Of all professional programs, the Juris Doctor (J.D.) remains the most flexible and accepting in terms of admission, in part because there are no required courses for admission. In fact, law schools do not favor any major over another; instead, they revel in diversity of everything, from your major, activities, outside interests, and personal history. At Texas A&M, students from every college apply to law school and are successful in both admission and in law school. Therefore, choose the major that suits you, one that you find challenging and engaging, one that prepares you for other career paths.
You do not need to determine exactly which area of law you plan to practice before law school. Instead, learn about the practice of law and whether that is appealing to you. The best piece of advice to follow is to speak with lawyers. Learn about the profession and how individuals came to it and wound up in their niche. Remember, every lawyer went to law school and therefore knows a lot of lawyers in different practice areas. After getting a sense of the profession check out LSAC’s “Your Journey to Law School.”
Where to start?
As you progress through undergraduate studies, take every opportunity to learn more about legal education, law schools, and how schools differ from one another. There are currently 199 law schools accredited by the American Bar Association.
One place to start your search is right on campus! Each year, Texas A&M hosts one of the largest law school fairs in the country (Law School Caravan), with about half of the accredited schools coming to campus to tell you more about their programs. You do not have to be a law school applicant to benefit from attending. Throughout the year, various law school admission deans are guest speakers at student organization meetings, university events, and networking events. Attend every session you can to learn more about legal education.
There are dozens of online “law school rankings” which seek to create a single ranking of law schools that will be appropriate for everyone. These rankings cannot capture elements which are important to you, fit your academic profile, and provide the best setting for YOUR legal education. Instead, these rankings tend to imply that schools in “lower tiers” are not worth attending; however, nothing could be further from the truth. Read rankings with a cautionary eye and develop your own list of potential law schools and read what the Law School Admissions Council has to say about them. Another great resource is the Napla/Sapla Book of Lists. This online book is based on a survey done by prelaw advisors of the U.S. law schools.
How to rank schools
When making your list of law schools, XploreJD.org helps you not restrict yourself by eliminating private schools or schools in other states. Sometimes private school scholarships make them more affordable that an in-state school. Instead, start listing factors which are important to you, whether it is location, size of student body, clinical programs, employment statistics, admissions profiles, and more. Talk to attorneys who attended various schools and learn more about what each school has to offer. Finally, you can visit law schools on your own or with other Aggies. The PreLaw Advisor will announce all trips planned to Texas law schools on the aggie-lawyer listserv. The MSC sponsors the J. Wayne Stark Northeast Trip which tour law and business schools in Chicago, New York, Boston, and Philadelphia in January each year.
Core Skills, Values, Knowledge, and Experience - Aggies in any major are well-prepared to be successful in law school due to the rigor in all majors and the high expectations of your professors. However, the American Bar Association has prepared a statement about Core Skills, Values, Knowledge, and Experience to guide you in preparing for law school and a legal career. These include:
Writing and Editing
Oral Communication and Listening
Organization and Management
Public Service and Promotion of Justice
Relationship-building and Collaboration
Exposure to the Law
You can find the entire prelaw statement in our handouts or on the ABA website. After reading the statement, do a self-analysis on your skills and knowledge levels and make plans to improve them. Doing a self-analysis every semester will ensure that you are ready.
Citizenship - Please note that many of the skills that the law school are looking for are acquired outside the classroom. This is why participating in student activities, service work, internships, and leadership positions is crucial to building a strong case for you being admitted to your top law school.
Testing information - The LSAT is a test composed of 4 multiple-choice sections of 35-minutes each, plus a written essay administered separately. The test covers reading comprehension, logical reasoning, and analytical reasoning (sometimes called logic games). The test is given multiple times a year. Score range from 120 to 180. LSAC offers a range of accommodations, so be sure you check out what may be available to you and how to request accommodations in advance.
The GRE (Graduate Record Examination) is a multiple-choice, computer-based, standardized exam consisting of 3 sections. If possible, take the LSAT or GRE by August the summer before you apply to law school. Confirm the law school(s) you are applying to accept the GRE, before registering to take the test.
Should I take a practice LSAT or GRE? - Absolutely, and it's never too early to take it. You can visit LSAC LawHub to sign up for a free LSAT Prep account and take a free diagnostic test to see the types of questions that are asked. Kaplan offers a free practice GRE online. Magoosh offeres a free GRE trial. The PSA office makes no claims about the efficacy of prep programs, but only provides the names of know providers as a service. After taking the practice exam, you should be able to determine whether you will take a commerical prep course (in-person or on-line), or prepare yourself. Try to take a practice exam before the end of your second year. This should give you sufficient time to decide whether you will do self-prep or take a commercial prep course. Which method to choose is very personal and depends upon your starting score, your goal score, your level of personal responsibility and motivation, and the craziness of your schedule. One size does not fit all!
Once you have a timed practice score, the PreLaw advisor is happy to discuss your prep options and help you sift through that decision.
The PSA office make no claims about the efficacy of various LSAT prep programs, but provide the names of known providers as a service.
Baylor University Law, Waco
St. Mary’s University School of Law, San Antonio
South Texas College of Law, Houston
Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law, Dallas
Texas A&M University School of Law, Fort Worth
Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law, Houston
Texas Tech School of Law, Lubbock
The University of Texas at Austin, Austin
University of Houston Law Center, Houston
UNT Dallas College of Law, Dallas
Law school applications - Applications for law schools general consist of 5 parts:
Fortunately, the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) makes the process simple and streamlined by aggregating all application functions on their website. They have created a “Navigating the Application Process” handout found here. You will register for a free account with LSAC approximately 2 years prior to when you want to apply to law school to take advantage of all the free opportunities available to you, such as: applying for a fee waiver, sign up for LSAC LawHub, create a LSAT study plan, and sign up for LSAC’s Credential Assembly Service (CAS). Following their instructions, you will print a Transcript Request Form for each school you have attended and have the registrar forward an official transcript directly to LSAC. Letters of Recommendation (LORs) are collected and processed at LSAC as well. When you are ready to apply, you will access applications there and submit them electronically.
PSA application workshops - Workshops about the application process and current state of law school admissions are held by the PSA Law School advisor in the spring and summer. Check our Workshops page for dates and registration information.
Financial aid is a great way to help pay for law school. If you are eligible for Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), you are encouraged to apply the October before you plan to start law school. AccessLex has free workshops, a loan calculator, free personal, confidential financial counseling and more. Since most scholarships are given by the individual law school's themselves, we suggest contacting programs directly to find out their requirements and how to get an application.
Click on the links below for more information such as qualifications, deadlines, and how to submit your application for some scholarships you may be eligible for.
You can also search for more outside scholarships through TAMU Scholarships and Financial Aid.
- AccessLex Provides helpful information about paying for law school and about repaying loans before, during and after law school
- Discoverlaw Is an LSAC resource that gives more information on the types of law programs, fields of law, and diversity in law
- LSAC, Law School Admissions Council If you are interested in law school, create a login today and stay up-to-date on everything law-related
- Napla/Sapla Book of Law School Lists is a compilation of survey results done annually by prelaw advisors of U.S. law schools. Includes joint programs, concentration areas, clinics, study abroad and more.
- Pre-Law Magazine