You know the cliché well: It’s never too early to plan for your future. Well, it’s a cliché for a reason — and it especially rings true in law school admissions. Many undergrads have an idea that law school is the eventual goal when they step onto campus . And that’s a good thing. Undergraduate performance is one of the highly weighted components of a law school application. This week, admissions guru Shawn O’Connor has some suggestions on how to make best use of the undergraduate experience.
First, O’Connor says to maximize your GPA, claiming it’s the second-most important aspect of your application (behind the LSAT). To do this, he says future law students should spread out their most difficult classes. Don’t load up on all the tough classes in one semester or year, he advises, and don’t avoid the tough classes altogether.
Next, O’Connor suggests taking classes that will help develop essential law school skills. Specifically, he says those skills are “careful reading of dense material; organized, linear thinking; strong research skills; and good writing skills.” First, take some philosophy courses, he counsels. There’s quite possibly nothing more dense and convoluted than reading philosophy and choosing a side to argue. To develop research and writing skills, O’Connor suggests taking history and political science courses—both of which will most likely require at least one very well-researched paper.
Finally, O’Connor says to take classes you enjoy. The obvious reason is you will do better. It’s a lot easier to get excited about work and do well on assignments if you’re genuinely interested in the content. What’s more, as O’Connor points out, it could give you more things to talk about in your personal statement. Most personal statements require at least a little information on your undergraduate experience. Being able to write about classes you really enjoyed looks good.
Another point that O’Connor did not mention is doing well and showing interest in a class could also lead to good relationships with professors who might be helpful when looking for recommenders. Undergraduate professors are the obvious (and potentially best) sources for recommendation letters. Having a handful of professors who can speak highly of you and your academic ability is a good thing.
Source: U.S. News
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