Frequently Asked Questions

You will need at least a 3.00 undergraduate GPA and a LSAT score of at least above the 50th percentile of the law school for which you are applying.  Students who do not currently have a 3.00 GPA should immediately begin striving to improve their GPA but do not take "easy" courses to achieve this as law school admission committees will toss out those courses in calculating your real GPA.  You should take the free, practice LSAT offered by JSU at the first opportunity in order to obtain your baseline score.  See the Announcement Page of the Pre-Law Information website for a listing of the next free, practice LSAT administered by the Honors and Special Programs office, call (256) 782-8335, or come by 107 Martin Hall.

As law schools prefer applicants from a variety of backgrounds, there is no designated pre-law major, minor, or concentration.  However, we do suggest courses which allow students the opportunity to develop their verbal and writing skills and which foster critical and analytical thinking.  You should take courses that present a challenge to better prepare you for law school.  Avoid the temptation of taking courses that will result in an "easy A."  You will be at a disadvantage in law school if you choose this path.  Most law school classes only have one or two exams per semester so you need to be well prepared for the additional responsibility of challenging coursework and keeping yourself on track.  Our office will work with you and your academic advisor to determine which classes will be most advantageous to you.

There is no "best" major or minor for law school.  Typical majors of those interested in law school range from political science, history, business, economics, English, and criminal justice to biology, chemistry, engineering, art, music, math, nursing, and a host of other majors.

As there is no "best" major or minor for law school, you are encouraged to select a major and minor that you are interested in and take courses which require you to advance your writing and public speaking skills while also developing your reading comprehension, research, and analytical skills.  If you are uncertain as to your major, please contact the office of Career Services by visiting their website or by calling (256) 782-5482 so that their staff can assist you with a personality and interest inventory that can guide you in selecting a major that is best suited for you.

An updated list of courses across various disciplines is shared each semester during the free, practice LSAT sessions.  This list is regularly updated to reflect feedback from our graduating seniors and our alumni who are enrolled in law school or who are employed in the field of law.  However, courses which develop comprehensive reading skills, critical thinking, and effective writing skills are a necessity in preparing for law school.

You should not consider law school because someone once told you to become a lawyer because you like to argue with people!!!  A variety of careers are available to those considering law school (see potential careers in law).  However, individuals contemplating law school must be willing to read and absorb an extreme amount of material in a condensed period of time, and be willing to devote themselves full-time to the study of law in order to succeed in law school and be competitive in terms of career placement.  Excellent writing skills are essential to success in law school.

We want you to have a back-up plan in the event that you make it to your senior year and decide that law school is not for you (Trust us, this happens a lot!!!).

That is why the selection of a major and a minor is so important.  In selecting your major and minor, you should consider how you will use your degree if you decide not to attend law school, if you are not admitted to the law school of your choice, or if you do not receive enough scholarship money to attend law school.

Law school is a serious commitment of time, money, and energy so unless you are independently wealthy, you are well advised to select a major and minor that will offer some potential career opportunities.  You are encouraged to talk with department heads and faculty in your area(s) of interest to determine if they have internships or co-op opportunities, and inquire about their track record in job or graduate school placement.

You should consider and balance these three things as you move forward in pursuing your undergraduate degree:

  1. Select a major/minor which will allow you to develop your writing and communication skills via essay exams, research papers, and class presentations.
  2. Select a major/minor that can lead to employment or graduate school opportunities if you decide not to attend law school.
  3. The market is currently flooded with lawyers.  Consider other ways that you can use your law degree other than private practice (see potential careers in law).

Law schools require a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university and the submission of a score on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT).  You are also required to provide official undergraduate transcripts, letters of recommendation, a personal statement/essay, and you must subscribe to the Credential Assembly Service (CAS) through the Law School Admission Council (LSAC).

  1. Good grades, good grades, good grades!!!  You will need at least a 3.0 GPA but in reality you should strive for a 3.3 or higher as you are competing with lots of other people with strong grade point averages.
  2. A competitive score on the LSAT.  You should aim for a score above the 50th percentile of the law school that you are seeking admission to.  You should prepare for the LSAT 8 to 10 months before you plan to take it.  Most people take it at the end of their junior year (usually June).  Check with your top choice law schools to see how they consider multiple LSAT attempts.
  3. Strong letters of recommendation (including at least one from a professor).  Take challenging professors who can attest to your writing, verbal, and critical thinking skills.  As a rule, select a professor to write a letter of recommendation for you that you have taken for more than one class so they can expand on your abilities in the letter of recommendation.
  4. While law school admission committees consider the overall application (great life story, overcoming adversity, etc.), a solid GPA built on serious and challenging courses and a strong LSAT score are very heavily considered.

  1. Join the Honors Program.  If you meet the requirements to join the Honors Program (for entering freshmen 24 on the math, 25 on the English, and a 25 composite ACT; for current JSU students a 3.5 GPA) then join the Honors Program so that you can take Honors classes that will be clearly identified on your final transcript and you will receive special recognition at graduation.  Honors classes are not harder than regular classes.  As a rule, they are smaller and allow for more discussion and interaction between the students and the instructor.  You need 24 credit hours of Honors classes to graduate with Honors distinction.  Please see the Honors website or contact Dr. Lori Owens at (256) 782-5640, or Ms. Janet Whitmore at (256) 782-5698 for more information.
  2. Become involved in campus or community service or a service-learning project.  Several classes offer service learning opportunities and the Honors Program and other campus clubs/organizations have a regular slate of service projects that students may choose to participate in.
  3. Be an active member and/or leader in a club, organization, or the student government.  This includes academic clubs as well as Ambassadors or Go Leaders.  However, be careful in balancing your academic endeavors with extra-curricular activities.  You do not want your grades to suffer as a result of too many activities.
  4. If your major or college offers research and presentation opportunities, take advantage of these.  For example, JSU hosts an annual Student Symposium each February so students can present a project or research paper they have written.  Students must be nominated by a faculty member.  Some departments also regularly take students to present at state or regional conferences in their field of study.
  5. Consider joining a debate team or other scholarly competition.  Both the Political Science and Public Administration Department and the Geography Department sponsor teams for the Southeast Model Arab League held in Spartanburg, South Carolina each March.  Contact Dr. Lori Owens at for information about the Political Science team, and Dr. Joe Morgan at for information regarding the Geography team.  Dr. Owens also sponsors a Model United Nations Team which competes in Atlanta each November.
  6. Complete a legal internship.  Please see the Internship section under Available Resources.
  7. Join an honor society that is associated with your major or minor.
  8. Take advantage of domestic or international travel opportunities or study abroad programs sponsored by JSU.

Announcements relevant to those who are considering law school will be posted to the Announcements page of our website.  Moreover, interested students may submit their name and email address to Pre-Law Listserv so that they will be notified of upcoming events.

Yes, the Judge Dean Buttram II Scholarship in Pre-Law is awarded on an annual basis as funds allow. The scholarship application opens September 1 and closes on February 1. Please check the requirements for the Buttram scholarship.

Individual law schools offer scholarships but they are limited and almost always based on LSAT scores so take advantage of the free, practice tests administered by the Office of Academic Services at JSU to improve your test score prior to taking the official LSAT. See Available Resources for more detailed information about the practice test.