2014-2015 Catalog

Prelaw Preparation

Prelaw Advisor

Thomas Schmeling

Rhode Island College is comparable with other baccalaureate degree-granting institutions as an appropriate environment for a prelegal education. The college offers a range of experiences that help prepare students for entrance into law school.

No specific major or curriculum is required or recommended by law schools as a prerequisite for admission. One can major in any of a dozen or more possible fields and go on to law school with equal facility. Accordingly, the selection of liberal arts courses that familiarize prelaw students with society, history, philosophy, and government is as important as the choice of a major. Success in and contribution to some fields of law also increasingly require preparation in such areas as accounting, communication, and computer science.

A primary criterion for admission to law school is performance on the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT). All law schools require applicants to submit their LSAT scores. The LSAT is both “a standardized test designed to measure an examinee’s ability to handle new situations and problems” and an examination requiring the writing of an impromptu essay on a controversial topic or situation. The former is scored in competition with all other applicants taking the LSAT on a given date around the country. The essay is scored and used by the admissions committees of individual law schools as they see fit. (See Law School Admission Services’ LSAT/LSDAS Registration Information Book.)

The LSAT examination is given four times a year at test sites throughout Rhode Island and the nation. Students who wish to apply to enter law school in the month of September, especially if they are going to seek financial support, should take the LSAT in October or December of the preceding year.

Law schools assess a student’s undergraduate record on a 4.00 index scale, excluding grades in physical education, ROTC, and applied courses in art and music. The law school applicant should demonstrate a strong grade point average both in their major and overall course work.

Early in their undergraduate programs, those interested in law school should discuss with the college’s prelaw advisor the particulars of taking the LSAT as well as the procedures and strategies for filling out the law school application.