are institutions of higher learning that grant the degree of Juris Doctor. The course of study at a law school involves studying the history, theory, applications, and complexities of the law, and is meant to prepare the student for the eventual practice of law. The Juris Doctor degree is a postgraduate degree, meaning that you must first have a bachelor's degree before you can apply to law school.
Many colleges and universities offer Pre-Law majors in their undergraduate program. These programs are a combination of Political Science, History, Ethics, Criminal Justice, and other fields in a way that is tailored towards those preparing for law school after graduation. However, law schools don't always prefer Pre-Law students, often looking at other factors in the admissions process.
The standardized test for law school applicants is the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT), which is offered four times a year. This test contains several multiple choice sections, and then a free-response essay question. The multiple choice questions are graded and converted into a score on a scale that goes up to 180 (a perfect score); the essay is sent on to schools for their own evaluation.
The multiple choice sections are divided into three parts. The first is reading comprehension, which contains short passages and a series of questions about them. The next is analytical reasoning, which presents logic games and asks a few questions based on the possible outcomes of the situation. Finally, logical reasoning presents brief arguments, and asks the student to identify any logical flaws in them.
Other Admissions Criteria
Besides your LSAT, law schools look to a few other sources. Your undergraduate course of study and final grade point average (GPA) are important, as are your letters of recommendation. These letters can come from anyone, but usually your best letters of recommendation will come from professors who know your work well.
In addition, the school will look at your goals and interests as expressed in a personal statement. Every applicant gets a chance to write an essay about his or her history, goals, and interests. Usually, a personal statement will explain why someone is applying to law school, as well as why they are applying to a specific school.
Finding the Right Law School
Once you know what law schools are looking for in their students, you can start deciding what you are looking for in a law school. Every year, various law school rankings are published. The ultimate ranking of each school is often less important, though, than the summaries of each school that accompany the rankings.
With these summaries, you can quickly see how large a school is, what the average LSAT scores are, and so forth. These factors may weigh in differently with you than with other students, so scan the rankings for a school that looks like a good fit for you. Look at a law school's website, and if you like what you see, arrange a visit in person. The more you know, the better your chances of getting into law school.