Below are a variety of answers to many of our most frequently asked questions. Please click to expand each section and review. Additionally, there is much more information on the law school application process, internship opportunities, and more available to Georgia Tech students through our Pre-Law Information Portal.
Questions about the LST Program
What is the difference between the LST Minor, the Pre-Law Certificate, and the IP Certificate?
- All three of these programs include courses taught by practicing attorneys. The LST Minor and Pre-Law Certificate both seek to help you determine if law school is the right choice for you and to prepare you for skills you will need in law school. The curriculum for the LST Minor and the Pre-Law Certificate is the same, however the Minor requires one more three credit hour course than the Certificate. The Minor will also appear on your transcript after you graduate, whereas the Certificate is issued by the School of Public Policy and will not appear on your transcript (but can be listed on your resume going forward). The IP Certificate is intended for students with a specific interest in patent law and may be a good choice for students who know they would like to pursue a career as a patent lawyer, patent agent, or who may not want to pursue a career in law, but would like to learn more about intellectual property issues. The IP Certificate is issued by the School of Public Policy and does not appear on your transcript.
How do I sign up for the LST / Pre-Law Newsletter?
- Please send Co-Director McNeil an e-mail with “Newsletter Subscription Request” in the subject line, and the e-mail address you would like to be subscribed in the body of the e-mail.
What courses count toward the LST Minor, the Pre-Law Certificate, and the IP Certificate?
- Please see our Minor and Certificates page
How do I declare the Minor or apply for a Certificate?
- To declare the Minor, you must initiate a DocuSign “Undergraduate Change of Minor” form, available from the Georgia Tech Registrar’s Office. You need to discuss with your major advisor first and get their signature, and then forward to Co-Director McNeil for his signature. Please declare the Minor as soon as you decide you wish to pursue it, as it will help you and your advisors track your progress in DegreeWorks.
- Certificates are not declared, though you should certainly discuss your intentions with your major advisor and Co-Director McNeil. To receive a Certificate, early in the semester of your graduation, please send Co-Director McNeil an email with the courses you have taken toward the Certificate, and a forwarding address where we can mail you the Certificate after graduation. You must petition for the Certificate BEFORE graduation, as Certificates cannot be awarded retroactively.
I can’t get into the course I want/need for my LST Minor, Pre-Law Certificate, or IP Certificate. What do I do?
- Please contact the instructor listed in OSCAR for your course. Co-Director McNeil is unable to issue permits/overloads unless he is listed as an instructor on a course. Keep in mind courses approved to count for the LST Minor or one of our Certificate programs are still sometimes subject to major restrictions or other restrictions imposed by the School offering them. Being declared as a Minor or Certificate student does not guarantee you will receive a seat in a course.
Do I need to declare the Minor in order to take LST classes?
- You do not have to declare the LST Minor to take courses that count towards the Minor. However, please keep in mind that other registration restrictions may apply to courses that are imposed by the School offering the course. Within the School of Public Policy, courses and electives are often restricted to PUBP Majors and LST Minors (for courses taught by LST Faculty) during phase I registration. PUBP 3610 - Pre-Law Seminar and PUBP 3000 - US Constitutional Issues are not major or minor restricted and are good first courses to try out the LST Program
How do I make a pre-law advising appointment? Why can’t I see any available appointments in Advisor Link?
- Pre-Law Advising is provided for all students at Tech, regardless of major, by the Law, Science, and Technology Program. All pre-law advising appointments should be booked using Advisor Link. Search for pre-law advising in Advisor Link to make an appointment. If you do not see available times, be sure you are going forward in time enough to find an appointment. Appointments book well in advance, particularly during the fall application season. You may not be able to get an appointment for a couple of weeks during busy times, so please plan ahead. If you truly see nothing available in Advisor Link, and you have looked ahead at least two weeks or more, it may be that your class schedule conflicts with the available times, therefore they are not showing in Advisor Link. In this case, you may e-mail Co-Director McNeil with a handful of half hour time slots that would work for you to meet in the next two weeks, and he will get back to you to schedule an appointment.
Planning for and Applying to Law School
What should I be doing to get ready for law school? When should I…(study for the LSAT/take the LSAT/apply to law schools/etc.)?
- Please see our page, “So You Think You Want to Go to Law School…”
What about internships with law firms? Do I need one? How do I get one?
- While internships in the legal field can be limited, we have identified a number of opportunities for undergraduates that are available in our Pre-Law Information Portal's Internship Database. Law schools do not expect that undergraduates will have interned with a lawyer or law firm. Most law firms and legal offices seek to hire law students with concentrated legal training and the possibility of working for them as a lawyer after their internship. You can, however, do other things to prepare. Consider asking to shadow an attorney for a few days during a semester break, attend court hearings that are open to the public, and ask attorneys to an informational coffee to talk about their career path. Also, take internships in the industry that you may see as a future client. For example, if you’re interested in health law, try to intern with a health-related organization. Take this time to learn a future client’s business from the inside in a way a lawyer without that experience might not.
Which major should I choose? What courses should I take?
- Choose a major you enjoy and that challenges you. Law schools do not give preference to any major over another. They recognize that good lawyers can come from a variety of different backgrounds. If you enjoy the major, you are more likely to excel, contributing to the high GPAs that law schools seek in candidates. Regardless of your major, make sure you do take courses that hone your writing and communication skills, along with your analytic and logical reasoning skills. If you feel you aren’t getting enough of this training in your major, you may want to add the LST Minor or Pre-Law Certificate.
How do law schools view my GPA?
- GPA and LSAT scores are two of the most highly weighted factors, though not the only factors, law schools consider in making their admissions decisions. Law schools are looking for students who have excelled as undergraduates, regardless of their undergraduate major or school. You should be realistic about your GPA (and your LSAT score) and how well it positions you for law school admission. Be sure you are looking at trusted sources when evaluating these metrics, like the LSAC’s UGPA/LSAT calculator tool , and not third party and discussion sites that rely on students to self-report their GPAs and scores. That said, please keep in mind that when law schools report the average GPA of their incoming classes, that is typically a median, meaning half the students they admitted fell below that GPA. Schools certainly may choose to factor in the rigor of your undergraduate program when evaluating your candidacy.
Whom should I ask to write letters of recommendation for me?
- If you’re going to law school straight from Georgia Tech, most of your recommenders will likely be professors. Ask professors who know your work and capabilities well, and who seem enthusiastic about writing a strong letter of recommendation for you. Cultivate these relationships early and long before you need to ask for a letter. Go to office hours, see if there are research assistance opportunities, and talk about your interest in law with professors whose classes you enjoy. If you have had supervisors for internships or other work, or other GT faculty or staff members who have gotten to know you well through other activities/campus involvement, consider them, too. Do NOT ask elected officials, prominent family friends, etc. to write letters for you unless you worked for them and they can speak to you and your capabilities in their personal capacity of working directly with you. You can find much more information about letters of recommendation in the Letters of Recommendation Resource Guide available on our Pre-Law Information Portal.
What’s the best way to prep for the LSAT?
- What works for one student in LSAT prep may be very different than what works for another. You know yourself and your study habits better than anyone else, and you need to be honest with yourself about what you need to do. If you are very self-motivated, a self-study course online, or prep books/materials may work for you. If you know you need the accountability of a course with an instructor, or you prefer more personalized guidance, you may want to invest in a live/synchronous online prep course. The LST program does not endorse any test prep method or company over another, but please be aware the LSAC has partnered with Kahn Academy to offer a full online self-study course for LSAT prep that is free to anyone to take. You may want to start with that course, and see if it works for you. No matter how you prep, it is highly advisable to take multiple practice tests under timed test conditions. These practice tests are available from the LSAC and are actual past LSATs. You can find much more information about LSAT preparation options in the LSAT Resource Guide available on our Pre-Law Information Portal.
What constitutes a good personal statement?
- There’s no silver bullet to writing a personal statement. If there were, no one would struggle with it! Think of the personal statement as your opportunity to introduce yourself to the admissions officers at the schools to which you apply – a substitute for an interview in a sense. It should help them get to know you as a person, what you would bring to their class, and what sets you apart as a candidate. Think about challenges or adversities you may have overcome, things about which you are passionate (be they serious or fun), or unique experiences that have changed your life or perspective in some way that you could share.
- While there is no single way to write a successful personal statement, there are many ways to write an unsuccessful personal statement. Avoid the following:
- Recounting your resume
- Writing a scholarly paper
- Gearing your entire essay towards, “I want to go to law school because…”
- You can find much more information about personal statements in the Personal Statement Resource Guide available on our Pre-Law Information Portal.
Should I take a gap year or two before law school?
- Given the large investment of time, money, and energy, along with opportunity cost associated with going to law school, you should be sure it is a step you truly want to take. If you are still unsure with graduation upon you, or if there’s anything else you would like to do before you go to law school (whether that is working in a particular job/industry, participating in Teach for America or the Peace Corps, traveling, or volunteering), take the opportunity to do it before you embark on the journey of becoming a lawyer. If you want to use this time to gain experience in a field related to law, that can be helpful too, but it isn’t necessary. Be sure you can articulate the purpose of your gap year(s), and be ready to do so to law schools. Many law schools give preference to students who have obtained diverse experiences after college, but before going to law school.
What student organizations should I become involved with at GT?
- Get involved with student organizations you care about and that will excite you to take on leadership roles. Depth is more important than breadth in choosing extracurricular activities. A law school would rather see that you were involved with a couple of organizations, but used your involvement to make a real difference, than to be superficially involved with many organizations. Law related student organizations like Mock Trial, the IP Student Organization, or other pre-law student organizations can be great if you are interested in them, but they are not prerequisites for law school admissions.
Who do I contact to sign the “Dean’s Certification” or “Dean’s Letter” that some law schools require?
- At Georgia Tech, these forms are completed by the Dean of Students’ office.
What sites should I use to research law schools to which I want to apply?
- When it comes to finding trustworthy information on law schools, try to stick to law school websites, reputable rankings such as US News, and the LSAC’s website. Particularly when it comes to looking at law schools in light of your GPA and LSAT scores, check out the LSAC’s UGPA/LSAT calculator. It pulls accurate information on GPAs/LSAT scores and law school admissions, whereas other sites who give these reports often rely on self-reported data that can be inflated.
Can/Should I take the LSAT more than once?
- All your LSAT scores for the last five years will be visible to law schools, and they can treat them as they wish. Most law schools say they take the highest score, but they will be able to see them all. No matter how you prep for the LSAT, prepping for the test is important, and you should not take the LSAT until you have sufficiently prepped and are satisfied with your practice test scores. Try your best to prep intensely for the LSAT, take it one time, and be done. If for some reason, you are not pleased with your score, you may wish to schedule an appointment for pre-law advising to discuss your options.
Paying for Law School
How much does law school typically cost?
- The cost of law school can vary based upon geographic region, reputation of the school, public vs. private, in-state vs. out-of-state tuition at a public school, and your own financial aid package at a school. When comparing offers, be sure to look at your total cost of attendance at each school you are considering. There are also wonderful tools available through AccessLex, a non-profit organization focused on legal education.
How can I make sure I am considered for financial aid for law school?
- Be sure you are filling out the FAFSA as soon as you have the information you need to do so. Also, make sure you indicate to the law schools to which you are applying that you wish to be considered for scholarships and financial aid. If you are applying to any separate fellowship or scholarship programs offered by a particular law school, make sure to meet any earlier deadlines or additional application requirements for those programs.
Are there outside scholarships for law school to which I can apply?
- There are limited outside scholarships available for law school, however they tend to be much more specialized and limited than similar scholarships you may have received for undergraduate education. A simple google search around areas of interest can reveal a lot in this regard, and AccessLex also may have useful information.
What costs are associate with applying to law school?
- Be sure you plan to budget for your LSAT registration fee, any LSAT prep materials or courses you plan to purchase, application fees at individual schools, and law school reports from the LSAC’s Credential Assembly Service (CAS). The LSAC offers fee waivers under limited circumstances for the LSAT and the CAS. Details are available on the LSAC website. Some law schools will also waive application fees. If you would like to apply to a law school, but need a fee waiver, ask their admissions office if this is possible.