Frequently Asked Questions
We want you to have a back-up plan in the event that you make it to your senior year and decide that law school is not for you (Trust us, this happens a lot!!!).
That is why the selection of a major and a minor is so important. In selecting your major and minor, you should consider how you will use your degree if you decide not to attend law school, if you are not admitted to the law school of your choice, or if you do not receive enough scholarship money to attend law school.
Law school is a serious commitment of time, money, and energy so unless you are independently wealthy, you are well advised to select a major and minor that will offer some potential career opportunities. You are encouraged to talk with department heads and faculty in your area(s) of interest to determine if they have internships or co-op opportunities, and inquire about their track record in job or graduate school placement.
You should consider and balance these three things as you move forward in pursuing your undergraduate degree:
- Select a major/minor which will allow you to develop your writing and communication skills via essay exams, research papers, and class presentations.
- Select a major/minor that can lead to employment or graduate school opportunities if you decide not to attend law school.
- The market is currently flooded with lawyers. Consider other ways that you can use your law degree other than private practice (see potential careers in law).
- Good grades, good grades, good grades!!! You will need at least a 3.0 GPA but in reality you should strive for a 3.3 or higher as you are competing with lots of other people with strong grade point averages.
- A competitive score on the LSAT. You should aim for a score above the 50th percentile of the law school that you are seeking admission to. You should prepare for the LSAT 8 to 10 months before you plan to take it. Most people take it at the end of their junior year (usually June). Check with your top choice law schools to see how they consider multiple LSAT attempts.
- Strong letters of recommendation (including at least one from a professor). Take challenging professors who can attest to your writing, verbal, and critical thinking skills. As a rule, select a professor to write a letter of recommendation for you that you have taken for more than one class so they can expand on your abilities in the letter of recommendation.
- While law school admission committees consider the overall application (great life story, overcoming adversity, etc.), a solid GPA built on serious and challenging courses and a strong LSAT score are very heavily considered.
- Join the Honors Program. If you meet the requirements to join the Honors Program (for entering freshmen 24 on the math, 25 on the English, and a 25 composite ACT; for current JSU students a 3.5 GPA) then join the Honors Program so that you can take Honors classes that will be clearly identified on your final transcript and you will receive special recognition at graduation. Honors classes are not harder than regular classes. As a rule, they are smaller and allow for more discussion and interaction between the students and the instructor. You need 24 credit hours of Honors classes to graduate with Honors distinction. Please see the Honors website or contact Dr. Lori Owens at (256) 782-5640, or Ms. Janet Whitmore at (256) 782-5698 for more information.
- Become involved in campus or community service or a service-learning project. Several classes offer service learning opportunities and the Honors Program and other campus clubs/organizations have a regular slate of service projects that students may choose to participate in.
- Be an active member and/or leader in a club, organization, or the student government. This includes academic clubs as well as Ambassadors or Go Leaders. However, be careful in balancing your academic endeavors with extra-curricular activities. You do not want your grades to suffer as a result of too many activities.
- If your major or college offers research and presentation opportunities, take advantage of these. For example, JSU hosts an annual Student Symposium each February so students can present a project or research paper they have written. Students must be nominated by a faculty member. Some departments also regularly take students to present at state or regional conferences in their field of study.
- Consider joining a debate team or other scholarly competition. Both the Political Science and Public Administration Department and the Geography Department sponsor teams for the Southeast Model Arab League held in Spartanburg, South Carolina each March. Contact Dr. Lori Owens at firstname.lastname@example.org for information about the Political Science team, and Dr. Joe Morgan at email@example.com for information regarding the Geography team. Dr. Owens also sponsors a Model United Nations Team which competes in Atlanta each November.
- Complete a legal internship. Please see the Internship section under Available Resources.
- Join an honor society that is associated with your major or minor.
- Take advantage of domestic or international travel opportunities or study abroad programs sponsored by JSU.
Individual law schools offer scholarships but they are limited and almost always based on LSAT scores so take advantage of the free, practice tests administered by the Office of Academic Services at JSU to improve your test score prior to taking the official LSAT. See Available Resources for more detailed information about the practice test.