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HOW TO APPLY: FAQS FOR FIRST YEARS, SOPHOMORES, JUNIORS AND SENIORS

 

FIRST YEARS & SOPHOMORES: Thinking about Law School?

 

WHAT CAN I DO NOW TO BEGIN PREPARING FOR LAW SCHOOL?

Prospective law students during their first years in undergraduate school should focus on finding a major in which they can be successful, and focus on achieving the highest GPA possible.  The GPA is one of two “hard factors” that ONU Law takes into consideration, and therefore carries more weight than soft factors.  Soft factors include your personal statement, transcript, letters of recommendation, and résumé.  Prospective law students should also meet with a professor or academic advisor to discuss the best track for pre-law students at that specific undergraduate institution.  The best pre-law track does not necessarily mean becoming a pre-law, political science, or philosophy major.  Consider history, english or other extensive writing majors as possible majors. Discuss with your advisor the best plan for your future law career. 

Researching law school early can help you determine which law schools you may want to research in-depth later in your undergraduate career.  It is also a good idea, but not mandatory, to shadow one or several attorneys to get a good idea of what the day-to-day work of an attorney may look like.  Summer internships in law firms are not required to be accepted into law school, but are beneficial for you as a future lawyer, and are encouraged.

WHAT CAN I DO NOW TO BEGIN PREPARING FOR THE LSAT?

Prospective law students can begin to prepare for the LSAT at any time during their undergraduate career.  Common preparation techniques include, but are not limited to: practicing logic games; enrolling in a LSAT prep course online or in a classroom setting; self-taught LSAT prep courses through the purchase of a prep book; and practice LSAT’s, which can be purchased through LSAC.  Prospective law students should also visit their Office of Career Services or meet with their pre-law advisor to discuss recommended options. 

WHAT ARE THE BEST WAYS TO STUDY FOR THE LSAT?

There are many resources available to help you study for the LSAT.  The tools you select to assist you in your preparation will depend on your style of studying.  LSAC.org offers many resources for students at no cost.  They also have many handbooks and practice tests that are available for purchase.  In addition to LSAC, Kaplan and the Princeton Review, among many others, offer extensive prep books, online resources, and courses in which you can enroll.  Additionally, the Career Services office at your undergraduate institution will most likely offer timed practice tests that can offer excellent practice.  Choose the technique that works best for you, but preparing in advance for the LSAT will be a worthwhile investment of your time. 

WHAT MAJORS DO LAW SCHOOLS PREFER? ARE THERE CERTAIN CLASSES I NEED TO TAKE?

ONU Law accepts students from all majors, not just traditional pre-law undergraduate majors such as Political Science and History.  The 2013 Fall entering class represented 27 different majors.  Although Political Science, History, and Philosophy are always popular, students who study extensively in those subjects do not have a leg up on students who chose to major in Journalism or Biology.  There are however, types of courses that are helpful to take in preparing for law school.  Courses that focus on critical thinking, extensive writing, and reading complex texts are always looked on positively because they prepare students for many of the courses that they will take in law school.  However, students can learn these important skills in almost any major.  Our recommendation: Major in a subject that you are interested in and will allow you to be the most successful.  If you have elective course options or several credits you need to fill during a semester, take an English or Philosophy course that will help you hone your critical thinking, analysis, and writing skills. 


JUNIORS AND SENIORS: Your Next Steps

 

WHAT IS THE LSAT AND LSAC?

The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is administered by the Law School Admission Council (LSAC).  LSAC provides many resources for prospective JD students at any stage of their law school search process.  The LSAT is the standardized test that is used by all law schools as a predictor of future success in law school.  The LSAT tests acquired-reading and verbal-reasoning skills, and is one of multiple factors used by ONU Law when reviewing a file.  The LSAT is a considered a “hard factor”, along with your GPA, and is weighed with great importance. 

WHAT IS THE CAS?

The Credential Assembly Service (CAS) compiles all of an applicant’s data, including: Transcripts, LSAT scores, Writing Sample, and Letters of Recommendation.  Once compiled, all of the candidate’s submitted information will be sent to the law schools where the student has applied.  The CAS allows applicants to only submit their application once and the CAS compiles and submits your application to your selected schools.  ONU Law requires that students enroll in the CAS as part of your application process. 

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO TAKE THE LSAT AND APPLY TO LAW SCHOOL?

The LSAT requires a $170 registration fee, and additional fees are required for late registration, test date change, etc.  The CAS requires a $165 registration fee, and ONU Law requires that you register with the CAS.  ONU Law’s application is free online, but many other law schools require fees to submit their applications. 

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO TAKE THE LSAT  SHOULD I TAKE IT MORE THAN ONCE?

Most prospective law students take the LSAT following their Junior year in June, October, or December.  Although these are the most popular times to take the LSAT, it is important to take the LSAT only when you have had time to properly and thoroughly prepare for the exam.  Students taking the exam for a second time can expect to receive a score in a range of either five points above or below their original score.  Law schools will see all of the scores you have received on the LSAT.  ONU Law will take the highest LSAT score a student has on record.  Students should only take the LSAT for a second time if they have had sufficient time to study and prepare.  It is not recommended that a student take the LSAT more than three times.  LSAT scores are valid for five years, so it is possible to take the LSAT earlier in your undergraduate career if you do not wish to wait until your Senior year. 

WHAT DOCUMENTS SHOULD I HAVE READY WHEN I APPLY TO LAW SCHOOL? 

Applicants should have the following pieces of information available when completing their application:  LSAT Scores; Names of Recommenders; Personal Statement; and résumé. 

DO LAW SCHOOLS LOOK AT MY TRANSCRIPT(S)? 

ONU Law reviews and considers every aspect of an application throughout the admissions process.  The applicant’s transcript can play a crucial role in helping the reviewer understand an applicant’s academic history.  Ideally, ONU Law would like to see a strong GPA each semester, earned by a student taking challenging academic courses throughout their entire academic career.  It is also positive, and extremely important that the reviewer be able to see a positive progression within the student’s undergraduate career.  An upward trend should be evident when looking at a student’s transcript.  It is also important that a student took challenging courses within their major up to, and including, the last semester. 

WHERE SHOULD MY LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION AND TRANSCRIPTS BE SENT?

Letters of Recommendation and Transcripts must be sent directly to LSAC from the Recommenders and Registrar’s Office, respectively.  A transcript must be submitted from any institution, graduate or undergraduate, that you may have attended.   LSAC’s Transcript Request Form, available after a student registers with the CAS, must be used for this purpose.  A transcript takes, on average, two weeks to be processed and most institutions charge a nominal processing fee.  Letters of Recommendation may be submitted by mail or uploaded online.  An applicant may select the Recommenders and assign them to the appropriate law school using their LSAC.org account.  Once assigned, the request for the recommendation will be emailed to the recommender, and the letter can be uploaded through LSAC.  The applicant may also print the recommender form and give to the recommender to sign and mail in with the accompanying letter. 

HOW MANY LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION DO I NEED?  WHO SHOULD WRITE THEM AND WHAT SHOULD THEY SAY?

ONU Law will accept as many as three Letters of Recommendation.  Letters of Recommendation should be written by professors or employers that can speak to your academic abilities.  Letters of Recommendation are most commonly written by Professors and Academic advisors.  A student can also ask an employer or alum of the law school to write a recommendation.  The alum or employer should speak to your character and attributes that would make the applicant a successful law student.  Successful Letters of Recommendation, whether written by academics or employers, should identify specific reasons why an applicant would be successful in law school.

WHAT DOES ONU LAW LOOK FOR IN A PERSONAL STATEMENT?

The internet alone can provide hundreds of resources and suggestions on writing your personal statement.  However, your pre-law advisor or career services office should be your first stop when looking for helpful tools and techniques for beginning your personal statement.  It is also highly recommended that you have a professor or advisor review your personal statement for structural or grammatical errors.   First and foremost, the personal statement shows the admissions committee your best writing skills, while also providing a clear picture of why you want to attend law school and what makes you a qualified and diverse candidate.  Students often share personal anecdotes that describe a particular experience that led to their interest in law. ONU Law looks for personal statements without any spelling or grammatical errors.  The Office of Law Admissions at ONU reviews hundreds of personal statements each year, so it is important to create a piece of writing that is unique, while also clarifying your interest in studying the law. 

WHAT MAKES A RÈSUMÈ STAND OUT? HOW DO YOU WEIGH WORK EXPERIENCE? 

A résumé stands out to the application reviewer when it is clean and professional.  A résumé can be impressive in many different ways.  ONU Law looks highly on students who were involved during their undergraduate career, participating extensively in several organizations, or taking a strong leadership role in just one.  Additionally, work experience, whether part-time or full-time is a positive aspect of any résumé and shows that students have mastered the balance between working and studying. 

HOW DO YOU CONSIDER AN APPLICANT WITH GRADUATE EXPERIENCE? 

Graduate experience is positive when the prospective law student was successful in studying at the graduate level in an area that was of sincere interest to them.  ONU Law is not required to report the graduate GPA, therefore graduate school experience is one of the many soft factors considered when reviewing an application in its entirety. 

HOW DO YOU WEIGH THE GPA VS. THE LSAT SCORE?

GPA and LSAT scores are both hard factors that ONU Law takes into serious consideration and are weighed equally. The LSAT and undergraduate GPA are the top two predictors for success in law school, and must be used accordingly in making admission decisions

 

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