What skills will increase the likelihood that you will get into the law school you prefer? What skills will help you succeed professionally once you complete law school? How can you develop and demonstrate those skills?
The best preparation for law school is academic excellence. Law schools consider an applicant's LSAT score, GPA, and personal statement. The LSAT is an exam that all law school applicants are required to take. It does not test knowledge of the law or criminal justice system. Instead, it is designed to evaluate students' ability to think analytically. This means that the content of the courses you take is not as important as their rigor. The best preparation for getting into law school is to take the most difficult courses you can with the most demanding professors. The more that you can develop skills in analytical thinking, applying abstract ideas to new situations, problem solving, reading of difficult material, and writing, the better off you will be. These skills are not only important for getting into law school. They also are important for succeeding as a law student and as an attorney.
In order to develop these skills, we recommend that students interested in law specialize in the research and analysis track. This specialization trains students to think abstractly and to apply abstract ideas to new empirical situations. In addition, students should take courses that emphasize writing. For example, you may want to consider a minor in English to develop your reading and writing skills.
If you are interested in particular kinds of law: environmental law, family law, labor law, corporate practice, and so forth, then you should take substantive courses that will give you a background in those areas. For example, to prepare for family law, you might take Sociology of the Family (Soc. 351). Similarly, to prepare for a career in environmental law, you should take our Environmental Sociology (Soc. 332) and Human Ecology (Soc. 415) courses.