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Applying to Law School
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Applying to Law School
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Cover of ABA Approved Law Schools

Each law school has its own admissions procedures. Data on admission criteria for any specific law school can be obtained from several sources. One is the Official Guide to U.S. Law Schools, which has information about each law school approved by the American Bar Association. This publication can be found in the IUS Library as well as the office of the Prelaw Advisor. Or, information can be obtained by going directly to the website for a particular law school. Also, the Prelaw Advisor maintains a file of brochures from a large number of law schools across the country.

Since admission fees can be rather steep (averaging between $35 to $50) per school students should consider limiting their number of applications (Probably three or four law schools are sufficient).

There are some publications that are helpful in making decisions about whether to pursue a law degree and which school to pick. A list of such publications can be found in the Official Guide to Law Schools and the website for the Law School Admission Council, www.LSAC.org. The following is a sampling of some of these publications:

Bell, Susan. Full Disclosure: Do You Really Want to Become a Lawyer? Princeton, NJ:
Peterson's Guides, 1989

Briggs, Amy Thompson. Degrees of Difference: A How to Guide to Choosing a Law School.
Washington, D.C.: National Association of Law Placement, 1989.

Curry, Boykin, ed., Essays that Worked for Law Schools: 35 Essays from Successful
Applications to the Nation's Top Law Schools.
New York: Fawcett Book Group, 1991.

Simonhoff, Mark, ed., So You Want to Be a Lawyer: A Practical Guide to Law as a Career.
Newtown, PA: Law School Admission Council, 1999.

Turow, Scott. One L.: An Inside Account of Life in the First Yer at Harvard Law School. New York:
Warner Books, 1988.

Also, U.S. News and World Report publishes a ranking of law schools every year during the month of March.

You may also want to go to www.lawschoolratings.com for further information on, and preparation for, law schools.

In addition to an admissions form, which usually requires an essay from the applicant, law schools require that applicants register with the Law School Data Assembly Service (LSDAS), which receives applicants'; transcripts and letters of reference and forwards these, along with the LSAT results, to the law school(s) designated by the student. There is a fee to register for LSDAS and for each school to which information is sent.

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Criteria for Admission to Law Schools
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Law schools consider a variety of factors in deciding which students to admit. However, two factors outweigh the rest - prior academic performance as measured by the undergraduate grade point average and the score on the LSAT.

  • Undergraduate G.P.A.:
    Students with less that a "B" average (3.0) can expect difficulty in gaining admission, although a high LSAT score may overcome a low GPA. Students should be aware that while IU Southeast has a policy that allows students to repeat a failed course and have only the passing grade calculated in the GPA, LSDAS puts all grades of a student, even those failed but repeated for a passing grade and those which did not transfer from a student’s original undergraduate college (if the student attended more than one college) on the LSDAS format and recomputes the GPA. So students with one or more course grades replaced through the grade replace process will discover that the LSDAS calculated GPA will be lower than the official GPA from IUS.

  • The LSAT:
    The LSAT is a requirement for admission to law school. It is a national exam offered four times each year: June, late-September or early-October, December and February. Application deadlines are one month before the exam is administered. A student should take the exam in his/her senior year - or the year before the student expects to enroll law school. Application forms are available from the IU Southeast Prelaw Advisor and the Career Services and Placement Office in the University Center.

    There are several ways to prepare for the LSAT, ranging from workbooks to professionally designed courses. The Prelaw Advisor has information about various preparation options, as well as information about fee waivers that cover the cost of the LSAT registration, the LSDAS, and LSAT preparation materials available from the Law School Admission Council.

  • Other Criteria:
    Other criteria that may be considered by law school admissions committees are the undergraduate course of study, graduate work, if any, college attended, college curricular and extracurricular activities, writing skills, community activities, past accomplishments and leadership. Letters of reference from faculty members can also weigh heavily in the decision.

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