Undergrad Action Plan: Freshman And Sophomore Year

Are you are freshman or sophomore in undergrad who wants to go to law school but aren’t sure where to start? Here’s an action plan of what you can focus on during your freshman and sophomore year to make sure that you’re in the best position to excel on the LSAT in your junior year and successfully submit your law school applications in your senior year.

Undergrad Action Plan: Freshman And Sophomore Year

Freshman Year

  • Acclimate to school. There are a lot of adjustments to be made transitioning from high school to college. You now have complete responsibility for your academic career. Don’t get too distracted with the new freedom. Make sure you manage your time wisely, attend all of your classes, and prioritize studying.
  • Focus on doing well in classes and establishing a high GPA. The GPA you establish in your freshman year is the bedrock for the rest of your program. If you do poorly at the start of your program, it will be much harder to significantly raise your GPA later on. By creating a solid GPA foundation in your freshman year, you can more easily maintain it and absorb occasional low graders later on.
  • Explore new areas of study that interest you. Next year you’ll have to choose a major. For that reason, you should take your freshman year to create a well-rounded schedule to learn what you like and dislike. Don’t take five of the same type of courses. Diversify your schedule and explore possible interests. 
  • Join student organizations if possible. As you learn how to be successful in college, attend student organization events. Even if you’re not a regular member it’s a good way to branch out, explore your interests, get involved on campus, meet new people, and build your resume.
  • Make an LSAC account. The LSAC administers the LSAT and hosts all of the law school applications. But before you’re ready for either of those, be sure to take advantage of the plethora of prelaw resources they have on there. This will help you learn what it’s like to go to law school and practice law, and determine if a future legal career is a good fit for you.

Sophomore Year

  • Choose a major. Thoughtfully choose a major that you enjoy and will excel in. Remember, there’s no required major for law school. You can major in absolutely anything and go on to have a successful law career. It’s great if your school offers a “pre-law” major, but not necessary to select that as your major. Ultimately, you should find a major that interests you and that will help you reach your goals. Furthermore, if you’re interested in the subject you’re studying, you should theoretically do better in those courses. Having a high GPA is critical to gaining admission and scholarship to a competitive law school program.
  • Build relationships with professors. Law school applications require letters of recommendation from your professors. Work towards establishing strong relationships with your professors now. Typically, you’ll ask a professor to write you a letter if you have done well in his or her class. Make sure to prepare for class, go to office hours, and progress class discussion when possible. If you find a professor that you connect with, be sure to sign up for more advanced courses with them in your junior year.
  • Take classes with heavy writing requirements. Even if you don’t love writing, find courses that will hone this skill. Writing is a critical component of everyday work for a law student and lawyer. Refine your writing skills in undergrad as much as possible.
  • Join student organizations. Find student organizations that align with your interests and get more involved. By junior and senior year, you should be able take on leadership roles in these organizations but you’ll need to first find groups or clubs that work for you. Again, this will also help build out your resume and give you some non-work experience to speak about in your law school application.
  • Find a pre-law group on campus. In addition to exploring various interests through clubs and other student organizations, it seems obvious, but be sure to also seek out the pre-law group on campus. Becoming involved in a pre-law group will help you better understand law school and the legal field. It will also give you the opportunity to develop relationships with like-minded students and potential mentors.
  • Start thinking about the LSAT. Determine when is the best time for you to take an LSAT prep course and the actual exam. This will likely be during your junior year but map out your plan in advance. Many students take months or even a year to study for the LSAT. It’s never too early to start familiarizing yourself with the exam.

The bulk of your law school preparation will come in your junior year. However, your application to law school will be a reflection of your achievements throughout your all four years of your undergraduate career. Therefore, take classes that help you achieve your goals, maintain a high GPA, and lay the groundwork to get involved in campus and transition into leadership roles before you apply to law school.

In your junior and senior year, there’s a much stricter timeline to abide by for the timely and competitive submission of your law school applications. Make sure you don’t miss anything. Check out this action plan for juniors and seniors!

Rachel Margiewicz, Director of Pre-Law Services, wrote this post. Rachel is a licensed attorney with years of admissions experience across three law school programs in different markets of the country. She knows what schools are looking for and how to make your application stand

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