Career Center


Career Center
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Graduate School

Pre-Law Advising at Hamilton College

The Career Center’s Guide to Law School Planning

A remarkable number of Hamilton alumni are successful attorneys. In order to keep this tradition alive in the face of more competitive conditions for being accepted into law school, this guide provides a plan of action for your time at Hamilton. It is intended for both those who want to continue directly onto law school after graduation as well as those who choose to take time off first.

Applying to Law School

By January 2009, there were over 200 approved by the American Bar Association. During the last half of the nineteenth century, the numbers of lawyers in the U.S. increased six fold and law school admissions standards have risen across the board with higher LSAT scores and overall GPAs. The number of people applying to law school increased approximately 5 % annually from 2001 to 2007. Thus, applicants must have very competitive GPAs, LSAT scores, cover letters, and essays to be accepted.

In the United States, the majority of those who matriculate in law school go on to receive a law degree, and nearly all graduates eventually pass the bar exam. Some say that the hardest part of the process is getting into law school – even with a competitive GPA and LSAT score, you have a little better than 50% chance of getting in. To be among the 150,000 (2009 data) who enroll in law school each year, you need to be willing to put in a good deal of effort.

The Admissions Process

When it comes to the actual application process, take this simple advice: START EARLY. All too many applicants sabotage their efforts through last minute sloppiness. Consider the sheer amount of time the law school admissions process will demand: in addition to 200+ hours of LSAT preparation, a single application might take up to 40 hours when you take great care with it. Be very diligent with every step of the application process to maximize your chances of getting into the law school of your choice. Aside from LSAT scores and GPAs, what do law schools actually look for in applicants? Most law school admissions committees attempt to balance their emphasis on cold hard numbers with a good faith effort to understand the minds of thousands of applicants. Thoughtful consideration is given to what sort of human beings they admit - so use your personal statement, optional essays, letters of recommendation and cover letters to show who you are.

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