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Associate Dean of Admissions at Yale Law School Asha Rangappa, was invited by “Professors’ Guide” bloggers at US News & World Report to offer suggestions for those who are considering entering law school some day.
- Major in Something You Enjoy. You don’t have to major in “pre-law” or English or political science, says Rangappa. Major in something you’ll enjoy; you’ll probably do well in it. But if you do decide to major in something off the liberal arts path, she suggests you make sure to take a “smattering of courses in fields such as economics, history, politics, sociology, and philosophy, as the language of these disciplines will reappear throughout your legal education.”
- Read, Read, Read. Going to law school means spending three years reading a lot. The best way to prepare is to cultivate a habit of reading — in class and out — and reading closely. Because in the law, every word matters. “If you don’t like reading, you won’t like being a lawyer.”
- Write, Write, Write. In addition to reading, lawyers write a lot. While you’re in college, take advantage of opportunities to improve your writing skills. Take courses that have paper requirements or the writing of a senior thesis. Becoming confident in your writing ability, being able to express yourself clearly and concisely, will go a long way in your career (not to mention your law school application).
- Get to Know Your Professors. Recommendations from your professors are one of the most important parts of that law school application. Professors who know you personally write the best recommendations: they’ve had a chance to personally evaluate your work, your writing and your participation in class. Take smaller classes or seminars where you can work closely with the professor; take advantage of office hours to ask questions or get feedback. It means you’ll have to work harder, but a glowing recommendation is worth it.
- Stay Out of Trouble. Don’t throw a kegger in your dorm room. Law schools will ask about your “character and fitness” to practice law. You’ll have to disclose any academic or criminal disciplinary incident you’ve been involved in. Even if you make it into law school, these disclosures are forwarded to the bar committee of the state where you intend to practice: they could keep you from being admitted to the bar.
sole source: Professors’ Guide blog by Lynn F Jacobs and Jeremy S Hyman on 2/4/09: guest blogger is Asha Rangappa. Visit the site for good tips. www.usnews.com/blogs/professors-guide/2009/02/04/5-tips-for-getting-into-law-school