You by no means need a law school prep course to excel in law school. I did not take a law school prep course and I graduated as the #1 student in my class.
However, a law school prep course can be a good idea for many reasons. Some students find that it helps them significantly. Others find it gives the confidence boost or “edge” that they need to excel in law school. Many students seek our advice on the question “should I take a law school prep course?”
A lot of factors are personal. And a lot depends on the course you are looking at (as we mention below).
We generally tell our students to consider the following factors when deciding if a law school prep course is right for them.
Should I take a Law School Prep Course – Factors to Consider:
1. Do I know what law school entails?
Law school is a different game than undergrad (read this post to figure out exactly why). So, it is not enough to just have a hard work ethic. It is also not enough to do exactly what you did in undergrad. Instead, you need to study efficiently and effectively and have a good approach to law school. You may be able to get this out of a book or out of a blog (indeed we have several blog posts on how to succeed in law school!). However, if you are looking for something more structured and person, a law school prep course may be right for you.
One of our students wrote this about how she wished she would have taken a law school prep course. She said, “Law school is completely different than undergrad. In fact, they tell you when you start that “law school is a different beast.” I didn’t believe that until I started. Prior to starting law school, I didn’t know anyone that was an attorney so I didn’t know what to expect. Once I got there, I spent the majority of my first year trying to figure out how to study, what to focus on and how to prepare for my finals. I wish I had some guidance on how to maneuver the first year (and law school in general) and strategies for preparing for my finals, especially considering how important those first year grades are to finding a job.”
2. How much anxiety or pressure do I feel?
You may feel a lot of pressure in law school – especially your first year. Indeed, your first year of law school determines your GPA, your class ranking, whether you are eligible for law review or competitive clerkships, internship opportunities and employment opportunities. Competition is fierce. Anxiety runs rampant.
If you are able to control this anxiety, then you are less likely to need a law school prep course. (Some students have this skill mastered and do not let it get to them! This is particularly true of students that have working experience or who have experienced other similarly stressful situations. Students who go the K-JD route tend to be more anxious. Students who have parents or others pressuring them, also tend to feel more anxious.)
Thus, if you feel an undue amount of pressure or anxiety and are having trouble controlling, a law school prep course may be right for you. A good law school prep course will give you a competitive edge and increase your confidence as you start law school.
3. What does the course offer?
We think the courses that simply teach case briefing or give you an overview of the law are a waste of time. Instead, the best kind of law school prep course will teach you the skills you need to succeed in law school! This is a very important factor in deciding whether a law school prep course is right for you.
For example, in our law school prep course, we teach students how to read and brief cases (and quickly, at that!), how to outline and memorize outlines, how to take practice exams (we give practice problems for students to get their feet wet!), the best resources to consult in law school, and how to put this all into a manageable study schedule.
We also teach basic research and writing skills using LexisNexis. Students are assigned ID’s, and learn the basics of case citation, research, and legal writing.
These are skills that will help you excel in law school from Day One. They will help you approach law school with confidence and the tools that you need to succeed.
So closely examine exactly what the course teaches before making a decision. (To see more about what factors you should consider when choosing a law school prep course, please see this post.)
4. Can I get this information somewhere else?
There are books that shed insight into law school and law school exam (i.e. Getting to Maybe is a popular one). There are also blogs (including ours!). If you feel pretty confident about the information you have gathered and have an efficient approach to law school, then you may not need a course.
If you are looking to gather an exact step-by-step approach that is personal to you, then you may find a law school prep course to be more worth it.
5. Personal Factors
These are just some general factors to consider when trying to answer the question “should I take a law school prep course?” You may have personal factors to consider as well. For example, cost may be a big factor. (The best courses are sometimes pricier!) If you have been out of school for a while or never truly learned how to study or make a study schedule in undergrad, that may be a factor for you.
Looking for pre-law services?
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