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What Is Law School?
Law school programs are academic institutions of training for professionals who wish to become practicing lawyers. These programs award graduates with the degree of Juris Doctor (J.D.). Most J.D. programs take three years to complete full-time.
Is Law School Right For Me?
Law school is a major commitment in terms of its academic rigor and cost. It is wise for students thinking about law school to examine whether their interests, experiences, and skills match up with this specific career path. Here are some questions to consider:
- What would I like to be doing following my law degree?
- Who have I talked to who is currently practicing law?
- What practical experiences have confirmed my interest in law?
- What skills have I begun developing that will make me a good lawyer?
For further reading on preparing for law school, please see: Advice I Wish I Heard Before Law School
Researching Law Schools
After considering the choice of pursuing a law degree, the next step is to begin researching schools. There are several places where you can begin researching law programs:
- LSAC Official Guide to ABA-Approved Law Schools
- US News & World Report Grad School Rankings - Top Law Schools
Advice For Selecting Programs
- Select about 5 to 6 schools for which to apply.
- Key information you should consider includes all raw information (coursework, admission policies, key faculty, costs, timeline, and outcomes), school location, the median LSAT score and GPA of students who have been accepted into the program.
- Categorize your list of schools into three levels:
- Reach Schools (Level One): these schools have LSAT scores and GPAs that are substantially above yours.
- Match Schools (Level Two): these schools have LSAT scores and GPAs nearly above or below yours.
- Safety Schools (Level Three): these schools have LSAT scores and GPAs way below yours, most certainly allowing you easy admission.
Applying to Law School
To begin the process of applying to law school, create an account with the Law School Admissions Council. The entirety of your law school application will be completed on this system.
Core Elements of the Law School Application
- LSAT score. Find out more about the LSAT at LSAC.org
- Undergraduate GPA.
- Letters of Recommendation. Most law schools expect at least two recommendations, at least one of which is an academic recommendation (i.e., from a college-level instructor who has taught you for at least one course). The other can be academic or professional (for whom you have worked).
- Personal Statement. The personal statement is a two-page essay in which you try to present a more holistic picture of who you are and what motivates you to be a lawyer. Since it is, by definition, personal, everyone will have a different approach and content. Again, pre-law advisors can help guide you with this process.
- Essays, Resumes and Addenda.
For further reading on the law school application process, please see: Law School Application Checklist
Temple Resources: Law School
Temple provides several ways for prospective law students to prepare for law school.
Pre-Law Society. Students can reach out to the Pre-Law Society and faculty advisor Dr. Paul Crowe in preparation for law school. The Pre-Law Society provides opportunities for students of all majors interested in Law to cultivate the skills necessary to be accepted into law school and be successful in the law profession. Please visit the website of the Pre-Law Society for more information on how to join.
Pre-Law Advising. There are also several pre-law advisors housed within the schools and colleges at Temple University. Please consider consulting the designated pre-law advisors for your school or college.
Fox School of Business: Kamina Richardson, Assistant Program Director in Legal Studies (firstname.lastname@example.org)
College of Liberal Arts: Shelby L. Haverson, Academic Advisor (email@example.com); Paul Crowe, Professor and Director of the Pre-Law Program (firstname.lastname@example.org)
For further reading on the pre-law advising process, please see: Temple Pre-Law FAQ
There are 151 schools in the United States that offer a M.D. degree, and 34 that offer a D.O. degree. Each year over 50,000 students apply for admission into these schools. This suggests that competition is tough. With that being said there are certain advantages that can give you to help push you to the top of the list. Building an advising relationship with the Pre-Professional Health Studies office beginning in your freshman year is your first step toward becoming a competitive applicant.
General Medical School Requirements
Medical schools all look at applicants differently; they put different weight on different aspects according to what the admissions panel sees as being most needed. Some characteristics are identified below.
- Completion of pre-requisite courses in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Math, Psychology, and Sociology
- An overall and a math/science GPA of 3.5 or higher is preferred
- MCAT score in the 75th percentile and above is preferred
- Exceptional interpersonal skills
- Clearly defined motivation for a career in medicine
- Clinical and research experience
- Community service, both related and unrelated to medicine
- A Pre-Health Evaluation Committee letter along with recommendations from faculty and mentors
The Application Process for Medical School
For individuals pursuing an M.D., the centralized application for allopathic schools of medicine is the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS). For those pursuing a Doctor of Osteopathic medicine degree, the centralized application is the Association of American Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Application Service (AACOMAS).
The MCAT, or the Medical College Admissions Test, is a 7.5-hour exam that consists of four sections: Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems; Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems; Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior; and Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills. Each section is scored between 118 and 132, with the total score ranging from 472 to 528. Scores above the 75th percentile are considered competitive.
More information on the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)
Temple Resources: Pre-Professional Health Studies
Pre-Professional Health Studies (PPHS) is a university-wide support service that provides direct guidance and support to Temple students and alumni who are interested in pursuing careers in the health professions. Preparing for professional school is a very demanding and detailed process, which involves a commitment to both academic and professional development. Organizing these details in a timely manner is important for successful preparation to professional school. PPHS provides advising support and follow-up advising services for students who seek admission to Medical school as well as other types of health profession programs including Dentistry, Pharmacy, Physician Assistant, Optometry, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Podiatry and Veterinary Medicine.
The PPHS advising process includes one-on-one advising, group workshops, ePortfolio files, and opportunities for a Pre-Health Evaluation Committee interview and letter of recommendation. Understanding that most Medical schools prefer a committee letter from an undergraduate pre-professional health advising office, the PPHS ePortfolio process prepares Temple University students, in any of the nine career paths noted above, to be considered for a committee letter. Pre-Professional Health Studies works with pre-health professional students who are interested in careers in health care to help assess their preparation and provides advising in support of their health professional school application.
The MBA or Masters of Business Administration is a degree aimed at preparing you to be a senior level manager or leader. There are more than 700 MBA programs in the world. As graduate management degrees, the emphasis is put on the understanding of how to utilize resources, teamwork, finances, and over-all business operations. There are a number of career paths for MBA graduates, including accounting, finance, human resource management, consulting, information systems, manufacturing, marketing, operations management, small business, government, education, health care, and not-for-profit. So you can see the opportunities are endless.
The reason most individuals pursue an MBA degree is because in order to be a good manager, you need to know not only the technical side of your organization, but more importantly you need to be able to organize the work of others, and make decisions that affect the major aspects of a business.
Academically, almost any undergraduate major prepares you overall for pursuit of an MBA. Some points that can make you more appealing to an admissions board include knowing your numbers, this means having a solid foundation in math and economics. Also, you will benefit from knowing, on some level, another language. Also, your undergraduate GPA is important, as well as your GMAT score.
Experientially, an average of 4 years of work experience in a business setting, gaining some real experience can make your MBA degree more worthwhile developmentally.
Also, a key note: those wishing to get into an MBA program that do not have such an extensive work history need to have superb academic credentials and an extensive record of extracurricular activities as well as clearly defined career goals.
The graduate management admission test, or GMAT is the admissions test associated with gaining admission to an MBA program. It can help gauge your academic success during your first year of graduate school. The GMAT consists of 3 sections, two of which are multiple choice (math and verbal), with the third being an analytical section. Your scores are important, but remember, each school weighs different aspects of the application differently.
More information on the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT)