Frequently Asked Questions
What are the requirements for admission to law school and when do I apply?
B.A. or B.S., no particular courses or majors are preferred. If you want to attend law school right after college, you should apply during the fall of your senior year. Although application deadlines are often spring dates, early applicants have a distinct advantage. Plan to have everything in the mail before Christmas.
What do law schools generally ask of for from applicants?
First, a high GPA and a strong score on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). (Keep in mind that taking easy courses to earn a high GPA at the expense of gaining a diverse and rigorous education and sharpening your analytical and writing skills will work to your disadvantage in scoring well on the LSAT and being prepared for the rigors of legal study.) Beyond the GPA, they look for a program of studies that develops basic skills and insights in written and oral comprehension and expression; the ability to think deductively, inductively, and by analogy; and, creative power in thinking.
Subjective factors such as faculty recommendations, extracurricular interests, and work experience are also considered by many law schools, but they are less important and typically do not compensate for mediocre academic performance.
Which courses should I take to develop these basic skills?
As we already mentioned, no specific courses are required; however, keep in mind that the spoken and written word are the principal tools of the legal profession. If you intend to study law, you need to develop an excellent knowledge and grasp of the English language as well as a clear and concise style of expression. Seek out courses, in whatever departments, that require substantial writing and provide a thorough critique of that writing. A sound liberal arts education is often best for most pre-law students.
Courses in political science, history, economics, statistics, and anthropology can help you understand the structure of society and the problems of social ordering with which the law is concerned. Studying philosophy, literature, fine arts, foreign languages, and other cultures will make you familiar with traditions, thought, and trends which have influenced, or tend to influence, legal developments nationally and internationally. The examination of human behavior in sociology and psychology will help you to understand the types and effects of human behavior. Studying logic (Philosophy 201) and the sciences can help you analyze, understand, and rationally organize your thoughts. And in some fields of law practice it is useful for a student to have a fundamental knowledge of technology, engineering, computers, and accounting.
As a pre-law student, what criteria should I use in selecting a major?
The best guide is your own interest and inclination. Major in a field that interests you and that you will enjoy. You will earn better grades in subjects you like! (See previous question for more information about courses.)
How important are extracurricular activities?
This varies from law school to law school but they are not a major consideration in admission to most law schools. However, reasonable participation in activities can help you develop valuable leadership, communication, social, and logical skills.
When should I take the LSAT? Should I take it twice?
The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) should be taken either in June after your junior year or in the September/October test dates of your senior year in order to get your results back in time to determine an appropriate range of schools to which to apply. When you eventually apply to law schools, all of your test scores are reported. Since most schools average the scores or deduct points from the second score if it's higher, you should plan to take the test only once. If you feel that you are not a skilled test-taker, a Kaplan/Princeton Review course might reduce your anxiety and give you tips. While the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) claims that commercial courses produce no substantial improvement in scores, the Kaplan course, for one, claims a 5–7 point performance higher than the mean for its students. Improvements are much more likely in the middle range of scores than at the upper end.
Where can I get more information about pre-law studies and law schools?
Pre-law advising is available on the Douglass and College Avenue Campuses. The College Avenue advising takes place in Milledoler Hall where there are also reference books and pamphlets with information about the legal profession and law schools. There are also catalogs of most of the law schools to which Rutgers students ordinarily apply. The best single source of information is probably the Official Guide to U.S. Law Schools put out by Law Services.
When should I request letters of recommendation from my professors?
When should I request letters of recommendation from my professors? Our pre-law advisors recommend that you wait until second semester junior year or first semester senior year to request letters of recommendation. However, if you have requested a letter from a professor prior to your junior year, you have two options for filing it in the interim before applying to law schools.
Rutgers Career Services has a partnership with Interfolio.com, an online credentials service. Interfolio maintains letters of reference for current students and alumni for use in applying to graduate school, teaching positions or other employment opportunities. For more information, visit the
Interfolio page at Career Services.
Your other option is to register early for the Credential Assembly Service (CAS) at the Law School Admission Council. The Credential Assembly Service is the clearinghouse for LSAT scores, transcripts, and recommendations. Please note that there are fees for this service, but there are also fee waivers for qualified applicants. For more information, click
Whom should I contact for a Dean’s Recommendation / Certification?
For School of Arts and Sciences students, please click
For School of of Environmental and Biological Sciences students, please contact Associate Dean for Academic Programs, Robert M. Hills, 732-932-3000, ext. 512.
For School of Engineering students, please contact either Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Fred R. Bernath, or Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs, Lydia Q. Prendergast, at 732-445-2212.
If you are a student in ANY other School in New Brunswick, and are seeking a law school Dean's Recommendation or Certification, please contact the Office of Undergraduate Education at 732-932-4001.