I want to go to Law School; Now what?
A post-secondary education can take you down many roads; in fact, many students choose to pursue higher education post-grad. For all of you competitive, ambitious individuals who love paperwork as much as you love debate, going to law school has probably at least crossed your mind.
To get into almost any law school in Canada, you need three things: at least 2-3 years of university experience (though the vast majority of students attend law school after completing their undergraduate studies), a great score on the Law School Admission Test (the LSAT), and a stellar personal statement or application (giving the selection board insight into why you are right for their school).
When it comes to law school, the undergraduate major that you choose really doesn’t matter as long as you have the required university experience. Popular “pre-law majors” include social sciences (political science, criminology, sociology) and humanities (English, history, philosophy). However, individuals in programs from life sciences to commerce to music have done very well in law school, too.
It’s smart to study what you love: not only will you enjoy your undergraduate studies; you will likely achieve the high marks you need to get into the law school of your choice. Many law students also use their undergraduate experience as a supplement for a future career—for example, a future environmental lawyer would benefit from an ecology degree.
The LSAT is a demanding multiple-choice test that requires a lot of preparation. There are three graded sections to the test. Firstly, you will be required to complete “games”, essentially logic puzzles involving a variety of situations. Secondly, you will have to analyze arguments for their premises, conclusions, and weaknesses. Finally, you will complete a reading comprehension exercise. (The LSAT also has an essay portion that is not graded, but that admissions boards can look at when evaluating your application).
To prepare for this test, you need to make studying a top priority. Many students attend classes and hire tutors, and it is strongly recommended that you complete practice exercises and mock tests. Though the test is difficult, if you study hard, you will do well, and (like the SATs in the U.S.) you can always take it again if you are unhappy with your score, time permitting.
Personal Statement or Application
Essentially, the personal statement is an opportunity for you to showcase your skills and explain why you would make a good addition to the school. Many students describe their long-term aspirations as a lawyer, and the things they hope to learn from their time at their school of choice. When writing your statement, it’s smart to keep in mind the profile of the schools to which you’re applying, as well as what you plan to get out of your law degree.
Law school is not for the faint of heart, but if you set your mind to it, you will succeed. If you think a career is right for you, get cracking on your applications!