1. Will law schools consider the fact that I have a hard major/went to a difficult school?
Because Georgia Tech GPAs are thought to be low compared to other universities, some students are concerned that they won't be competitive when applying to law school. These fears are overblown.
Most law school applicants subscribe to the Credential Assembly Service (CAS). When an applicant applies to law school, the CAS provides a great deal of information about his/her academic standing to that law school's Admissions Office. This information allows the law school admissions committee to see where his/her GPA stands in relation to other Tech graduates who are applying to law school anywhere in the country. Thus, the admissions committee can put a Georgia Tech GPA into perspective and Georgia Tech grads are not prejudiced by Georgia Tech's grading policies.
However, a few law school applicants choose to submit their transcripts directly to the law schools where they intend to apply. The CAS will then be unable to provide information about their standing in relation to their classmates. Keep this in mind when deciding whether to subscribe to the CAS.
Furthermore, be aware that the CAS is comparing a graduate's GPA to other students who are applying to law school. The CAS is not comparing a graduate's GPA to the entirety of the graduating class. Lastly, keep in mind that we have somewhat oversimplified the process here in order to provide a general overview of our opinion about the impact of Georgia Tech GPAs on the admissions process.
For those students who continue to be concerned about Tech GPAs, see no. 2 below.
2. What classes do I need to take to prepare for law school? Is there a specific major that I should choose?
We strongly encourage students to develop their writing skills regardless of their undergraduate major. Take some “paper courses” where you’ll write a 10-15 page paper. If you can’t write well when you start law school, your grades are likely to suffer.
There is no major or class requirement for applying to law school. You must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. While certain majors tend to go to law school in large numbers (ex. political science and history), there are plenty of engineering majors, science majors, business majors, etc. who have gone to law school. In fact, attorneys who work before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office generally must have an undergraduate degree in a scientific or engineering field in order to sit for the Patent Bar Exam, which must be taken in addition to a state Bar Exam.
3. What law schools do Tech students usually apply/get accepted to?
As many Georgia Tech students are from Georgia, a lot of our graduates choose to attend law school in state. There are five law schools in Georgia, two public (University of Georgia [UGA] and Georgia State University [GSU]) and three private (Emory, Mercer, and John Marshall).
The largest numbers of our graduates go on to UGA and GSU, although this can vary from year to year. Some Georgia Tech alums attend other prominent public law schools outside of Georgia (such as the University of Michigan and UCLA), as well as prestigious private schools such as Harvard, Stanford, and NYU.
A list of "Tech Friendly" law schools is available (meaning schools that have accepted Georgia Tech students in previous application cycles). Of course, the law school admissions process is very competitive and students need to develop the necessary credentials in order to gain admission. Admissions criteria differ between law schools. Students generally develop a sense of where they will be strong candidates for admission as they progress toward graduation.
4. How do I prepare for the LSAT?
LSAT preparation can take a variety of forms; from enrolling in a full length course to taking practice exams on your own. Each option has positives and negatives. Full length classes, such as Kaplan, Princeton Review, and Blueprint, cover lots of ground and give you the benefit of an instructor, but can cost more than $1,000. Private tutors are also available, but they are also generally expensive. However, keeping in mind that most people are likely to earn a higher LSAT score with extensive preparation, and that your LSAT score is a critical component of your application for admission, it may be worthwhile to pay for the class or a tutor.
Other options include ordering old tests or buying test prep books and working through them on your own. This will be significantly cheaper, but you will not have the benefit of an instructor or a classroom setting.
Preparing for the LSAT involves familiarizing yourself with the types of questions that will be asked, and learning to answer those questions within the given time constraints. The LSAT is divided into 5 sections, with approximately 25 questions per section, each lasting 35 minutes. Only 4 of the sections will count towards your score while 1 section consists of experimental questions; you will not know which section was experimental until you receive the results of your test. There are three types of sections: reading comprehension, logical reasoning, and analytical reasoning (the “games” section). You will have at least 1 reading comprehension, 2 logical reasoning, and 1 analytical reasoning; so, whichever type of section appears in addition in these is the type of section that is experimental. For example, if you have 2 reading comprehension sections on your test you know that one of them is experimental.
You can take the LSAT more than once if you're not satisfied with your score. However, you should make a maximum effort to do as well as possible the first time. It has been common practice for law schools to average the LSAT scores for a person who takes two or more exams. Today, law schools are more likely to simply consider an applicant's highest score. However, it can be dangerous to rely on general statements such as this. Check the policy of the specific law schools where you plan to apply. Don't be afraid to re-take the LSAT if you must; just be aware of the potential consequences.
5. What kind of Pre-Law activities does Tech offer?
Georgia Tech has a highly competitive Mock Trial team coached by two Atlanta attorneys who are dedicated to our success. Our team has developed a history of strong performance over the years. Our best result came when we placed 2nd in the U.S. for the 2004-2005 academic year, losing to UCLA in the national finals.
Georgia Tech recently created an Intellectual Property Student Association. The organization helps students learn about career paths in the field of intellectual property and provides mentoring opportunities with practitioners in the area.
If you want to participate in either of these organizations, contact Director Pikowsky, who will forward your name to the appropriate people.