Center for High Achievement & Scholarly Engagement
Pre-Graduate and Pre-Professional Advising

Self-Assessment Tables for Pre-Law Students

(Open printable version of the Self-Assessment.)

To be a successful pre-law student, law student, and lawyer, there are certain activities that are essential, or at the very least beneficial. Below is a self-assessment guide that you should use as a periodic tool to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses with regards to a legal career.  Score yourself on a scale of 1-5 with the lowest score, 1, indicating that you lack preparation, knowledge, skills, or have not participated in relevant activities, and the highest score, 5, meaning that you have attained the relevant knowledge, skills, or participated in the indicated activities.

Academics

Law school admission committees are looking for proof that you think critically, write analytically, and in general will be successful at their school.  They will use your GPA, LSAT scores, and letters of recommendation to judge whether or not you have these required skills. Your cumulative GPA is important, but it is as important that you take challenging courses.  Finally, do not underestimate the value of strong letters of recommendation.  You should develop professional relationships with at least three of your professors so that they will be able to write you compelling letters.   

Criteria Score Activities & Strengths Ways to Improve
Course selection      
Working with your primary academic advisor      
Working with your pre-law advisor      
Meeting with professors at office hours      
Cumulative GPA      
Practice LSATs      

Co- and Extra-Curricular Activities

You want to make the most of your undergraduate career, and that means being involved.  However, an overly full schedule of activities cannot replace good grades and an indication that you chose your activities wisely.  Choose activities that will help you grow as a person, intellectually and personally.  Here is your chance to explore different avenues.  A well-rounded individual, who has engaged in various experiences and spent time with lots of different people, will be able to work and empathize with people in a variety of situations.  When working with clients, it is important to connect with them on a personal level.  Beyond the personal satisfaction you will derive from your extracurricular activities, they will also provide you with the means to build bridges with likeminded individuals as well as to those with whom you previously had little in common.

Criteria Score Activities & Strengths Ways to Improve
Involvement in organizations on campus      
Leadership roles on campus      
Involvement in organizations off campus      
Leadership roles off campus      

Law-Specific Activities

Before embarking on a legal career, it is a good idea to know what it entails.  Law school and the life of a lawyer are often very different than they appear.  The best way to find out more about different potential careers is to be involved with pre-law activities on campus and talk with practicing lawyers or others who have used their legal training.

Criteria Score Activities & Strengths Ways to Improve
Participation in pre-law activities on campus      
Meeting with pre-law advisor      
Job Shadowing      
Internships      
Mentorships      
Exploration of different legal professions      
Discussion with advisors, professors, and legal
professionals about your career  choice
     
Reflection on your motivations to go to law school      
 


Service and Work Experiences

Look for volunteer and work opportunities related to the law.  If you think you want to work for the government or a political party, look for positions in state and local government offices or with a campaign.  Perhaps you want to work for a non-profit agency or in sports law.  Whatever you think you may want to do, work or volunteer in a similar office so that you can gain relevant experience and figure out if you like that kind of work on a day to day basis. 

Criteria Score Activities & Strengths Ways to Improve
Volunteer experiences on campus      
Volunteer experiences off campus      
Work experiences on campus      
Work experiences off campus      

Communication and Work Skills

Law school and working in a law-related position will require a great deal of self-motivated work.  You will read a lot!  But you will also need to be able to work collaboratively or independently to solve problems, as well as serve as your clients' advocate.  The skills involved in the above situations are not easily gained through one specific activity.  They are abilities that develop over time through a variety of experiences.  Many of them can be improved by engaging in service and volunteer activities. If you sense the need to work on any of them and are not sure what to do, consult with your advisors, friends, and family to discover new opportunities for growth.

 


Criteria Score Activities & Strengths Ways to Improve
Ability to present yourself in person      
Ability to present yourself in writing      
Ease of communicating with people different from yourself      
Ability to work alone & collaboratively      
Proactiveness      
Time management skills      
Interest in local, national, & international events      

Law School Applications

Of course, to succeed at law school you first need to get in.  Do not underestimate the time it will take to prepare for the LSAT and complete your application.  Your pre-law advisor is here to help guide you through the process, but it is up to you to stay on track.

Criteria Score Activities & Strengths Ways to Improve
Have prepared for the LSAT      
Have registered with LSDAS      
Have chosen recommendation letter writers      
Have researched & chosen  schools      
Have completed personal statement      
Have chosen method of application, such as
early decision, early action, etc...