Although most students enroll in law school after graduating from college, others do not enter law school until well into their adulthood. Consequently, most law schools now offer part-time and night courses to accommodate non-traditional students. Like recent college graduates, adults who wish to enter law school must register with the Law School Admission Council (LSAC), take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), obtain recommendations, choose the right schools and complete an application.
Register with the LSAC. Anyone applying to an American law school must do so through the Law School Admission Council since it standardizes transcripts, keeps track of recommendations, processes applications and handles misconduct cases. To register, visit the Law School Admission Council's website, create an account and pay the $123 registration fee.
Take the LSAT. The LSAT is a 4-hour exam that American law school applicants must take. For most schools, the LSAT score is the single greatest indicator of whether the applicant is admitted or rejected. Purchase LSAT preparation books and practice tests from a local bookstore, Amazon or the LSAC's website. Start studying for the LSAT 4 to 6 months in advance.
Request transcripts from all post-secondary institutions you attended. Contact every college you attended after graduating from high school and ask them to send an official transcript to the LSAC. You must submit all transcripts, even if you only took one class. Failure to do so could spark a misconduct and irregularities charge against you by the LSAC. The LSAC will standardize your transcript and average your GPA from all the colleges you attended. The new GPA is called the LSDAS GPA.
Get two to three recommendations. If you graduated from college in recent years, it should not be difficult to obtain a recommendation from a professor. However, if you have been out of school for many years, you may not be able to track down former professors. In that case, get recommendations from past and current employers.
Choose the schools to which you want to apply. There are many factors to consider when selecting schools, such as cost, location, flexibility of programs and prestige. Decide which factors are most important to you and select schools based on them. Apply to a combination of safety, match and reach schools. Safety schools are schools that should admit you since your LSAT score and undergraduate GPA is above the school's average. Match schools might admit you since your GPA and LSAT score matches the school's average. Reach schools, such as Ivy League law schools, might reject you since your undergraduate GPA and LSAT score falls below the school's average. It's a good idea to apply to reach schools since they are usually prestigious and generous with financial aid.
Complete and verify the LSAC's common law school application. After registering with the LSAC, you will find a general application for all law schools United States. Complete it and verify that your information is correct. The LSAC will copy this application and send it to any law school that you want. Some schools, such as Yale, have supplementary forms that you must complete.
Therese Rochon is a college student and freelance writer from St. Louis. She is studying English and Spanish literature at Washington University and plans to attend law school in the future. She speaks two languages and, in 2011, will au pair in Europe to learn two more languages. She has been writing online since 2005.