Pre-Law Program at Miami University
Frequently Asked Questions
No college or university will guarantee you admission to law school. Your academic performance during undergraduate school and LSAT score are the two most important factors that determine law school admissions. You should choose the college that suits you the best. Think about where you see yourself for the next four years. Make sure it offers the program you want to study, you like the environment, and that you meet with the pre-law advisor.
Law schools will not inquire about your high school grades and accomplishments. You should, however, focus on developing good writing, oral communication, and critical thinking skills. Think about taking courses and participating in activities that enhance these skills. Speak with your teachers and counselor about college-prep courses in social studies, English, foreign languages, sciences and/or math. A general knowledge in all backgrounds is beneficial in the legal profession.
I heard that having a disciplinary record can prevent you from getting into law school. Is this true?
Yes. Any sort of criminal or disciplinary violation must be explained on a law school application. Even minor blemishes such as having many speeding tickets must be explained. Major problems such as felonies and some misdemeanors can prevent you from being accepted and/or taking the bar exam. Make sure you stay out of trouble!
Maybe. Law school affords its graduates many different career opportunities, not all related to legal practice. If you think you might be interested in law, you should first learn more about the intellectual, financial, and time commitments necessary to obtain a Juris Doctor degree. The Pre-Law Program Office has many resources that can assist you. In addition, you should also see a career counselor at Career Services to determine whether law is a good fit for you. Find time to talk to law students and lawyers in different fields. Because the decision to attend law school is so very important, students should not apply without gathering information and giving it careful consideration.
Students who graduate from law school work in private practice, as judicial clerks, in other areas of government, in business, are employed by the military, work in public interest industries, and work in academia. In addition, there are many specialty areas within law, including, but not limited to, civil rights, corporate and securities, criminal, education, labor and employment, environmental and natural resources, family and juvenile, health, immigration, intellectual property, international, real estate, sports and entertainment, and tax.
Typically, it takes three years to receive your law degree, the Juris Doctor (JD). Some schools offer joint degree programs where you can receive additional certification, such as Master of Business Administration (MBA) in combination with your JD in three or four years.
It depends. The decision to take time off before attending law school is a very personal one that varies depending on the student's individual circumstances. More than half of all applicants apply to law school a year or more after graduating from college. There are several advantages to taking time off before applying to law school. Because law school is a rigorous academic program, taking a year or more off between college and law school may give you a much needed break. You may find that gaining work experience will make the lessons learned during law school more tangible, and can also help you identify practice areas that you may be interested in pursuing. Additionally, the organizational, management, and leadership skills you obtain in the workplace may help you navigate the law school process.
No. You are encouraged to major in whatever discipline you find most interesting. Regardless of your major, you should take courses that will enhance those skills that are essential for success in law school and legal practice: critical thinking, reading, writing, speaking, problem-solving, and logical reasoning skills. You should also excel academically, as admission to law school is very competitive.
As early as possible. You should meet with the pre-law advisor in your major your first year to discuss course planning and academic standards for law school, and to learn more about coursework within your major. As a junior and senior, you should meet with the Pre-Law Program Director for more focused advising about the law school admissions process.
You should plan to take courses that will enhance your critical thinking, verbal and written communication, reading, problem solving, and logical reasoning skills. To gain valuable problem solving and logical reasoning skills, courses in math, science, and logic are recommended. You should discuss the coursework recommended to develop these skills with the pre-law advisor in your major early in your undergraduate career.
The Law School Admissions Test is a standardized test administered by the Law School Admissions Council. Students typically take it during the summer following their junior year of college. It contains a multiple choice critical reading section, analytical reasoning section and logical reasoning section. Scores range from 120-180 and are used as criteria for law school admissions.
The LSAT is administered four times per year: February, June, September/October, and December. It is best to take the LSAT in June following your junior year of college. This will provide you with adequate time to weigh your law school options, and to complete your applications early in the law school admissions season.
Not necessarily. Some students prefer to study on their own. However, other students find that commercial courses provide them with the discipline to begin and maintain a study schedule when they otherwise would not. Whether you take a commercial course or decide to engage in self-study, you should start studying as early as possible. You should also monitor your progress regularly by taking practice exams, and adjust your study method and study schedule as needed.
You should plan to take the LSAT only once. This is, in part, because some schools average multiple scores. Also, even schools that accept the higher score can see all of your scores. However, you may take the LSAT no more than three times in any two-year period, unless you are given written permission by a law school to which you are applying.
The Law School Data Assembly Service (LSDAS™) processes applicant information for submission to law schools. LSDAS prepares a law school report that will be sent to every law school to which you apply. The report includes an undergraduate academic summary, copies of transcripts, LSAT scores and writing sample copies, and copies of recommendation letters processed by LSAC.
You must pay a registration fee for LSDAS, which includes preparation of the law school report, processing of transcripts and recommendation letters, and an online law school application service.
As early as possible after the law schools to which you are applying accept applications. Many schools use a "rolling admissions" system, which means that they make decisions as completed applications are received. Because most schools only plan to admit a certain number of students in any given year, as students are admitted, there are less spots remaining. Therefore, the earlier you apply, the better your chances. You should find out when the law schools you are applying to will begin accepting applications and apply as soon after that date as possible.
It depends. On average, students apply to approximately six schools. However, Miami students tend to average between eight and nine. Diversifying your list will give you the greatest range of options to choose from after admission decisions are made. If you only apply to schools above your range, you risk not having any options; if you only apply to schools well below your range, you limit your ability to attend a school that you might find competitive and interesting. You should apply to several schools in which your credentials fall within the median GPA and LSAT scores. However, you should also plan to apply to a few schools in which you fall within the top 75% or above, and a few in which you fall within the bottom 25% or below.
A form or letter that is required by some law schools, which must be completed by the Dean or another authorized representative. The letter certifies that you are in good standing with the university. Some schools require that the Dean disclose any disciplinary action taken against you, as well as details of your academic standing within the university. While you may be required to submit the certification letter or form with your application, some schools require the certification only after you have been accepted to the law school. Dean's Certification letters are processed in the College of Arts and Science Advising Office, Upham Hall, Room 146.