Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Law School
UMN Pre-Law Advising Office
On This Page:
- What should I major in if I know I want to go to law school?
- Should I take time off between my undergraduate years and law school?
- What does the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) measure?
- What is the best way to prepare for the LSAT?
There is no required, recommended, or preferred major for law school. The best major is one you enjoy and will excel in; your GPA is important for any graduate school application, and definitely for law school.
Strong writing and analytical skills will also help you succeed in law school, and you can develop those key skills in any major, especially those in the liberal arts.
The American Bar Association's Pre-Law Committee identifies the following characteristics as essential for law school success:
- Analytical and problem-solving skills.
- Critical reading skills.
- Writing skills.
- Oral communication and listening abilities.
- General research skills.
- Task organization and management skills.
- A value for serving others and promoting justice.
This is an individual choice, and there is no right answer.
Two-thirds of law school applicants who come from the University of Minnesota take one-plus years between finishing their undergraduate degrees and starting law school. Many choose to take time off to spend more time preparing for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), or to work in a law-related job so that they’re certain they’re ready to attend law school.
Unlike the SAT, ACT, or other standardized tests you may have taken, the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) does not assess your knowledge in a particular academic area such as English or math. Instead, as described by the Law School Admission Council (LSAC), the LSAT measures:
Reading and comprehension of complex texts with accuracy and insight.
Organization and management of information, and the ability to draw reasonable inferences.
The ability to think critically.
Analysis and evaluation of the reasoning and arguments of others.
The LSAT also measures your ability to do all of these things in a time-sensitive environment.
There is no one best way to prepare for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), but a good place to start is by taking a full-length, timed practice test. Typically, there is one proctored practice test offered on the UMN campus each semester. Contact Pre-Law Advising to find out more.
Once you get a feel for the test, you can determine the best way to prepare—whether it’s on your own, through a prep course, or with an individual tutor. Because LSAT scores play such a significant role in law school admission and scholarship decisions, it’s worth the investment of time and money to get help preparing for the test if you think it will improve your score dramatically.
The Pre-Law Advising Office does not recommend a test prep strategy or company, as the option you might choose will be based on your individual study style and preferences.
The Law School Admission Council offers a free LSAT prep program through Khan Academy.
What if I can't afford to apply for law school?
You can apply for the Law School Admission Council Fee Waiver program, established by the LSAC “to assure that no person is denied access to law school because of the absolute inability to pay for the LSAT and other essential applicant services.”
You can also politely and respectfully contact admissions offices to request a fee waiver for the school-specific application fee.
What are the best law schools?
Just like everything else in law, this largely depends on your career goals, where you want to practice law within the United States, and what type of law you’re interested in pursuing.
Do not rely on rankings alone to make a determination of what law school to apply to or attend, as these rankings do not take into account your needs as an individual.
Researching specific programs, talking to current law students and alumni, touring schools and sitting in on classes, comparing career outcomes data and bar passage rates, and assessing financial aid offerings can all help you develop a clearer picture of which law school is right—for you.
Check Out Our Online Module for Pre-Law Students
Pre-Law 101 Module. This module is perfect for someone just starting to explore law school and outlines how to explore, ways to gain experience and a brief overview of the timeline and application process. This module is available for currently enrolled University of Minnesota students only.