High Schoolers: How To Get A Head Start On Law School
Most students decide they want to pursue law school while in college. However, a select few can know as early as high school.
Daniel Waldman, a contributor at US News and law school admissions counselor at Stratus Admissions Counseling, recently discussed how high school students can get a head start on the law school application process.
Specific AP Classes
High school students set on applying to law school, Waldman says, should seek to take AP classes that require heavy reading, writing, and research.
Waldman says taking these types of AP courses can have many benefits.
“First, they show law school admissions officers that you’ve worked toward acquiring skills necessary to succeed in law school, exemplifying how driven and serious you are about your goals,” Waldman writes. “AP classes appear on your transcript when you apply to law school, so take them as seriously.”
In addition, they also serve as good practice for the future.
“Many students suffer from a lower GPA in their freshman year simply because they’re not yet adept at writing college-level essays, and those grades could mean the difference between getting accepted into a good law school and a great law school,” Waldman writes. “Learning the proper way to write a paper is key to being a successful student in college.”
Waldman says it’s important to keep an open mindset early on. That’s especially important when it comes to choosing a college major.
“Some people will tell you that majoring in the humanities – like political science and philosophy – is important for how schools see your application,” Waldman writes. “Those people are wrong; the relationship between law school and most humanities is tenuous at best.”
Rather, Waldman says, majoring in humanities can have the opposite effect.
“Not only does a humanities degree gives you no advantage when applying to law school, but in some ways it’s an advantage to have majored in the sciences, because it makes you look like a more well-rounded applicant who will contribute to a more diverse law school student body,” he writes.
Schools, like Harvard Law, have been actively recruiting STEM applicants since 2012.
According to a Harvard Crimson report, the percentage of admitted students with STEM backgrounds hit double digits in 2015.
“There are a lot of reasons why people with tech backgrounds can do well in the law,” Harvard Law School clinical professor Christopher T. Bavitz, tells the Crimson. “A lot of law practice is explaining complicated concepts to people…and people with science and tech backgrounds do that well. I think they’re great analytical thinkers in ways that kind of map on to the thinking lawyers do.”
When it comes to extracurriculars, experts say, it’s best to pursue hands-on experiences.
Waldman suggests students to explore summer jobs or internships in law firms, courthouses, representatives’ offices, and other areas related to the law.
“It might not be the most glamorous way to spend your summer, but it will look great on your resume, and you’ll gain invaluable information about the mechanics of the court system and legislature, the daily work of an attorney or even basic things like the difference between a memo and a brief,” he writes.