There is no current major or group of courses required to prepare you for law school. However, according to the American Bar Association, there are important skills, knowledge, values and experiences that can lay a solid foundation for law school. Consider courses and activities that provide an introduction to, or training in,:
- Problem Solving
- Critical Reading
- Writing and Editing
- Oral Communication and Listening
- Organization and Management
- Public Service and Promotion of Justice
- Relationship-building and Colaboration
- Background Knowledge
- Exposure to the Law
Since admissions decisions are determined based upon the first six (or, perhaps seven) undergraduate semesters, you should be serious about your academic performance from the very beginning of your college career. Your GPA and LSAT score are the two most important factors that determine your chances of admission to law school. The personal statement, letters of recommendation and your involvement in the Williams community can enhance your law school application, but little else can substitute for a strong academic record. Above all, avoid transcript irregularities: failed or incomplete courses, too many pass/fail grades, etc., which can be obstacles in the demanding competition for law school acceptance.
You should be aware that law schools want strong positive recommendations from those people who are familiar with your work. You should make a point of getting to know a few faculty members, both in and out of the classroom. Law schools are very definite in stating that recommendations should come from those who can judge your academic ability, i.e., your professors, and you should bear this in mind from the start of your Williams career.
It is very hard to estimate how much weight a student’s extracurricular interests have in the admissions decision. The better law schools, which must choose among many academically fit applicants, often look further into a student’s background for evidence of experiences that round out his or her character. Special activities and athletic pursuits, clubs, hobbies, and part-time volunteer work become the supportive factors in the student’s admission profile. You will have the opportunity to note your extracurricular efforts on the application forms.