constitutional law.

NSM: What do you recommend for students in high school and college who are considering law school?
Focus on academics, do well in school, and challenge yourself to take upper-level classes and do well. It’s important to be well-rounded and have a great college experience, but not at the sacrifice of academics. Participate in activities that are of interest, but balance everything so academics can come first.


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