Loyola University Chicago

Pre-Law Advising

Career Services

Pre-Law FAQs

You don’t need to make a formal declaration anywhere; pre-law is self-directed, and advisors are here to support you. Consider signing up for the Pre-Law Newsletter to stay up to date on the latest happenings.

You don’t need a legal internship to be a strong candidate for law school! In fact, law schools do not expect to see this on your resume. Most legal internships are reserved for current law students (L1 and L2 students), and undergrads often become frustrated when they apply for these internships and don’t’ get interviews.

Instead, laws schools are looking for candidates with strong records of engagement and professional experience. Examples of engagement include: student organization leadership/involvement, volunteer experience, holding a part-time or summer job, having a summer or academic year internship, research, etc. Internship experience can be at non-profit/mission-driven organizations, government and political offices, and for-profit businesses. Schedule an Appointment with a career advisor for help identifying and applying for internships!

Contrary to popular belief, there is no pre-law major, so you do not have to declare a “pre-law major/minor” at any time during your undergraduate career. In addition, there is no specifically required or recommended undergraduate major for students planning to attend law school, nor do law schools prefer one major over another. Rather, it is in students’ best interest to choose a major that they enjoy and can excel at, particularly majors that will help them build skills necessary to succeed in law school. While some majors are more popular than others (e.g. Political Science), applicants to law school come from a wide variety of academic backgrounds. In 2020, accredited law schools across the country accepted students from nearly 160 majors!

Pre-law is a much more self-directed path than pre-health, for instance. There is not a set list of pre-requisite courses. Instead, we recommend a skills-based approach to choosing elective courses. Classes that will help you develop critical analysis, critical writing and speaking, persuasion, negotiation, advocacy, and/or counseling are courses worth considering.

Additionally, taking a few content-based courses that cover legal-related topics are valuable. That said, no one expects you to be an expert on the law when you enter law school; admissions committees want to see that you have the skills needed to succeed in law school and eventually as a lawyer. Don’t jump to taking every class with the word “legal” or “law” in the title.

For additional information: Classes for pre-law students.

For a traditional student planning to enter law school the fall immediately after graduating, timing for the LSAT is usually sometime between late spring Junior year or early fall Senior year. The admissions cycle is a year in advance; applications for law school would happen the fall of your senior year.

An average score for the LSAT is 150. Most of the Top 25 Law Schools require an LSAT score well above 160. It is recommended that you review law school admissions data and average GPAs for individual schools you are interested in by visiting the law school’s admissions website or reviewing US News Rankings to understand the specific requirements for the school you are interested in.

Not all law degrees are created equal. Pending your career goals, the law school you graduate from could matter significantly. Where do you want to practice law? If you want portability to practice anywhere in the country, for instance, going to a top-tier school is almost a necessity. If you know you’ll be local to Chicago, you may consider some of the lower-ranked schools in the area that have regional name recognition.

There are a number of LSAT courses on the market that vary greatly in price and value. Consider your learning style and budgetary restraints as you consider the best tool for your learning. Whether you choose self-study resources or take an LSAT course, the key is that you prep, period. 

Generally 4-6 months of preparation is advised for the LSAT.This is not a test you should go into blind. Studying/practice exams/course prep does prove effective in improving scores.

  • Take lots of practice tests.
    • Take the first couple practice tests untimed just to get used to question format.
    • Understand your strengths/weaknesses so you know how to best study moving forward.
    • Next, take individual sections under timed conditions; review the wrong answers and focus on studying for weakness areas.
    • Finally, take entire test under timed conditions.
  • LSAC’s SuperPrepbook has 3 tests and explanations of each answer.

Prep Courses

  • Loyola students have reported good experiences with Testmastersand PowerScore.  
  • LSAC has a partnership with Khan Academythat offers some free courses; although this isn’t the only option it’s one to be aware of.
  • LUC Pre-Law Society has a deal for a discount with LSATMax.
  • Consider these prep books.
  • Be cautious about choosing a high-investment course unless you are very familiar with its reputability.

Popular vendors and courses are listed at luc.edu/prelaw.   

About 4-6 months. For a traditional student planning to enter law school in the fall immediately after graduating, this usually means preparing the spring of your junior year. This is good to keep in mind as you consider your academic course planning (i.e. having Junior Spring as a lighter academic course load is recommended).

Tons of info is available at LSAC website – this is the org that administers the test. Be sure to review their information.

  • There is no limit on the # of times you can take the LSAT, but it’s best to only take it one time. Law schools receive scores for every time you take it.
  • It is build to assess a standard measure of acquired reading and reasoning skills
  • Format:
    • 5 hours
    • 5 multiple choice sections
    • 1 writing sample (which is unscored but is sent to schools with your CAS file)
  • Scores range from 120-180. Average is 150.
    • There is no penalty for guessing.
    • Average # correct is 58% so don’t get discouraged if you get a lot wrong especially while practicing.
  • Sections
    • Logical reasoning (2)
      • Short, argumentative passages and 1 question about each passage.
      • 25 questions per section
    • Reading comprehension (1)
      • What is the author stating?
      • What else might the author agree with?
      • What topic is central to the passage?
    • Analytical reasoning (1)
      • Logic games
      • 130 words that describe a scenario and a set of rules that apply
      • Could be true, can’t be true, must be true
    • Writing: You’re making an argument for or against something; should be written in a straightforward, business-like manner

It varies depending on the school’s applicant pool and rankings, but typically a 3.5 or higher is what you want to aim for. GPA does matter in the admissions process, so don’t ignore your grades under the guise of becoming a well-rounded student. GPA and LSAT score need to be solid and you need to demonstrate relevant experience and skills.

It isn’t expected by admissions committees that you know the exact type of law you’re interested in. Law school helps you determine that. For now, consider ways you can build relevant experience to test those theories.

LSAC has some great resources on various paths within the legal profession. In particular, we recommend reviewing LSAC’s Discover Law resources.    

The short answer is yes; the long answer is that law school is a big financial investment no matter what financial aid package or scholarships you receive, and we strongly recommend you have a clear sense of your financial realities before incurring additional debts. Resources:

Yes, that program does exist. But keep a few things in mind:

  • You have to complete your degree requirements earlier (by end of your junior year)
  • You have to take the LSAT a year earlier, which, on an accelerated timeline for your bachelor’s degree, can be tricky
  • Acceptance into the 3+3 program is competitive, and you may be strong candidate for other great schools. Choose Loyola Law because it’s the right law school for you and your career goals, not because of the 3+3 program

More info on the accelerated admission program is at luc.edu/prelaw

Law schools usually require 2-3 letters of recommendation. Faculty members are typically the best contributors of such letters. Supervisors from related internship or work experience are also good references. Consider the following advice as you request letters of recommendation:  

  • Allow appropriate time for the request; at minimum allow two weeks to complete the task. Set an earlier deadline for your letter writer than the actual deadline that is provided for the application.  
  • Choose people who can speak to your academic potential and performance as well as your personal attributes.  
  • Compile details about yourself for your references to give them specifics to refer to in their letters, such as your major and cumulative GPA, LSAT score, resume, personal statement, and a brief description of your subjective abilities or personal traits.  
  • Review LSAC’s Credential Assembly Service guide on letters of recommendation and follow their tips for submission, including waiving your rights to review the letters. Provide detailed information to your writers about how they can submit their letters of recommendation to CAS. 

Consider the following recommendations as you develop your personal statements: 

  1. Emphasize those things that will distinguish you from other candidates (e.g., significant employment, travel abroad, research projects, presentations, and/or publications).  
  2. Do not emphasize shortcomings in your record in the personal statement. If you want to explain a low GPA or LSAT score, do so in a separate addendum, where you should be brief, factual, and honest. 
  3. Write in a direct, concrete fashion about real experiences, events, people and how they impacted you.  
  4. Speak to one particular topic or theme in each paragraph; use separate paragraphs to signify transition from one topic to the next. Be clear, organized and reader friendly. 
  5. Limit yourself to around two double-spaced pages.  
  6. Have a Pre-Law advisor or another trusted advisor review your personal statement. 
  7. Do not replicate information that is available elsewhere in your application. Use the personal statement to tell the committee something they wouldn’t otherwise know about you.

Personal statement prompts often fall into a few categories:

  • Why I want to go to law school – this needs to be more specific than “I’ve wanted to be a lawyer since I was a kid”
  • Diversity statement – what is your experience/interaction with diversity. How did you contribute, reach out, impact or engage with diversity?
  • Hardship statement – an opportunity to explain a drop in academic performance
  • Character & fitness evaluation – an opportunity to explain any legal offenses you’ve been involved with

Consider reading Princeton Review’s Law School Essays that Made a Difference 

Gap years are common, and they can actually strengthen your application.

  • Use your gap years wisely to build related experience.
  • You can ask law school admissions office the percentage of their applicants that take a gap year or more than a gap year – some prefer candidates with experience after undergrad (e.g. Northwestern Law, 80% have taken at least 1 year to build experience post-undergrad)
  • Other factors to consider include undergraduate loans, how much experience you’ve built in undergrad, your understanding of the field/profession and degree of certainty that law school is right for you.