By Megan Lovato • February 02, 2010•Law School, Pre-Law, Curriculum and Classroom Dynamics
Many young women fresh into their undergraduate careers do not know what to study or how their educational goals in undergrad will mesh with their goals of going to law school. I have seen my colleagues stress about LSATs as freshmen when most of us are unsure of what major we will even have!
Below are some myths about the undergraduate education I feel should be cleared up for any aspiring female law students out there (the "0L's," as I refer to them) who are stressing early on about their post-grad studies.
Myth #1: You should overload on pre-law courses in undergrad to see what it's like being in law school.
Reality: You should instead focus on your major, which is hopefully in a subject you are interested in and can glean skills from which you can take with you to law school (such as reading and writing well, as well as reading comprehension). I'm a senior and still have not done a single pre-law class. While many universities offer pre-law courses that do provide a good basis for understanding the foundations of law, it is still good to attain good grades and a thorough knowledge of your chosen major.
Myth #2: Study for the LSAT as early as possible! Prepare from sophomore year until you finally take it!
Reality: The LSAT is hard. It is grueling. You will burn out if you stress about it for a long time (as in, longer than a year). A good amount of preparation begins with deciding when you are going to take it. Most law schools recommend the June LSAT after your junior year and, if your score was less than desirable, take it again in September or October. Finally, if you can afford a prep class, take it the fall or spring of your junior year and continue to study independently of the class.
Become familiar with what study routine works for you and get to know the test very well. Taking practice tests in a testing environment, such as free tests the Princeton Review offers, or through timing yourself with the help of a friend, will prepare you better than making a timeline the first day of undergrad for when to prepare for this.
Also, many law schools advise taking the LSAT in June after your junior year because you develop skills over the final years of undergrad that don't compare to your previous collegiate experience (i.e. before college). Taking the LSAT too early could put you at a major disadvantage, so plan ahead when is the best for you.
After the jump: the argument against limiting your law school lists to the coasts!
Myth #3: Plan what law schools you want NOW, and only apply to schools on the coasts!
Reality: To be honest, my list of law schools I will apply to this fall fluctuates more than some celebrities' BMI's. Also, none are on the coasts simply because of cost, location and my personal interests. Many people I know have only been interested in East Coast law schools since before undergrad, and it definitely puts them at a disadvantage. While many schools there are wonderful and very competitive, law schools everywhere will provide students with tools necessary to becoming skilled lawyers.
Obviously, location can matter, but it's not necessary to finding a job. Many lawyers have gone to law schools outside of the jurisdiction in which they practice today; the bar exam (another big test later!) is what determines where you are licensed. So, take heart in going to Local U's law school, provided its criteria helps you hone skills for mastering the study of law.