If you are a junior, you should have a pretty good idea about how the rest of your undergraduate should go. You are most likely set on a major that aligns with your interests and working steadily towards graduation. Additionally, if you are considering law school, your junior year is the time when you begin to take large steps towards applying for law schools. In this article, we will discuss what to do during your junior year and the summer immediately after.
Hopefully, by now you have worked hard as a freshman and a sophomore for law school. However, if you are a junior and only recently developed an interest in law, you should start right away to develop the plans you should should have created as a freshman or sophomore. Click here to read what freshman should do to prepare, and click here to read what sophomores should do.
To summarize, here’s a list of things that should be started before your Junior year:
- Choosing what field of law to study
- Choosing what organizations to participate in during law school
- Choosing a major for your bachelors degree
- Choose what professors you would want to develop a relationship with and begin to do so
- Begin with the end in mind
Where your freshman year is focused on plans, your sophomore year should be focused on acting on those plans
- Get good grades in both general classes and your major classes
- Begin working as a TA or RA for a professor
- Join the organizations you chose as a freshman that are designed to help you prepare for law school
First of all, you can almost treat the above lists as a checklist. If you are a junior and missing a few things from the list, begin working on them now. Importantly, your junior year will be focused on 3 things, maintaining and strengthening relationships with professors, studying for the LSAT, and completing an internship.
Maintaining and strengthening relationships with professors
Maintaining a healthy relationship with your professors is important for several reasons. Most importantly, these relationships could lead to lifetime friendships. Additionally, professors often have a strong network with those in their field and could recommend you to several people, introduce you to colleagues and peers, and strengthen your network. Finally, strong relationships are vital for your law school applications. When a professor has time to know you in a work and personal setting, they can easily provide information to the law school that is both personable and unique. Many applicants have a strong resume but are beaten out by those who have strong relationships with professors.
As a junior, you should already have relationships with some professors. This is good, because forming the relationship tends to be more difficult than maintaining one. To maintain these relationships, all you need is to have a strong work ethic and care about the professors work.
You can demonstrate your work ethic by having good grades in your classes, especially the classes within your major and with the professor you are working with.
Many relationships with professors develop when students work as a TA or an RA for the professor. A professor can tell when a student is passionate about their work and the appreciation deepens relationships for the student. Additionally, when a student is passionate about work, the professor has can easily add quality content to a letter of recommendation.
Studying for the LSAT
The other important step in preparing for law school during your junior year is to study for the LSAT. My biggest regret during my undergrad was my lack of preparation for the LSAT. If I could have done it again, I would have used both the fall and winter semester of my junior year to take LSAT classes. Unfortunately, LSAT classes are expensive, but I believe it would have been worth it.
The LSAT is vital for your law school admittance. The 2 biggest things admission boards consider among applicants is the LSAT score and the GPA (note: admission boards still consider all other parts of your application). So, spending a whole school year can really make the difference in getting a strong score.
Resources to prepare for the LSAT
In another article, we focus on the best ways to prepare for the LSAT. However, it would be helpful to create a general list of resources here for your consideration.
- Khan Academy
- Completely free but self-paced. Khan Academy also has several free practice tests using sections of past LSAT exams
- Princeton Review LSAT prep
- Expensive, but has excellent resources for both an on-demand and live prep course. Additionally Princeton is rated as the #1 LSAT test prep course.
- ACE LSAT prep
- Cheaper than Princeton and provides both an on-demand and live version. Does not rate as high as Princeton but has great reviews.
- Refer to your Pre-Law Advisement Center
- Every place seems to have LSAT resources that are more local. The Pre-Law Advisement Center in your college will likely have additional resources closer to home.
I recommend taking a paid course live once per semester during your junior year and supplementing that course with Khan Academy. Develop a practice schedule and stick with it. Your discipline will reap countless benefits if you get a high score.
Completing an internship
An internship is very useful in building your law school resume. You should consult with your pre-law advisement center to look for internship opportunities within the the field of law you are interested in. This will give you experience in the legal field, shape how you feel about being an attorney, and even provide you with course credit. In another article, I discuss the best ways to get an internship.
Summer After Your Junior Year
The summer after your junior year is when you will begin to see your preparation come together. During this time, you should take the LSAT, request letters of recommendation, begin drafting a personal statement, and build your law school resume. You will also want to reevaluate which law schools you would want to attend.
Taking the LSAT
Plan on taking the LSAT twice, once at the beginning and once at the end of summer. You will want to be consistent in obtaining a high score. Hopefully, you will reach a higher score on your second attempt. We’ve prepared other resources all about preparing for the LSAT, when to take the LSAT, and how to manage test day. You can find those resources here.
Requesting letters of recommendation
The summer is one of the best time to request LORs because professors tend to have a little more free time. We have prepared an article about the best way to make these requests. Even if you started developing relationships at the beginning of your junior year, you should have had enough time to solidify relationships by this summer. Additionally, you will want your LORs now before you begin submitting applications in your senior year.
Draft your resume and personal statement
You will also want to begin drafting your personal statement and building your resume this summer. This is so you can be ready to submit your law school applications early.
Evaluate your options
Finally, after you have taken the LSAT for the second time, you will want to reevaluate what law schools you wish to consider. By this time, you will have a set LSAT score and a fairly set GPA. Professors may wish to know what law schools you are considering. And law schools sometimes ask for specific personal statements. Plan now to tailor yourself for your choice law schools.
Here is a summarized list of things that should be done as a junior and throughout the summer after your junior year.
- Solidify your freshman plans. Enact those plans as a sophomore. Continue those activities as a junior.
- During your junior year, maintain relationships with professors.
- During your junior year, find resources and study for the LSAT.
- Last thing to do during your junior year would be to complete an internship.
- After your junior year, take the LSAT at the beginning and end of the summer.
- After your junior year, request letters of recommendation.
- Draft your resume and personal statement.
- Finally, reevaluate which law schools you would want to attend.