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What should I do during my high school years to help me get into law school?

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As soon as I graduate my dream has always been to go into law. More specifically, to become an immigration lawyer. To go more in depth of what I'm asking is what activities or certain things will look in my resume when applying to a university? #law #lawyer #graduate-school #law-school #law-practice

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John’s Answer

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Michelle, even before you start looking into colleges, there are a number of steps you can do in high school that will improve your college admissions chances and prepare you for your college classes.

EIGHT STEPS TO HELP YOUR COLLEGE ADMISSION APPLICATION STAND OUT

Colleges are looking for students who have not only done well but who have also challenged themselves, as they are more likely to succeed in college-level courses. College Admissions officers also take into account the level of rigor available at a your school.

STEP 1.) ADVANCED PLACEMENT CLASSES – College is difficult, and law school is even harder. Taking challenging courses in high school will help prepare you for the demands of maintaining a high GPA as an undergraduate, which is one of the most important factors for maximizing your chances for acceptance on your your college admissions application.

STEP 2.) IMPROVE YOUR SKILLS – Communicating skillfully and clearly is important, both in applying to and succeeding in law school. Even in high school, you can start practicing these skills. Sign up for your school's speech and debate team or try out for a play to start practicing your public speaking. Take writing-heavy courses, such as challenging English and history classes, to improve your writing. If your high school has the option of writing a senior thesis or presenting a capstone project, this can help you work on communication skills as well as learning good research techniques, another important skill for undergraduates and law school.

STEP 3.) EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES – Admissions officers want to admit students that care about more than just themselves, demonstrating an interest in a cause or movement is a great way to show you care about others. Performing in the orchestra while also playing on the tennis team indicates that you are well-rounded and can juggle multiple responsibilities. Colleges have more reason to consider you when you are a dynamic student with an array of interests. Join the debate team become president of the chess club. Maintaining a difficult course load as well as being involved can show time management skills and dependability, all key elements in how to get accepted into college.

STEP 4.) LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATIONS – Admissions officers use letters of recommendation to learn about how other people view the student," says Santos. An impressive letter of recommendation can help remedy any uncertainties an admissions officer may have such as a low ACT or SAT score. Build relationships with the advisers and organization leaders that head up programs with which you're involved. These relationships will help them provide a comprehensive view of your strengths and abilities in their letters. It's also important to ask the right teachers to be your reference, since many applications will require teacher recommendations.

STEP 5.) WRITE A UNIQUE ADMISSIONS LETTER – Finally, make sure you show who you are in your admissions essay. Unique topics that offer an interesting perspective are more appealing to admissions officers and can help you stand out from students who offer lists of accomplishments. The college admissions process is competitive, admissions officers are faced with stacks of candidate applications to sort through, so it can be an advantage to take steps to make your application stand out. Don't forget to address specific questions asked on your application, and proofread your essay for proper grammar and usage.

STEP 6.) MANAGE YOUR ONLINE PRESENCE – Your online personas are really a wild card in the admissions process: the bottom line for you is what you post online likely won’t GET YOU INTO COLLEGE, but it just might KEEP YOU OUT. Checking up on applicants' social media profiles is becoming routine for many admissions offices around the country. Recruiters say social media helps them gain a more comprehensive picture of a candidate than a college application. Depending on how they view what they find, an applicant's web presence can make or break an offer.

STEP 7.) START STUDYING FOR YOUR SAT NOW – The SAT is a test that can make or break your college entrance. You can't just rely on your high school knowledge, no matter how vast it may be. It takes some time to prepare! Think months, not days. So, plan ahead; score happy. Before you start to study for the SAT, buy an SAT book, flip to the back, and take an SAT practice test cold. See exactly the kind of score you'd get with no study time at all. The score you get is your baseline score. From there, you'll know exactly where you need to improve.

STEP 8.) APPLY EARLY – Pick three dream schools. More than 94% of freshmen are enrolled at one of their top three choices. So, if you pick three dream schools instead of your one-and-only dream campus, you will be more likely to get into at least one. Apply to your family’s alma mater(s). If your parents or grandparents attended a school, the legacy advantage can be the equivalent of getting an additional 50 points on the SAT.

FOUR STEPS TO BECOMING A LAWER

STEP 1.) BACHELOR'S DEGREE – Although the American Bar Association doesn't designate a particular path of study for prospective law students, some colleges and universities have pre-law programs that can supplement majors in political science, history or related fields. Students in these programs fulfill the requirements for their majors, as well as additional courses in constitutional law, legal research and related classes. Students wishing to specialize in a field like taxation may consider gaining undergraduate experience in accounting through a major, internship or employment. Students in these majors generally have numerous writing assignments and research projects which can prepare them to read legal briefs. Assignments may range from covering theoretical concepts in political science to making arguments in moot court, a seminar-like activity allowing students to play various roles in a trial.

STEP 2.) LAW SCHOOL ADMISSIONS TEST – In order to enter law school, applicants must take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) as undergraduates. Students then submit college transcripts, LSAT scores and completed applications. After reviewing applications, law schools notify candidates whether they are accepted or not.

STEP 3.) JURIS DOCTORATE (JD) DEGREE – Law school generally lasts three years and culminates with you receiving your JD degree. Programs begin by covering fundamental topics in civil procedure and constitutional law. This may be done through case-study and precedent analysis, which is when you read over previous cases in order to understand the arguments made by both sides and the final decision rendered. Once core requirements are complete, in your second and third years you'll take electives, such as bankruptcy or family law. These opportunities allow law students to help prepare cases, revise arguments and gain better understandings of day-to-day practices in law offices or courts.

STEP 4.) THE BAR EXAME – In order to practice law, attorneys must be licensed. Although some states practice reciprocity, allowing lawyers who have passed another state's bar to practice within their borders, each state has its own respective licensing exam. Additionally, some states may require graduates to take the Multi-state Performance Test, the Multi-state Professional Responsibility Examination, a local state bar exam or all three exams.

Michelle, law school can be the most challenging and rewarding years of your life. However, admissions can be a difficult and stressful experience. Start your preparation early and you will improve your chances of attending the law school of your dreams.

Hope this was Helpful Michelle

John recommends the following next steps:

  • Meet College Application Deadlines, Beat the Rush by Submitting Yours Early!
  • Complete the Entire Application, Include Your Extracurricular Activities
  • Write a Stellar Essay: Be Creative; Avoid the Fluffy Stuff
  • Don't Forget: Your High School Transcripts; SAT and ACT test scores
  • Get Awesome Letters of Recommendations
You are welcome Michelle, It was my pleasure. Build your own dreams, or someone else will hire you to build theirs. John Frick Translate
Thank You Lais. “Even if it’s a little thing, do something for those who have need of a man’s help– something for which you get no pay but the privilege of doing it. For, remember, you don’t live in a world all your own. Your brothers are here, too.” – Albert Schweitzer John Frick Translate
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Julia’s Answer

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Glad to hear you are interested in immigration law! I didn't figure out my interest in immigration law until I was already in law school. By knowing early what you want to do, you have a big advantage because you are able to demonstrate interest. In every legal job interview, the candidate typically says "I am so interested in [X field of law practiced by the organization]." Most employers don't believe that, because it often isn't true. But if you have demonstrated interest in immigration over the course of many years, it will be very clear from your activities, jobs, and classes.

To explore immigration and demonstrate your interest, you could try informational interviews, internships, volunteer work, or jobs in all of the many areas of immigration. This includes employment-based immigration, family-based, asylum, and more. These sub-areas are all practiced in big firms, small firms, government, non profits, and academia.

As you explore and figure out what you like and don't like, you might find that you don't like immigration law as much as you thought you would. This is good information to know. It could be that another area of immigration is a better fit, or it could be that your ideas of what it is like to be an immigration lawyer weren't realistic, or that you didn't know yourself as well as you thought. Gather as much information as you can, and pick another opportunity to try something different.

Good luck!
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Georgina’s Answer

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If your school offers it I strongly suggest taking some pre law classes. You can also work with your school to see if they have any volunteer opportunities available with local law offices that specialize in immigration law. If not - you can research law firms with that specialty in your area and see if you can volunteer there. You may find someone at the office that is willing to have a cup of coffee with you and give you some specific insight into how they followed their career path.
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David’s Answer

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My opinion is during high school you may take some law related classes such as political science, sociology, criminal law and etc. if your high school does offer these classes, as well join some law related club or organization such as debating team, mock trail team, and more again if your high school offers these. On top of it you can also volunteer at the law system organization such as law firm, justice system center, and etc. but at the end you still need to go through college, obtain an degree, take the LSAT, apply for a Law school and get in. Main idea is if you are really focusing on doing law school keep all focus on that, if you are just exploring then don't put too much energy in it cause once you are in it is kind of hard to get out of it and may also waste a lot of time.
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Kaitlyn’s Answer

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Hi there! Although I am certainly not an expert on law school, there are many ways to take advantage of high school experiences and offerings to improve your resume and build your skill sets. My #1 recommendation, improve your communication skills! If your school has a Student Council, I'd advise you run for it. Just simply collaborating with others, leading groups, and learning to effectively and efficiently communicate with others will help you so much in your personal and professional development. I was a student council member, and held a position on the executive board, for four years. That experience helped me in SO many ways to develop unique skills that I feel differentiated me from other candidates. Other ways to differentiate yourself include volunteering your time, taking AP courses and dual-enrollment courses, earning good grades, getting great teacher recommendations, doing well on any standardized tests, etc. A strong balance across all these things will help your application to stand out amongst the hundreds of others!
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Georgina’s Answer

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If your school offers it I strongly suggest taking some pre law classes. You can also work with your school to see if they have any volunteer opportunities available with local law offices that specialize in immigration law. If not - you can research law firms with that specialty in your area and see if you can volunteer there. You may find someone at the office that is willing to have a cup of coffee with you and give you some specific insight into how they followed their career path.
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James’s Answer

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Hi Michelle!

I would suggest reaching out to local immigration organizations/firms and asking if you can shadow someone for a day or meet up with an employee for a coffee to have a conversation about what type of work they are doing. You are a ways out from law school but talking with people who work in the field you are interested in is always helpful!

James
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Estelle’s Answer

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Michelle, great question! If your dream is to go into immigration law, one great asset is to be bilingual. If you are already bilingual, then you are ahead of the curve. If not, then this is a great time to develop another language fluency. Also, a degree in humanities or political science is very valuable for law school. Prepare vigorously for the LSAT, and take advantage of the preparatory courses. Your college GPA and LSAT score are of utmost importance in your law school application. Try to get a job as an intern at a local law firm near you during summers off. Good luck!
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