Junior year at Cornell can be an exciting time. You're more than half-way done with college, and it's now time to really buckle down on making plans for life after Cornell.
You don't have to commit to going to law school yet, but you do need to move more towards making a decision. Part of your work this year is to get started on the law school selection and law school admissions process.
Make sure you are spending time with faculty or staff pre-law advisor early in the year to get started on these important tasks:
- Check your GPA at the start of the year and keep a close eye on it. You should be maintaining a solid GPA or continuously making improvements. It's really easy to have your GPA drop dramatically by not going to class or doing what you need to do academically, but it's not as easy to have it go the other way at this point in your Cornell career.
- Talk to your academic advisor as well as a faculty pre-law advisor about your last two years at Cornell. Make sure you are making progress on completing all degree requirements, and that you continue to take classes that advance your logical reasoning, analytical thinking, reading comprehension, and writing skills.
- Start learning about law schools that may be of interest to you. Make an appointment with RJ during first block to talk about the diversity of law schools across the country. There are nearly 200 American Bar Association (ABA) approved law schools to choose from, and you don't have to narrow them down on your own.
- You also want to plan on attending the annual LSAC Law School Forum in Chicago. LSAC is the Law School Admission Council and they sponsor Law School Forums across the country in addition to coordinating the LSAT (Law School Admission Test) and LSCAS (Law School Credential Assembly Service). The Program for Law and Society sponsors a trip to the forum each year and you will need to sign up early to ensure a spot on the trip. The Forum is a great way to visit with the nearly 150 law schools who participate, learn about the admission process, financial aid options, and more.
- Start preparing for the LSAT. The LSAT is a standardized measure used by law schools to assess a candidate's level of preparedness for law school. Learn about the LSAT online and read the information thoroughly so you understand all phases of the application process. The LSAT is offered four times each year--October, December, February, and June. Cornell pre-law students are encouraged to take the June LSAT which is immediately following their junior year at the College. Doing so will help give you more time to focus your efforts on law school applications early in the fall semester of senior year.
- Consider participating in the on-campus LSAT Prep Course. The course includes all textbooks, three actual LSAT practice examinations, and workshop sessions throughout the spring semester.
- Register for the LSAT and the LSCAS.You will need to use your LSAC account that you created when you registered for the Law Forum to sign-up for the LSAT and LSCAS. The LSCAS is a central depository for law school applicants and that is where the majority of your law school application materials will be submitted when it's time to apply.
- Continue cultivating relationships with faculty members. If you haven't started this yet, now is the time to do so. The better a faculty member knows you, the better their letter of recommendation can be when it's time to ask for one.
- Complete an internship, off-campus study, or research experience by the end of the summer following junior year. Any one of these experiences can be beneficial in helping you decide if law school is right for you, helps you broaden your life perspectives, and may be a good foundation for your personal statement.
- Have more intentional conversations with members of the Cornell College Law Network about what it's really like to be a lawyer and what law school was like for them. Remember, you've got about a year left in college so you'll want to take advantage of your resources to decide if a legal career is something you want to pursue after graduation.
- Meet with a faculty or staff pre-law advisor before you leave for the summer to talk about your plans for law school. Many law schools will start reviewing applications for admission shortly after the Thanksgiving holiday. You will want to plan ahead and make sure all of your bases are covered (including the start of your personal statement) to have your applications submitted to LSCAS by Thanksgiving.