Loyola University Chicago

Pre-Law Advising

Career Services

Pre-Law FAQs

You do not need to make a formal declaration anywhere; pre-law is a self-directed path, and advisors are here to support you. Consider updating your career interests to receive the Law, Policy & Government Career Community Updates and/or the Applying to Law School Newsletter for the latest happenings.

You do not need a legal internship to be a strong candidate for law school! In fact, law schools do not expect to see that on your resume. Most legal internships are reserved for current law students, rather than undergraduates. Instead of a "legal internship," consider alternate ways of engaging with your community and building your experience. Schedule an advising appointment for help identifying and applying for opportunities!

There is no "pre-law major," so you do not have to declare a "pre-law major/minor" at any time in your undergraduate career at Loyola. Additionally, there is no required or recommended undergraduate major for students planning to attend law school, nor do law schools prefer one major over another. It is in students' best interest to choose a major they will excel in and enjoy, and that will help them build skills necessary to succeed in law school. 

There is not a set of prerequisite courses for law school. Instead, we recommend a skills-based approach to choosing courses; elect to take courses that will help you develop skills in critical analysis, writing and speaking, persuasion, negotiation, advocacy, and/or counseling. You may also consider taking a few content-based courses that cover legal topics. You are also not expected to be a law expert when you enter law school; admissions offices want to see that you have the skills to succeed as a law student and eventually as a lawyer. You do not need to take every class with "legal" or "law" in the title. 

For a traditional student planning to enter law school the fall immediately after graduating, we recommend taking the LSAT in the late spring of your junior year OR early fall of senior year. Applications for law school would happen in the fall of your senior year. 

The average LSAT score is between 150 and 160. Most of the top law schools require an LSAT score well above 160; schools will have a range of LSAT averages. We recommend reviewing average GPA and LSAT scores for programs of interest by visiting the LSAC Guide to ABA-Approved Law Schools or 7sage's Law School Admissions Predictor.

Not all law degrees are created equal. Depending on your career goals, the law school you graduate from could matter significantly. It is important to research the specialties that you are interested in and understand the current labor market and salary range in those specialties, as well as where, geographically, you want to practice. For example, if you know you want to stay in Chicago, you may consider lower-ranked schools that have regional name recognition.

There are many LSAT courses on the market that vary in price and value. Consider your learning style and budgetary restraints as you consider the best tool(s) for your learning. Exercise caution if investing in a high-cost course unless you are familiar with its reputability. Whether you choose a self-study or take an LSAT prep course, the key is that you prep, period. 

Generally, 4-6 months of preparation is advised ahead of the LSAT. This is not a test you can take and succeed at without studying. Studying, practice exams, prep courses, or some combination thereof does prove to be effective in improving scores. If you plan to begin law school the fall after you earn your undergraduate degree, you should begin preparing to take the LSAT in the spring of your junior year; this is good to keep in mind when course planning. Think of your LSAT study as a class on its own and structure your schedule accordingly. 

The LSAC is your best resource for all things LSAT. Here is some information that is of note:

  • You can take the test five times within the current reportable score period (5 years) and a total of seven times over a lifetime. It is best to take the test only once, since law schools will receive every score you earn.
  • You may take the LSAT either in-person at a testing center or remotely.
  • The LSAT is designed to assess how you think, rather than content that you know. The test measures your reading, writing, and reasoning skills.
    • Starting with the August 2024 LSAT, the composition of the test will change. Please review the information on the LSAC's website.
  • The test is formatted into three multiple choice sections and one unscored writing section. The writing section can be taken up to eight days in advance of the multiple choice test date.
    • Starting in August 2024, the multiple-choice portion of the exam will include: two Logical Reasoning (LR) sections and one Reading Comprehension (RC) section, plus one unscored section of either LR or RC that enables LSAC to test questions for future versions of the LSAT.
  • The LSAT is comprised of four 35-minute test sections with a ten-minute intermission between the second and third sections. The multiple choice test takes approximately 3 hours for standard test-takers.
  • LSAT scores range from 120-180. The average is about 152.

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 is very important in the admissions process, along with your LSAT score.

Law schools do not expect you to decide a specialty before admission. They are there to help you determine that. For now, we encourage you to consider alternate ways of testing your interests.

Yes, there is; however, law school is likely to be a large financial investment regardless of scholarships and financial aid you receive. AccessLex has many free webinars and resources, including free financial counseling, that may be of use. 

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

  • You have to complete your degree requirements earlier (by the end of 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 a 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.

Law schools usually require 2-3 letters of recommendation. Faculty are typically the best writers, as well as supervisors from related jobs/internships. Consider the following as you request letters of recommendation:

  • Allow appropriate time for the request; at minimum two weeks. Set an earlier deadline for your letter writers than the actual deadline. Review info on the Credential Assembly Service (CAS) to learn more about the process of sending letters to your law schools.
  • Choose letter writers who can speak to yoru academic potential and performance as well as your personal traits that make you a good fit for the legal field. 
  • Compile details about yourself to give to your references, such as major and cumulative GPA, LSAT score, resume, personal statement, and/or a brief description fo your subjective abilities or personal traits.

Here are some factors to consider as you craft a personal statement:

  • Emphasize the things that will distinguish you from other candidates (e.g. significant employment, travel, research, presentations, and/or publications).
  • Do not emphasize shortcomings in your record in the personal statement. If you want to explain a lower GPA or LSAT score, there are supplemental addendum where you can share briefly, factually, and honestly. 
  • Write in a direct, concrete fashion about the real experiences, events, people and how they impacted you.
  • Speak to one particular topic or theme in each paragraph, using separate paragraphs to signify transition from one topic to the next. Be clear, organized, and reader-friendly.
  • Limit yourself to around two double-spaced pages.
  • Have an advisor in Career Services or another trusted advisor review your personal statement.
  • Do not replicate information that is available elsewhere in your application. The statement should be used to answer the question, "What do I want Dean X to at Law School to know about me that isn't anywhere else?"
  • Prompts for personal statements usually are categorized into the "why" for law school, optional diversity statements or hardship statements, as well as a character & fitness evaluation. 

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

Gap years are becoming more and more common (about 2/3 of applicants nationwide have at least 1 gap year) and the average age of a law student is around 26. Generally, we recommend using gap year(s) to clarify areas of interest, build related experience, and to build professional networks. 

Take lots of practice tests, with the first couple untimed just to get used to the test's format. Work to understand your strengths/weaknesses so you know how to best study moving forward. Then, take individual sections under timed sections and review any wrong answers and focus on studying for weakness areas. Then, take the entire test under timed conditions.  

Popular vendors for LSAT prep include Testmasters, Powerscore, and 7sageAccessLex's MAX Pre Law is another free resource for aspiring law students. The LSAC also has free test prep through LawHub, as well as a paid version of LawHub for additional access to test prep. LSAC also lists certified vendors and test prep books on their website.

This is a big and complex decision to make. Factors worth considering as you decide may include:

  • Your career goals - do you need a J.D. to do the work you want to do?
  • Your financial status - what is your financial position?
  • Your desire to continue in school for another three years - are you prepared to commit to additional schooling that will be very different from your undergraduate experience?
  • The current legal market - how is the legal field growing and changing?