Navigating college as a first generation student is difficult. Without adequate parental support, it might be hard to find access to the resources necessary to propel yourself to a similar career trajectory as your prelaw peers. Even through the endless google searches inquiring simple questions like “how long is law school” or the usual late night scrolling down the rabbit hole of law school admissions reddit, it’s easy for first generation college students to feel lost. As a result, feelings of self doubt start to emerge. It’s easy to succumb to imposter syndrome, but we in the Omega Law Group believe that first generation students are capable of succeeding. We know since one of our very own attorneys, Sara Rodriguez, was a first generation student!
A piece of advice from Sara:
“For those planning to attend law school, my greatest advice would be to seek a law school that provides tools and resources to help you pass the bar and obtain a job straight out of law school. All law schools offer bar prep programs. The real selection comes down to law schools that have faculty that are willing to invest their time in you to see you succeed - not only by passing the bar but also by molding you into becoming a competent practicing attorney in real life. Professors can help serve as a reference for your moral character application, help you obtain that competitive federal judicial externship everybody wants or help you get your first job out of law school. I was surrounded by amazing professors during my time at Southwestern and owe a large portion of my success to them. They believed in me, they supported me and they provided me with the guidance I needed to become the first attorney in my family.”
Here are a few things you should do to succeed in the law school admissions process:
- Research Law Schools
- Make Sure You Have A High GPA
- Study for the LSAT
- Pursue Your Interests!
- Write A Killer Personal Statement
Research Law Schools
You can get a great legal education everywhere, but some law schools may be a better fit for you depending on your goals. If you want to pursue big law in the East Coast, it might be worth looking into Fordham Law School or Columbia Law School. If you’re interested in entertainment law, perhaps you’d want to look at UCLA Law School or USC Law School. You may even consult this list if your field of interest is Personal Injury. Once you’ve identified what area(s) of law you want to pursue, look at law schools that will best help you succeed in your career goals in the legal industry. From there, look at the most recent class profile of the law school’s incoming 1L class and check their median GPA and LSAT scores. Aim to match these numbers to better increase your chances of getting into these law schools.
Make Sure You Have A High GPA
Obviously, you should do what everyone is doing and study hard to ensure your cumulative GPA is the highest it can be. Consulting review sites like ratemyprofessor.com can help you gauge whether your professors are truly invested in their students’ learning, helping you secure a high cumulative GPA.
However, first generation college students are burdened with systemic barriers that may hinder them from performing their best in their undergraduate years. So on top of doing your due diligence by being a “good student,” you should also try to find a support system that could help you navigate the confusing ins-and-outs of the undergraduate system. We suggest finding an organization that caters to first-generation college students, prelaw students, and any other identities you may have. These organizations may help with getting you the resources you need to succeed in undergrad and will help you perform significantly better throughout college.
Study for the LSAT
LSAT, or the Law School Admissions Test, is a standardized test that aims to predict your chances of succeeding at law school. Law school applicants employ different study methods when studying for the LSAT. A lot of them hire a private tutor or pay for an LSAT course (ie: Powerscore, LSAT Max, 7sage, etc.), both of which are helpful but expensive. There’s also the cost-effective option to self-study. But some people have benefited from prelaw fellowships, which often provide free LSAT preparation if accepted. Only downside is that they are often competitive, but it doesn’t hurt to try! One fellowship that might be worth looking into is Trials, which is a fully subsidized summer LSAT study program geared for low-income students. For more information, visit their website.
Information on LSAT registration, and LSAT Test Dates can also be found here.
Pursue Your Interests
Being a prelaw student does not mean that you solely have to do law school related activities. In the Navigating Law School Admissions Podcast, Yale Law School and Harvard Law School admissions directors Miriam and Kristi said that they want to curate a diverse student body and have strongly encouraged their listeners to pursue activities they truly want to do. Whether it be sports, arts, or even juggling, your time in undergrad is the time to explore your interests! Don’t waste your time doing things you feel obligated to do just because you have a false sense of what law school admissions may want.
Write A Killer Personal Statement
Finally, once you’re ready to sit down and apply to law schools, reflect on all the things you learned along the process and write. Some law schools may give you a prompt to go off of, but personal statements are usually the space for you to answer “why law school?” or “why this particular law school?” Ponder upon this, write, and revise as needed. Allow your first draft to suck, and trust that the revisions that will come after will tell the beautiful story of your journey!