hope college > political science > pre-law     

Pre-Law at Hope <
Is Law School Right for Me? <
Preparing for Law School <
Taking the LSAT <
Applying to Law School <
Choosing a Law School <
Paying for Law School <
Commonly Asked Questions <
Timelines & Schedules for Undergraduates <
Resources & Links <

Timelines and schedules for pre-law undergraduates

Freshman and sophomore years

  • A well rounded curriciulum. This means working on your general education curriculum, taking other classes that interest you and that challenge you to read, write, and think analytically.
  • Grades. Focus on academics. Do well!
  • Picking a major. There is no "right" major for law school. Look for something that you genuinely find interesting and want to study in-depth.
  • Relationships with faculty. Start building rapport with professors who might ultimately provide letters of recommendation.
  • Pre-Law activities. Get to know the pre-law advisor in campus; get involved in the Pre-Law Club; take advantage of pre-law activities on campus.
  • Start to explore the legal field. Look for opportunities to interact with lawyers; take one or more law-related courses; consider an internship in a legal environment.

Junior year

  • Meeting with the pre-law advisor. You should be working with your pre-law advisors regarding your law school plans and LSAT preparation
  • When to go to law school. A key question is whether to go straight to law school or first obtain some work or other real world experience before law school. Talk with your advisor, family, lawyers that you know, and other s for help in making this decision.
  • Taking the LSAT. If you plan on going straight to law school, you should take it in either June or October.
  • Preparing for the LSAT. On your own? A paid prep course? Start 2-3 months advance of the exam.
  • Investigating legal careers. Continue to explore the legal field through interviews, courses, reading, internships and more.
  • Other coursework. Consider non-major courses that might enrich your skills and knowledge base for law school (history, economics, political science)
  • Researching law schools. Begin to research law schools. Obtain applications for schools. Attend a lw forum.
  • Extra-curriculars. Get involved in leadership in the Pre-Law Club or take on another significant extracurricular activity. How else can you strengthen your application?

Senior year (if you are going straight on to law school)

  • Pre-law advice. You should be working closely with the pre-law advisor throughout the fall.
  • The LSDAS. You need to subscribe and submit official transcripts.
  • The LSAT. If you haven't already, you need to plan on taking the LSAT, determine a plan of preparation, and devote the necessary time to do your best on the exam.
  • Where to apply. Think about attending a law forum. If you have the chance, visit law school campuses. Make sure you have developed an application strategey (consider applying to a range of schools).
  • The application process. In the period between September and November, you need to do a number of things. Pay close attention to the specific application requirements of each school to which you want to apply.
    • Secure application materials
    • Arrange the needed letters of recommendation (with at least one month's notice
    • Attend a law forum if you can
    • Formulate a list of possible schools
    • Begin working on your personal statement. Have it critiqued and do multiple drafts
  • When to apply. Your applications should be completed and submitted by mid-late fall (Thanksgiving at the latest). Most schools have a rolling admissions process, but confirm deadlines with all schools in which you are interested.
  • Financial Aid. Obtain and submit all financial aid forms by the pertinent deadline. Be sure to research and apply for grants and scholarships, both school related and outside award programs.
  • Thank yous. Be sure to formally thank your pre-law advisor and letter writers, and be sure to keep them apprised of the status of your applications.
  • Possible follow-up. Into the spring semester you may need to:
    • Follow up with schools to ensure your file is complete
    • Decide if you need to apply to any more schools
    • Update schools you have not heard from with new supporting evidence that might enhance your application (fall grades, other accomplishments, honors or awards)
    • Compare schools by visiting campuses if you can, comparing their respective financial aid packages, and more
    • Once you've confirmed acceptance at your school of choice and submitted your deposit, notify other schools to which you were admitted of your decision to attend elsewhere